Professor Chris Wallace

Professor Christopher Wallace is often considered to have been the greatest and most influential thinker in computer science in Australia.

Born on 26 October 1933, Professor Wallace led a distinguished academic career with pioneering achievements in many fields of computer science. He entered computer science from nuclear physics and for his PhD degree developed a complex computer program for analysis of cosmic ray events on SILLIAC, Sydney University’s first computer, one of the first three computers to be built in Australia.

Professor Wallace was appointed Foundation Professor of Computer Science, initially called Information Science, at Monash University at the age of 35. The Monash computer science department under his leadership produced about half of the PhD computing graduates in Australia during the early years, a significant number of whom Professor Wallace supervised.

Professor of computer science at Monash, Professor Gopal Gupta, was one of the early PhD students and colleague of Professor Wallace. “At the professional level, Professor Wallace had a towering intellect, encyclopaedic knowledge and uncompromising commitment to research,” said Professor Gupta. “At the personal level, his ethics and belief in altruism and the goodness of people permeated his interactions with his colleagues and work associates. As a teacher, he mentored many staff and students, most of whom are now leaders in academia and industry. His knowledge was impressive, and despite his modest claims to the contrary, spanned many fields of endeavour."

“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.

This CORE award is a tribute to the work that was undertaken by Professor Wallace and the inspiriation that he has provided future generations of Computer Scientists.

A special edition of the Computer Journal was devoted to the work of Chris Wallace

* Photograph courtesy of Monash University