Professor Keedy > Biography of James Leslie Keedy

Biography of Professor Keedy

Professor Keedy was born in Leeds, England in 1940 and spent his childhood there. After leaving West Leeds High School in 1957 he became a civil servant, working as a tax official first in Leeds and then Wakefield. Following a transfer to the Public Departments office in Cardiff he was responsible for the tax assessments of the then British Prime Minister, some Cabinet Ministers, High Court Judges and other senior government and public officials.

In 1961 he left the tax office to study theology at King's College, University of London, where he completed a Bachelor of Divinity honours degree and an Associate of King's College diploma in 1964. After a postgraduate year as a World Council of Churches Scholar at the University of Mainz, West Germany, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology at Trinity College, University of Oxford (1965-1968). During his time in Oxford he also qualified for ordination in the Church of England at St. Stephen's House theological college.

Having decided against ordination he joined International Computers Ltd. in Kidsgrove, England, in 1968, working first as a maintenance programmer on the System 4 J operating system and later as senior programmer and project leader of the Terminal Management Project for the System 4 Multijob timesharing operating system. After that he became a Design Consultant and a member of the central design team for the operating system of the then secret "new range" of computers which ICL introduced to replace its System 4 and 1900 series. He was responsible for the design of the job management software of what became the ICL 2900 Series VME operating system. He was also coordinator of the operating system and data management design team activities. For a short period he also gave lectures on the ICL2900 Series for ICL customers at ICL's Old Windsor training centre.

In 1974 he became a Lecturer (later Senior Lecturer) in the Department of Computer Science at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.During this time he completed a self-supervised PhD in computer science. While at Monash University he established the Monads Project, which had the twin aims of developing improved practical software engineering techniques for large software systems and improving the security of such systems. This research was initially strongly influenced by his previous work at ICL, but it soon became the vehicle for many new research ideas in computer architecture and operating systems. It led to the development of an experimental capability-based computer, known as the Monads-PC. This built on the earlier hardware developments of the Monads I and Monads II systems, which were modified HP2100A computers. His early research students on the Monads Project included John Rosenberg (who later became Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sydney), Kotigiri Ramamohanarao (later Professor of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne) and David Abramson (later Professor of Computer Science at Monash University).

Following his appointment in 1982 as full Professor of Operating Systems at the Technical University of Darmstadt in West Germany, Prof. Keedy became the first Director of its Institute of System Architecture. During this period his research work focused mainly on low level mechanisms for synchronization, together with his research student Bernd Freisleben (who now has a Professorship at the University of Marburg in Germany) and on programming language design with his research student Mark Evered (who is currently a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of New England in Australia).

Prof. Keedy returned to Australia in 1985 as Foundation Professor of Computer Science at the University of Newcastle, N.S.W. There he established a new Department of Computer Science and introduced the first Bachelor of Computer Science and Master of Computer Science degrees in an Australian university. (Previously computer science was typically part of a science degree.) Together with John Rosenberg, who joined him at Newcastle, he continued to work on developments of the Monads Project, using Monads-PC computers as a base for ideas in the area of distributed shared virtual memory (together with Frank Henskens) and proposed the idea of a massive main memory computer, called the Monads-MM (together with David Koch).

In 1988 Prof. Keedy returned for family reasons to Germany, where he became Professor of Practical Computer Science at the University of Bremen. (At that time he was also offered a similar position at the University of Dortmund.) He worked in Bremen on a variety of developments of the Monads Project, including the integration of database ideas (e.g. transactions) into the Monads-PC's persistent virtual memory structure (with Peter Brössler), the development of ideas for a secure operating system (with Karin Vosseberg), ideas for a new Monads kernel (with Jörg Siedenburg), object oriented software maintenance techniques (with Jutta Hindesmann) and various programming language ideas (with Mark Evered, Gisela Menger, Axel Schmolitzky and Michael Kölling). He was also involved with the ESPRIT project MACS.

Despite being approached in 1992 by the Chancellor of Bond University (Australia's leading private university) to consider the position as Dean of the School of Information and Computer Science, family reasons held Prof. Keedy in Germany. He accepted the position of Professor of Computer Structures at the University of Ulm in 1993. He retired from the University of Ulm in 2005.

From 1997 Prof. Keedy took an active interest in the movement towards the reform of German universities, in particular with respect to the introduction of Bachelor and Master degrees and the reduction of time taken by students for obtaining degrees in German universities. He played a key role in the early stages of the introduction of Bachelor and Master degrees in the Computer Science Faculty at the University of Ulm, and held lectures on this topic at a variety of German universities and technical colleges. He wrote a book on this topic which appeared in 1999 in the Raabe Verlag series "DUZ Edition".

In Ulm his research focused mainly on the development of new ideas in the context of object oriented languages (with Mark Evered, Gisela Menger, Axel Schmolitzky and Christian Heinlein) and on further architectural ideas associated with security (with Jörg Siedenburg and Klaus Esbenlaub).

In 1998 he established the SPEEDOS Project (Secure Persistent Execution Environment for Distributed Object Systems) with Klaus Espenlaub, which focuses on the architecture of secure computing systems.

In 1999 he set up the TIMOR project with Gisela Menger and later also with Christian Heinlein, which focuses on the design of an object- and component-oriented programming language.

In 1998 Prof. Keedy was appointed to the honorary position of Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and in 2008 this became a position as Honorary Professor. He was also appointed Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, N.S.W in 2002 and in 2006 he became a Guest Professor at the University of Bremen, Germany.

Since his retirement he has continued working on the SPEEDOS and on the TIMOR Projects. He also now recruits German students for Australian universities, providing them wherever possible with an alternative to study abroad programmes by helping them to gain sufficient advanced standing for their German university courses to allow them to complete an Australian degree in two semesters. The German version of his recruitment website can be reached here and the English version here.