In memory of Professor John Makepeace Bennett, AO, the Australian Computer Society has gifted scholarships for PhD students to propel communications, computing and security.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has generously donated $100,000 to the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST).
The ACS made the donation in honour of their late founding president, Emeritus Professor John Makepeace Bennett, AO (1921-2010). Professor Bennett was an early Australian computer scientist, Australia's first Professor of Computing Science, and worked on the University of Sydney's first computer, SILLIAC.
SILLIAC was the size of a double-decker bus and was a source of great pride for the University. The computer was a drawcard for many visitors and was first on display at the University’s Open Day in July 1956. It played songs and noughts and crosses with visitors.
Professor Bennett was appointed to the University as a numerical analyst and he was a pioneer in research and education in computers and computing science. In addition to driving the development of SILLIAC, he was a highly regarded lecturer, inspiring and training students and staff in the highly technical numerical language of programming. He fostered industry relationships and international collaborations.
“Professor John Makepeace Bennett’s enduring legacy is evident all around us and in the world-class research being undertaken now. This research, especially in quantum computing, nanophotonics and communications, stands on the shoulders of the knowledge that John Bennett embedded in this institution and across the globe,” said AINST Executive Director, Professor Susan Pond, AM.
To serve the memory of Professor Bennett, a scholarship support scheme was established and a meeting room in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub (SNH) has been named after him.
Professor Pond welcomed members of the ACS and the Bennett family to the newly named John Makepeace Bennet meeting room to unveil a plaque in Professor Bennett’s honour.
“The plaque will be visible to a vibrant cross-section of our local, national and international community as a long-lasting reminder of Professor Bennett’s legacy,” Susan Pond said.
This year, six PhD candidates whose research project is aligned with the AINST research theme of communications, computing and security have received scholarships. The grateful recipients and their supervisors were also at the unveiling to impart their thanks to the ACS and to provide an overview of their research.
Sam, Xiang, Wenjian and Ignazio detailed their research projects and the real-world applications they will be driving.
Sam is designing elements for robust quantum computers for medical, physics and communications applications. Xiang is developing semiconductor circuits for quantum communications. Wenjian is working on microwave photonics for high performance sensing, improving bandwidth for big data, data mining and machine learning applications. Ignazio is investigating the use of nanodiamonds for medical imaging for early diagnosis and advanced treatments.
This research, especially in quantum computing, nanophotonics and communications, stands on the shoulders of the knowledge that John Bennett embedded in this institution and across the globe.
The PhD candidates also described the ways the scholarship will assist their work. The purchase of specialist equipment, travel to meet with experts in their field, and easing the burden of accommodation expenses were amongst the opportunities.
The support provided by the ACS is helping to drive quantum computing, nanophotonics and communications research providing support, motivation and reassurance for this next wave of revolution in information technology.
Scholarships for PhD students undertaking projects in the areas of communications, computing and security will be available to eligible candidates in 2018.