CHCCS/SCDHM Service Award

Fred Peet

2005 Service Award

Fred Peet has been a mainstay in the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society (formerly the Canadian Man-Computer Communications Society). He has served as Treasurer of the Society since 1980 after the National Research Council gave up running its pioneering conferences on computer graphics and interaction in 1979. The Society was formed to continue the conferences and has done so every since, with Fred overseeing the finances.

Fred received his PhD in Physics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He went to work for the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in Ottawa and then moved to what is now the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria. In 1984 he was transferred into a program to devote all his time to studying problems in forest entomology and pathology. Subsequently he started his own company (Eidetic) developing remote sensing software for microcomputers and has sold his products into more than 40 countries. In addition to Graphics Interface, he has published in a number of journals including Remote Sensing of Environment, IEEE-PAMI, Analytical and Quantitative Cytology, and Phytopathology.

The Canadian Man-Machine Communications Conference was started by the Radio and Electrical Engineering Division of the National Research Council in 1969. Its purpose was not only to showcase the work of Canadian researchers in man-machine interaction but also to present the results of work being achieved in the Radio & EE Division itself, and to provide a venue where researchers could exchange ideas and network.

Initially this was a biennial conference. After four successful ventures held in Ottawa, the 1977 conference was held in Calgary under separate sponsorship, but the conference returned to Ottawa in 1979, once more sponsored by the Division. By that time it was felt that the conference was substantial enough to stand on its own. Herb Bown from the Department of Communications had been campaigning since 1975 for an organization to be formed which would assume the direction of the conference.

An ad hoc committee was established and brought the Canadian Man-Computer Communications Society into existence as a special interest group of the Canadian Information Processing Society. Fred’s involvement began in 1978 with writing a Society Newsletter and in 1980 he became Treasurer. The 1981 conference held at the University of Waterloo was the first conference sponsored by the new Society. In 1982 the name of the conference was changed to Graphics Interface and it became an annual conference.

In the early days of CHCCS/SCDHM finances were a problem, but Fred stepped into the breach. He ensured that the society was able to function so that successive conference chairs did not have to scramble for funding. This meant that notable speakers could be invited and some of their expenses covered, allowing conference chairs to increase the visibility and the reputation of the international conference. Fred almost single-handedly provided the year-to-year continuity in managing the finances of the organization and the conference. It is due to his efforts that the conference has been able to survive the ups and downs that have affected other conferences in the field.

We gratefully acknowledge Fred for the twenty-five years of service he has given to the organization through his wisdom, his guidance, and his time. The conference would not exist today if it were not for his nurturing.