Scott M. Campbell

B.Math/CS, Waterloo (1999), M.A., Toronto (2002), Ph.D., Toronto (2006) [cv/resume]

Contact Information

Mail: Director & Option Coordinator
Centre for Society, Technology and Values
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave West, Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3G1
Office: E3X Rm. 3174
(519) 888-4567 x35635
Office Hours:Tuesdays: 12-2pm or by appointment


My research concerns the history of computing technology and science in Canada. More broadly, my interests include the history of technology in Canada, technological obsolescence and momentum and historical computer simulations and recreations.

My 2006 doctoral dissertation, "The Premise of Computer Science: Establishing Modern Computing at the University of Toronto (1945-1964)" details the first Canadian attempts to join the world of modern computing shortly after WWII. You can read the [abstract] online; a pdf of the complete text is available upon request.

For my 2002 M.A., I wrote a major research paper, "`WAT' For Ever: Student-Oriented Compilers and Computing at the University of Waterloo, 1957-1967". WATFOR was a student-oriented, fast load-and-go FORTRAN compiler written in 1965 by four undergraduates at the University of Waterloo for its IBM 7040 mainframe. It was very popular for the IBM 7040/44, but it was a second version written for the IBM System/360 that launched WATFOR and the University of Waterloo upon the international stage. I have recently reopened this research and intend to publish an article soon. If you were involved with WATFOR as one of the original participants or as a user, don't hesitate to contact me as I would love to discuss your experiences.

Another project I am launching is to explore the historical impact of microcomputing on computer science in Canada. When computer science emerged as a discipline in the 1960s, it was linked pedagogically to large, centralized computing centres. In the 1970s, small and cheap microprocessor based microcomputers were invented which created a new paradigm of computing power distributed into the hands of individuals. How did computer science departments react to this new technology? What was the role of machines like the microWAT and SuperPET, and software like the Waterloo micro Software System? Why did some universities in Canada move relatively quickly to adapt and adopt microcomputing to their computer science curriculum, while others hesitated or ignored the technology? I hope to answer these and similar questions.

Another project in progress is a UTEC simulator. The first modern, electronic, digital computer was the University of Toronto Electronic Computer (UTEC) built at the University of Toronto between 1948 and 1952.

Research, Reviews, other Writing



Copyright 2011 Scott M. Campbell