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ACS mourns death of co-founder

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is mourning the passing of its co-founder and respected technology academic John Bennett.

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is mourning the passing of its co-founder and respected technology academic John Bennett.

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(21 Gun Salute image by Waikiki Natatorium, CC 2.0)

Bennett was the first Australian professor of Computer Science at Basser Laboratory in Sydney and held many senior ICT positions including the Institute of Engineers, Australian Computer Society, the Australian Committee on Computation and Automatic Control and NSW Computer Society. He was inducted into the Office of the Order of Australia in 1983.

The ACS today posthumously recognised the achievements of its founder, with society president Anthony Wong saying that the nation had lost one of its greatest ICT icons.

"Through establishing the Australian Computer Society, John Bennett created an environment whereby Australian IT professionals could work together to perform to the best of their ability. By doing this, he significantly advanced the professional excellence of Australia's ICT industry which dramatically increased our nation's presence on an international level," Wong said.

"Today, the Australian Computer Society represents more than 17,000 ICT professionals and is well recognised around the world — this is one of John's many legacies and the ICT pioneer will be missed," he added.

Born in 1921, Bennett worked on some of the world's earliest computer systems including EDSAC and SILLIAC. He worked in a radar unit World War II and returned to study at the University of Queensland before moving to Cambridge University in 1947 to work on the build of the EDSAC.

ACS' outgoing CEO Bruce Lakin said that Bennett will be greatly missed.

"John was a thought leader and one of our nation's greatest ICT scholars. His dedication and passion was instrumental in the progression of the Australian Computer Society to every state in Australia. He was well-respected, not only as a great colleague at the ACS but also he was admired by the industry as a true ICT professional and a gentleman," said Lakin.

Bennett passed away on 9 December 2010 at the age of 89. He is survived by his wife, Mary, four children and six grandchildren.