ACS Fellow Emeritus Professor Peter Cyril Poole passed away on 19 August 2017 in Perth, aged 86, surrounded by his daughters and grandchildren.
The computing pioneer began his career as a PhD student at the University of Sydney in 1964 working on the Sydney University SILLIAC. He then worked at the Culham Fusion Laboratory of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, and at the University of Colorado in Boulder prior to being appointed Head of the Computer Science Department at Melbourne. He served intermittently as Deputy Dean of Science, as Head of the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, and as Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology.
Poole's contributions to the university and to computing in Australia are immense. He pushed to contemporise University of Melbourne’s computing program, amending the name from Information Science to Computer Science. He mentored a growing academic department and managed academic transitions as computing evolved to rely on email, international networking and sophisticated software systems. He was also the push behind introducing the largest setting-up grant awarded at the university, in turn allowing the Department to flourish and be recognised as a prime competitor in Australasia.
On par with his determined nature, Poole’s drive to better the university’s computing program did not stop there. He argued for the use of Unix -- an open-source operating system -- on devices, and constantly pushed the university administration for more resources.
From 1993 to 1997 he was Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology at Bond University in Queensland.
He was also the recipient of many awards and recognitions, most notably his induction to the 2010 Pearcey Hall of Fame and the recipient of an honorary doctorate in 2011.
Poole was a pioneering leader at the University of Melbourne, and his legacy will continue to influence not only the School of Computing and Information Systems, but the university as a whole.
There will be an event held in Melbourne commemorating the professor’s contributions to the university and to computing in Australia later this year. Donations to a scholarship fund for rural and disadvantaged students at the university can be made, as requested by his family.