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Tribute to IT pioneer Chris Wallace

13 October 2004

An exhibition honouring the life and work of computer science pioneer Professor Christopher Wallace has opened at Monash's Clayton campus.

Professor Chris Wallace adjusting his computerised robotic waving-arm device (1977). Image courtesy of Monash University Archives.

The Celebration of Life exhibition is on display at the Gallery, on the first floor, building 75, in the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP) until 5 November.

The display features interactive components, hardware and software and Professor Wallace's famed computerised robotic waving-arm device (pictured), which he created in the early 1970s and which is still used today.

Other items on show include more than 30 PhD theses supervised by Professor Wallace and personal items such as his own PhD thesis and a selection of published research papers.

The exhibition launch was marked by a moving tribute ceremony at the STRIP last Friday attended by more than 100 family, friends and colleagues. Professor Wallace died in August this year.

During a long and distinguished academic career, he made an enormous contribution to research and scholarship.

In 1968, at the age of 35, he was appointed foundation chair of computer science (initially called information science) at Monash.

Among the 51 students he supervised was colleague Professor Gopal Gupta.

"At the professional level, Professor Wallace had a towering intellect, an encyclopaedic knowledge and an uncompromising commitment to research," Professor Gupta said. "As a teacher, he mentored many staff and students, most of whom are now leaders in academia and industry.

"His passing leaves a large void in the field of computer science both in Australia and abroad, but most of all, for those who had the privilege of knowing him."

The exhibition is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For further information, contact exhibition curator Ms Sarah Wolf on extn 32698 or email sarah.wolf@infotech.monash.edu.au.