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ECS graduate receives top scientific accolade

Judith Bishop
Judith Bishop

Professor Judith Bishop, graduate of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, has been named Distinguished Woman Scientist of the Year in South Africa.

Professor Bishop is both a graduate of ECS, having received her PhD in the 1970s, and a former member of staff, who taught in the School in the 1980s and 1990s. She is now based in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pretoria, and works on frameworks for distributed systems that prolong the lifetime of highly expensive software by enabling machine-dependent components to be monitored, identified and exchanged. Her innovative re-targeting methodology, pioneered on the Views system, has made possible the re-targetting of GUI software from Windows to Linux without rewriting. She is now working with Microsoft Research and a local company on the Nomad system, which will enable closed groups of collaborators to exchange information effectively in today’s mobile world when connectivity is essential, but not always there.

Judith Bishop began her career as a computer scientist at Rhodes University in 1970, and published her first paper before she was 21. She has always been at the front of her field of programming languages for distributed systems. She wrote the first BASIC compiler for ICL1900 computers in 1972, and was involved in the first Pascal compiler for 2900 computers while working on her PhD under David Barron in 1976. She joined the staff of ECS in 1988, and worked with Tony Hey’s group on the design of distribution models for Ada on transputers. She wrote the first Java textbook to become widely used and translated in 1997, and most recently one of the first C# textbooks in 2004.

Professor Bishop is the top NRF-rated woman computer scientist in South Africa and has published over 70 journal and conference papers. Her 15 books are available in six languages, and read worldwide. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Founding Fellow of the SA Institute of Computer Scientists, was awarded the prestigious IFIP Silver Core Medal for her services to the international IT community, and has been involved in grant-awarding and conference reviewing panels internationally for 20 years. She has active inter-government collaborations with Italy, German, Canada and Scotland. She has organized numerous conferences and workshops in South Africa, aimed at keeping postgraduates involved in cutting-edge research. She is keenly interested in computer science at schools and was chosen as the university expert involved in setting the new curriculum and assessment guidelines.

Professor Bishop lives in Brooklyn, Pretoria, and has two sons who both studied at the University of Pretoria. While in Southampton, she was an Akela of the Brookvale Cubs in Highfield, and has had a lifelong association with the Scouts. See http://www.cs.up.ac.za/~jbishop for more information.

The Women in Science Awards of South Africa recognize the contribution of outstanding women in scientific research, as well as the role of women in the development and sharing of knowledge that contributes to improvement in people's economic status and quality of life.

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 16 Aug 2005.