Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural SEARCC International Awards, which were announced in Sydney on 1 December as part of the annual SEARCC Conference. This was held in conjunction with the Australian Computer Society’s Reimagination Thought Leaders Summit and Digital Disruptors Awards.

Presented by SEARCC President, Dr Nick Tate, the awards recognised exceptional achievers in the categories of:

  • ICT Educator of the Year Award – this went to Dr Anton Bogdanovych, a Lecturer in the School of Computing,

    Dr Anton Bogdanovych, Western Sydney University

    Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney University. He measurably improved student motivation in Programming fundamentals by using gamification to explain programming in a highly visual and interactive way. Anton was chosen because of his previous success in improving the quality of student engagement and learning outcomes in the Human-Computer Interaction unit, where he redesigned the course structure, assignments and programming framework to enhance outcomes. A 2013 survey found the number of students who reported feeling strongly negatively about programming dropped from 43.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent and the number of students who passionately love programming rose from 13 per cent to 38 per cent.

    Anton was selected from a highly competitive field of finalists including:

    • Khairuddin Ab Hamid – Vice Chancellor, University of Malaysia Computer Science and Engineering;
    • Sir Mick Nades – Founder and former President (for 11 years) of the Papua New Guinea Computer Society, who introduced ICT education in PNG through the Institute of Business Studies over 15 years ago; and
    • Professor Mahesha Kapurubandara – International Dean, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
  • ICT Researcher of the Year – this was won by Professor Gernot Heiser, Research Group Leader at NICTA and Professor at UNSW, whose research is focussed on operating system microkernels (a minimal core of an operation system) as a versatile foundation for robust computer systems. Professor Heiser has been rated the world’s #4 operating-systems researcher over the last 10 years (Microsoft Academic Search) and analysts believe it’s likely that all safety or security-critical systems (in aerospace, defence, critical infrastructure, medical devices etc) will soon be based on Heiser’s work, either by using his operating systems or by using systems that were influenced by his work.

    Professor Gernot Heiser, NICTA and UNSW

    In winning the award, Gernot overcome competition from:

    • Professor Naomie Salim – Professor at the Universiti Teknologi in Malaysia; and
    • Professor Karbhari Kale – Professor & Program Coordinator in the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in India.
  • ICT Professional of the Year – this category was jointly won by:
  • Beau Tydd – General Manager, People and Technology at Queensland

    Beau Tydd, Queensland Airports

    Airports, who has delivered many successful programs to bridge the digital gap between corporates, governments, educational institutions and the community. These include developing a central ICT government agency in the Solomon Islands; changing the ICT support model to encourage a culture of innovation; and working with CBA on a novel approach to improve Indigenous engagement through an Innovation Incubator utilising design theory; and

  • Kumar Parakala – Managing Director of Technova and former Managing Partner of KPMG’s Digital Consulting practice, he specialises in

    Kumar Parakala, KPMG

    technology-enabled business transformation services focusing on IT strategy and Execution, Digital Transformation, Outsourcing and Shared Services and Major Program Management. Kumar has made a significant contribution to the ICT industry in Australia and across the region, including serving as a former ACS President.