Catherine Ross

Dr Catherine Ross has been a decade working on the extensive archives of the Met Office and is a mine of information on its history, role and contributions to many aspects of our nation and individuals . Amongst that is the use of and impact of technology. Catherine traces the use of pre-digital IT back to the employment of the Victorian telegraph to transmit readings and broadcast predictions and storm warnings. Between then and the invention of the stored program digital computer, Dr Ross charts the use of other technologies, including “computors” and the early vision of how armies of people with mechanical calculators might have presaged the use of super computing.

The Met Office was one of the first users of digital computers as we know them in 1951, running its programs on the Leo at Cadby Hall. Its first own computer was a Ferranti Mercury. The Met Office’s ever more sophisticated numerical modelling of the atmosphere has created a continually expanding demand for computing power. That has made it one of the most demanding users of processing power, leading it to use larger and larger supercomputers from Control Data, Cray and IBM. 

John Poulter

John Poulter is a well known figure of the IT industry who has had an important influence through his participation in the industry bodies and his knowledge of the issues, people, organisations and technology. John’s career CV demonstrates a diversity of experience, from teacher to taxi driver, of which IT is just a part, perhaps giving him the perspective for his roles as observer and historian of the industry. John is a chartered engineer, a professional member of the British Computer Society, and a Chartered IT Professional. During his professional career he worked as system analyst and Management and Systems Consultant.

John is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and was the archivist of the WCIT from 2009 to 2021. He received the Mercury Special Recognition Award from the WCIT in May 2022. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and contributed to the foundation of the Archives of IT. John shares some fascinating lessons from life and insights into the industry.

David Tebbutt

It was scoring 100 per cent on a computer aptitude test at NCR that attracted a restless young David Tebbutt to computing in 1965. The industry proved rich in opportunity, taking him from programming, systems analysis and training, through project and data processing management, to business and technology writing and editing.

At NCR, David’s first machine, had 2.4k bytes of memory for working data, the program and running all peripherals. As the technology developed he helped a wide range of companies implement their IT systems. In 1975 he joined ICL as a leadership skills trainer, a role which took him to diverse assignments in Trinidad, Nigeria and Poland.

David had always enjoyed writing but his family and teachers discouraged him from taking it up professionally, believing it was not a good career choice. The chance to prove them wrong came with the emerging world of personal computers.

For Personal Computer World, David reviewed launch models of breakthrough devices such as the IBM PC and Osborne 1 and interviewed industry luminaries including Steve Jobs.  As editor, he covered a seminal period, spanning the development of the industry from kit microcomputers to the IBM PC  via Tandy TRS-80 and Commodore Pet.

Unable to resist the pull back into the IT industry, in 1981 David co-founded Caxton Software, where he published and developed PC business productivity applications such as BrainStorm, a program he had developed to organise his own work while at PCW. It is still on sale in the US.

David has long been interested in environmental issues, inspired by books such as E F Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. He worked on an ambitious sustainability initiative at the Science Museum from 2003-2006, and was launch editor of Blue & Green Tomorrow magazine in 2010.

As a writer, David has also covered topics such as ageing, leisure and happiness. He is currently ghost-writing a book about the future. But he doesn’t believe in the “singularity — the idea that AI will eventually control us.

Ann Moffatt

Ann Moffatt found “sums” easy as a child at school in post war London and would have gone to Oxbridge had it not been a time when the boys in the family had first call on education.  Nevertheless, by reading every book she could find, she got a job in IT and went on to defy the male stereotype of the industry: combining a friendly manner with incisive expertise that commanded respect at the highest levels.

Ann was Dame Stephanie Shirley’s first lieutenant at Freelance Programmers before being headhunted to Australia, to sort out a mega-project gone wrong.  She is a Fellow of both the Australian Computer Society and the British Computer Society. In 2002, Ann was inducted into the Australian ICT Hall of Fame and in 2011, into the Pearcey Hall of Fame, for lifetime achievement in the ICT industries. The University of Southern Queensland awarded her an Honorary Doctorate, in May 2006 and Microsoft list her as one of 12 Australian Innovators.

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