Notes

UCC

For archive (Updated on February 27, 2019)

It seems like only yesterday when Computer Science, Technology and Applications were introduced to Burma/Myanmar.

Saya Chit (Dr. Chit Swe) founded Universities Computer Center (UCC) with the help of Saya U Soe Paing, Saya U Myo Min and Saya U Ko Ko Lay (GBNF).

Saya Chit firmly believed in

  • Technology Transfer
  • Leapfrogging Technology
  • Lifelong Learning
  • the ability, passion and work ethics of fledgling Burmese/Myanmar professionals and students.

Saya Chit, who was Head of the Mathematics Department at the Institute of Economics, proposed to the Ministry of Education to have a Computer at the Institute for Teaching and Research. Dr. Nyi Nyi asked Saya Chit to expand the scope to have a Computer for use by the Universities and Institutes.

The project to establish the first Computer Center in Burma took a long time to get approved by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). UNESCO was designated as the Executing Agency.

Saya Chit was determined that the UCC project should nurture Burmese Computer Professionals and trigger the Computerization of Government Departments.

Saya ensured that the UNDP/UNESCO Grant will have a component to invite outstanding Computer Scientists and educators to Burma.

Professor Harry D. Huskey, computer pioneer and Past ACM President, was offered a subcontract for education and training. Professor Huskey convinced Professor Anthony Ralston (another Past ACM President), Professor Peter Wegner (expert in systems software, programming languages), Professor Michael Stonebraker (expert in data base systems, founder/implementer of Ingres, winner of ACM Turing Award a few years back) and other distinguished academics to share their knowledge and expertise in Burma.

Saya Chit wanted to establish academic departments and institutions to teach and research Computer Science, Technology and Applications.

To head in that direction, Saya Chit allowed UCC (where he was the Founder and Director) to conduct Computer Science programs under the aegis of the Department of Mathematics, Rangoon University (where he was Professor and Head of the Department).

Details of the early days of Computing in Burma has been documented in part by Saya U Soe Paing in “Computer ah sa; UCC ga” and other related articles. Saya was my mentor at RIT and UCC.

From UCC to DCS and ICST

Saya Chit was succeeded by Saya Dr. Tin Maung (GBNF), a senior Lecturer at the Deparment of Mathematics and a son of Sayagyi U Kar (Minister of Education in the Caretaker Government).

During Dr. Tin Maung’s tenure, the Department of Computer Science (DCS) was founded under Rangoon University. U Ko Ko Lay served as the Professor of DCS.

The Institute of Computer Science and Technology (ICST) was then established with Saya Dr. Tin Maung as Rector.

Saya U Ko Ko Lay served as Professor and Head of the Information Systems Department.

Saya U Tun Aung Gyaw served as Associate Professor and Head of the Hardware Technology Department.

I was appointed as Associate Professor and Head of the Software Technology Department.

Senior sayas from the Mathematics Department would later head the Computational Mathematics Department.

The Bachelor of Science degree programs was established. Thirty students were selected for the first year B.Sc (Computer Science) class. Fifteen students were chosen for the Computer Technology class.

Among the students were Ma Aye Aye Kyaw Zin, daughter of my classmate U Kyaw Zin (EP69). She is now a senior computer professional in Sydney, Australia. Another female student Mi Thinn Hnin Myaing left ICST to join her mother (my I.Sc.(A) classmate) in the USA. A few years back, I met both the mother and daughter, who is a Commander (Lt. Colonel, Dental Surgeon) in the US Navy.

Micro-gatherings

Ma Aye Aye Kyaw Zin, Ma Su Su Hlaing and Ko Win Pe hosted a dinner during my visit to Sydney in 2006.

Ma San Yin Myint (Samantha, cousin of U Maurice Chee) took me to a dinner to meet her classmates from the second batch. Some of them are Entrepreneurs.

Ko Saw Yan Naing (son of Dr. Wesley Saw Naing, and nephew of Dr. Myo Khin) gave me a ride to the 5th Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe of ICST and UCSY (University of Computer Studies in Yangon).

I had a good time at the 40th Anniversary of UCC.

A UCC Reunion of former staff, sayas and students will be held at MICT Park on December 29, 2018. My spouse has agreed to attend on my behalf.

Saya U Soe Paing and Daw Saw Yu Tint (Alice) hosted us during my visits to Yangon. We requested them not to host the last time when Saya Paing was having back pain and the doctor friends of Alice strongly suggested Saya to have a check up and operation in Singapore.

There are several informal gatherings, e.g. Christmas party at Daw Gilmore Hole’s house, lunch gathering at Koke Kine Bone Kyaung and Kone Myint Tha.

Categories: Notes

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