He graduated in Electrical Engineering from Manchester University in 1962. After obtaining a Ph.D. for automatic speech recognition using the Atlas computer, he became a member of Tom Kilburn’s MU5 high-performance design team. The computers built at Manchester in the 1960s and 70s achieved several world firsts. From 1986 he was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Essex, specialising in Systems Architectures. His research interests focussed on the hardware and software for parallel information processing. One of his projects at Essex, the Intelligent File Store (IFS), attracted over £1 million in research grants and was awarded a British Computer Society Silver Medal for Technical Achievement. The IFS project was completed in 1996, after which he worked on parallel techniques for Knowledge Discovery in Databases ('data mining') and interactive video over congested IP networks. He retired in July 2002.
He now pursues research into computer history, a hobby I have had since 1968 and is a committee member of the Computer Conservation Society and am working on a CCS archival project.
He is particularly interested in early British computers built during the period 1945 – 1970. Amongst his historical publications are:
A History of Manchester Computers. Published by the National Computing Centre, 1976. Second edition published by the British Computer Society, 1998. ISBN: 0-902505-01-8.
Early British Computers. Published by Manchester University Press, 1980. ISBN: 0-7190-0803-4 and 0-7190-0810-7. Now out of print, but see: http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/EarlyBritish.html
The Pegasus story, a history of a vintage British computer. Published by the Science Museum, London, 2000. ISBN:1-900747-40-5. See : Pegasus - a Vintage British Computer - http://cswww.essex.ac.uk/staff/lavington/Pegasus/index.htm
He is currently working on a history of the computers designed and built by Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd. between 1947 and 1968, at their Research Laboratories at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
The Centre For Computing History is particularly grateful to Simon Lavington for providing us with signed copies of his books: The Pegasus Story and A History Of Manchester Computers
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