Biography of Dr.G.E.(Tommy)Thomas
Gordon Eric Thomas was born in Cwmamman, Carmarthenshire, South Wales on 26 September 1928.
His school days were spent in Port Talbot, South Wales where he attended Velindre Primary School and then Port Talbot County Schoo (now GlanAfan Comprehensive School) which he left in 1945.
After graduating with a first class honours degree in Physics and
Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester in 1948, Tommy
joined the design team of Professors
F.C.Williams and Tom Kilburn who conceived and designed the
Ferranti Mk1 and Mercury computers, the world's first commercial
programmable computers. His University contemporaries assigned the
name Tommy by which he prefers to be known. His post graduate
qualifications of M.Sc. and Ph.D were awarded for work done at this
time in Manchester.
He left the University in 1955 to found the Central Digital Computing facility at Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (ICI) and subsequently became the first manager within the Central Management Services Organisation of that company with the combined responsibility for the computing and telecommunications strategy of the organisation.
In 1966, following the UK government's identification of the importance of providing the Universities with a major transfusion of resource for the development of computing services and related academic disciplines, he moved to the University of Edinburgh to set up there the first of the three Regional Computing Centres proposed at that time. While Director of the Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh Tommy assisted in the development of an overall strategy for the support of Information Technology related disciplines within the first School of Information Technology of any British University. Tommy played a major role in this interdisciplinary development which commenced operation in 1982 and he was involved in the support of several spin-off companies in the IT area in the vicinity of Edinburgh .
His Australian career started in Aug 1985 when Tommy took up the post of Foundation Chief at the new CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation) Division of Information Technology. The new Division was developed to work in concert with many other CSIRO Divisions in the identification of opportunities for the development and exploitation of Information Technology tools and products to the benefit of the Australian economy and society.
In 1988 Tommy was seconded to assist the first private University in Australia , within the School of Information Technology at Bond University to establish simultaneously on their new campus, a School of Information Technology and a Research Park. In 1989 he took up the permanent joint post of foundation Professor of Computing Science and Coordinator of the Research Park. In 1990 the University achieved recognition as a preferred site for high technology partnership undertakings when the then Digital Equipment Company located a major corporate laboratory on the Bond University Research Park .
In addition to Tommy's primary role in various organisations over his long career in the Information Industry he has served on numerous committees and the Boards of commercial and other bodies where his knowledge of the Information Industry in the UK and Australia are applicable.
Tommy is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology
Since his retirement from full time employment in October 1990 he has been a vigorous advocate for wider community involvement in the use of Internet. Bond University and the Gold Coast City Council in Queensland Australia were early opportunities for these studies while resident on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia.
Tommy and Polly are now resident at Glengara Retirement
Village at Tumbi Umbi on the Central Coast
of NSW, Australia and are enjoying the area
and the company of its people.
The growth in recent years of the use of the internet and the
increasingly affordable and portable personal computers has stimulated
Tommy to again take an active role in the use of these facilities
throughout the local community.
His motto is "We are never too old to learn" and in his village
community and the local section of the U3A he is as busy now as he has