Careers: Interviews
Privacy: Chat with Kelly Gotlieb: Computing Pioneer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, DF/NPA, MVP, CNP, FCIPS, I.S.P., has the first of his exclusive interviews with computing pioneer, Calvin C. (Kelly) Gotlieb, C.M., M.A., PhD. (University of Toronto), D. Math. (Hon., University of Waterloo), D. Eng. (Hon., Technical University of Nova Scotia), Fellow CIPS (FCIPS), Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the British Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Calvin GotliebKelly Gotlieb, is currently Professor Emeritus in Computer Science and in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto (UT). He is a computing pioneer, whose innovations and accomplishments helped lay the foundation of an entire worldwide industry, educational stream, and profession. His contributions are so profound and their impact so diverse and in so many areas that the lasting value can not be comprehended.

Professor Gotlieb's list of "firsts" fills volumes and they are so extensive that we can only discuss a few of them here. Now in his 6th decade of thought leadership, Calvin continues to inspire, teach, and be a catalyst for innovation.

  • His work in computing began in 1945, when he quickly laid the foundation for computing as a science creating the first credit undergraduate and graduate university programs, the first computational center, and the first applications of computers for business and industry.
  • In the 1940's, (when there were no established file systems, data structures, databases, computing methodologies, algorithms and processes or any understanding of the economic, social, security, and privacy impact of computing), Calvin was instrumental in pioneering these and more, authoring or editing many of the first papers and writing leading books on a host of topics. His textbook, "High-Speed Data Processing," co-authored with Hume, introduced computer terminology such as "loop", and "in-line".
  • Calvin's work with the United Nations spawned subsequent initiatives for international development just as his work in Canada, laid the base for privacy legislation
  • His team was the first assembled to design and construct digital computers in the 1940s' in Canada and amongst the leaders worldwide and this innovation continued over his career.
  • The University of Toronto, Computation Center, which he co-founded, acquired the first electronic computer in Canada [coded named FERUT], and the second in the world after the US Census Bureau's UNIVAC. FERUT simulations allowed Toronto to be the world's first city with a computer controlled traffic system and was used in the design of the Avro Arrow. The list of firsts is extensive for the Computational Center and represents the history of computing in Canada and worldwide.
  • As noted in the CIPA Hall of Fame citation: "He has been involved in the cutting edge of technology - from the first purchase of an electronic computer in Canada (second anywhere) to the 1984 acquisition of a Cray XMP supercomputer."
  • Calvin was a founding member of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) in 1958, and served as Canada's representative at the founding meeting of the International Federation of Information Processing Societies (IFIP) in 1959 which was established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Calvin served as CIPS President in 1960-61. Calvin continues to contribute to the industry, education, profession and CIPS as a Founding CIPS Fellow.
  • Calvin is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Encyclopedia Britannica and of the Annals of the History of Computing. He continues to serve with distinction as Co-Chair of the ACM Awards Committee.
  • Professor Gotlieb is a "Fellow" of the: Royal Society of Canada, the British Computer Society (BCS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Canadian Information Processing Society (FCIPS). Fellows are recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to computer science, information technology, society, education or industry and to the mission of their respective groups.
  • In 1974, Calvin was recognized with the IFIP, Silver Core Award for his outstanding international contributions to IFIP. In 1994, IFIP's most prestigious service award, the Isaac L. Auerbach Award, was presented for the first time at the 13th IFIP World Computer Congress to Prof. Gotlieb. This unique award is in recognition of a long, distinguished, and active service in the field of information technology both in Canada as well as internationally, recognized by public or peer endorsement.
  • In 1987, Calvin was recognized with a CIPS Honorary Membership, which is the highest award available to CIPS members and awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to CIPS and to information processing in Canada. Moreover, there is a CIPS Award named in Calvin's honour, the C.C. Gotlieb Award.
  • In 1995, Calvin was made a Member of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is Canada's highest civilian honour recognizing the lifetime contributions of those that made a major difference to the country.
  • In 2002, Calvin received the prestigious ACM President Award-one of only 7 who have received this rare international distinction. Moreover, Calvin is an inductee to the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) Hall of Fame for his lasting contribution to technology innovation through the development, management and championing of IT. Who is another inductee? You have may heard of him: Alexander Graham Bell.

You can feel his passion for computing and its wider implications to society, education, industry, government, and the media as he shares his experiences and insights with us.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found the week of October 16, 2006 in the Canadian IT Managers (CIM) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
Also see September 29, 2006, CIM blog:

DISCUSSION: Kelly Gotlieb share his insights on the privacy issue

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:49:  Kelly Gotlieb talks about some of the issues arising in the early days of computing.
"When computers came in everyone saw them as wonderful things, but like most technology after they have been established for awhile, you start to see some negative sides and the negative this time was concerning privacy of databanks......"

05:12: In the 1980's, the government of Canada passed the Privacy law and Freedom of Access of Information law. Kelly talks about a conference in the late 80's at Queens conducted on the Privacy of Records at which he was the keynote speaker.
"The lecture I gave was entitled 'Privacy a concept whose time has come and gone', which was completely counter to the theme of the problem. So it made for an interesting conference....."

06:32: Kelly speaks about modern day catastrophes affect on the privacy issue.
"I changed my theme from 'Privacy a concept whose time has come and gone', to 'Security trumps privacy everytime'......."

11:52: Kelly talks about the Privacy Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and laws on privacy on data collected by private companies.
"How much does the public know about PIPEDA and I wonder if they feel more private....."

14:30: Kelly questions whether the public now values privacy less.
"Look at blogs now, how many people are putting up blogs where they display all kinds of information about themselves (including pictures). Surely that is an indication that privacy is a less valued concept and right....."

17:14: Balance required between technology and government.
"If the public doesn't make noices the politicians won't react....."


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