W. F. Smyth -- Experience

After receiving my Bachelor's degree, I spent about 10 years in the "real world", mostly writing software for business, scientific and engineering applications of computers. From mid-1967 till mid-1982 I worked with various United Nations agencies in various countries for periods ranging from a few months to a few years: Kenya, Italy, Hungary, Roumania, Tanzania, India, Israel, Singapore, Sri Lanka. My main roles were to advise on national computer policy and to assist in the establishment of management development/training centres. During this period I learned to speak several languages badly: French, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, German. My linguistic skills also include being able to say "I did not open the door that the thief did not shut" in French, Italian, Hungarian and Swahili, and I am able to moo with convincing verisimilitude. Unlike my accomplished and eminent colleague Dr. Jeff Zucker, I achieve this latter feat without recourse to artificial aids of any kind.

In 1982 I took a 50% pay cut to join McMaster University as a Visiting Associate Professor with a one-year contract and five brand new courses to teach. I have been happily employed here ever since, being awarded tenure in 1986 and promotion to Professor in 1992. At the end of 1999 I retired in order to devote all my time to research and to the supervision of graduate students. I have held an NSERC research grant since 1986 and have also been a participant in an MRC/NSERC collaborative grant entitled Computational Issues in Alignment & Sequencing as well as in an NSERC equipment grant for a Graduate Laboratory in Computational Biology. I was for three years co-holder of a NATO Travel Grant for String Algorithms. In 2008-2009 I was chief investigator of an NSERC RTI (Equipment) Grant for the Algorithms Research Group Design & Development Laboratory and one of three investigators for an Australian Research Council Grant, Indexes Allowing Fast & Efficient Text Search.

Since 1988 30 M.Sc. students have graduated successfully under my supervision, including bumper crops of five in 2001 and three in both 2000 and 1998; in both 2002 and 2004 two more graduated, with one each in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, two in both 2012 and 2015, making a total of 23 in the research-oriented Computer Science programme that was established (finally!) in 1997. Of these 23, five were jointly supervised by Professor Franya Franek, four others jointly by Professor Pat Ryan, one jointly with G. Brian Golding and Lucian Ilie.

In 2007 my first Ph.D. student graduated from the Department of Computing at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. In 2008 my second Ph.D. student graduated from the Department of Computer Science at King's College London, cosupervised with Professor Costas Iliopoulos. In 2009 my third and fourth Ph.D. students graduated from the Computer Science programme at McMaster. I currently supervise one Ph.D. student and cosupervise another (with Brian Golding) at McMaster.

Since 1983 I have supervised 35 fourth-year undergraduate student projects.

In May 2003 my book, Computing Patterns in Strings, was published by Pearson-Addison-Wesley (U.K.). I think of the book as both a monograph and a graduate text; in it I have tried to summarize and explain what in my opinion are the most important string algorithms developed over the last 30 years or so.

Last revised: Thursday, 17-Sep-2015 02:11:32 EDT