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I spent nearly twenty years, man and boy, associated with the University of Manchester. I arrived in September 1976 as an undergraduate student in the Department of Physics and, apart for a short stint at the GEC Hirst Research Centre during 1982, I remained at the University until February 1995. I moved to the Computer Science Department (now renamed to the School of Computer Science) to complete a M.Sc by research in September 1979, leading to a Ph.D on Local Area Networks. After a short period of post-doctoral work, I joined the staff of the Department as a Lecturer (later, Senior Lecturer) in 1983.

I continue to maintain a few informal contacts with University of Manchester. I am the designated IBM liaison for the School of Computer Science, and I have presented occasional seminars and undergraduate lectures in the School. I am a member of the School's Industrial Advisory Board. I also represent IBM on the University's Collaborative Training Account (CTA) Masters Panel, which makes recommendations for the development of new taught M.Sc courses. I am also engaged in the joint IBM and University Partner Programme.

I am still interested in various academic research and teaching issues. A very early and incomplete draft of my take on the classic "Towers of Abstractions" problem can be found here.

Career Summary

A short summary of my academic career, in reverse cronological order:
  • Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Manchester, October 1989 - February 1995.
  • Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Manchester, May 1983 - September 1989.
  • Research Scientist, GEC Hirst Research Centre (seconded to the Computer Science Department, University of Manchester), October 1982 - April 1983.
  • Technician, Cambridge Instruments Ltd., August 1975 - August 1976.
Consultancy work for 11 UK companies, including IBM, Shell, TSB, Barclays Bank, Logica, Royal Insurance, RTZ Mining and Exploration, British Rail, Nomura, HP, Space Computer Systems.

Research in:
  • Fibre-optic communications and Local Area Networks (LANs).
  • Computer Hardware architecture.
  • Compiler design.
  • Object-oriented design and programming languages.
Presented professional training (
PEVE) courses: Taught undergraduate and postgraduate (Masters) courses in:


Research Projects

I spent quite some time learning Smalltalk-80, one of the earliest fully object-oriented programming languages. Many of my Smalltalk "goodies" (application and framework developments) are still available here.

I worked for many years on the Mushroom project, investigating hardware and software implementations of dynamic object-oriented languages, in collaboration with Mario Wolczko. This led to interests in concurrent and parallel programming, compilers and programming language design, and object-oriented design approaches and metrics.

Smalltalk front cover from Byte Magazine

This work, together with my experience in teaching object-oriented development, led to me leaving the University and joining IBM in February 1995. It also directly contributed to the approach taken with the Product Builder development.

Prior to the Smalltalk and Mushroom work, I continued my Ph.D work on Local Area Networks (LANs), extending the coverage of the Centrenet LAN to multi-media and collaborative working.

Research Students

Supervised 11 students for the degree of Ph.D. Supervised 22 students for the degree of M.Sc.

So where are all of these students now? Here are some I know about:

Drop me a line here if you want to be included on this list.

Conference Organisation

I have been involved with the organisation of the following conferences

External Examinations

In addition to the normal teaching activities at the University of Manchester, I have been involved with the setting and marking of examinations in other organisations.

I have also continued to perform some academic activities aside from the University of Manchester. In 2002, I was on the Ph.D examinations panel of the Computer and Information Systems department of the University of Detroit Mercy, and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of South Africa.

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