Alumni

Paying Back to My Alma Mater

Introduction

  • Wrote 40+ Posts on “Memories of UCC” in January, 2018.
  • Summarized into an article for submission to the 30th Anniversary Issue of ICST.
  • Dr. Chit Swe (Pioneer of Computer Science and Applications in Burma) passed away in 2019.
  • This revised edition is dedicated to my Mentors in general and Saya Dr. Chit Swe in particular.
  • Feel free to read related posts in my web site
    hlamin.com

The Early Days

  • IBM (based in the US) and ICL (based in the UK) had presence in Burma, but they were not eager to introduce computers to Burma.
    They were content with leasing unit-record machines and providing maintenance support.
  • In the early sixties, Burma Railways wanted to upgrade to an ICL computer, but the Coup d’etat in 1962 derailed te idea of “computerization in Burma”.

Pioneers led by Saya Chit / Dr. Chit Swe

Dr. Chit Swe in Sydney, Australia
  • In the mid sixties, Saya Chit (Dr. Chit Swe, Head of the Mathematics Department at the Institute of Economics), proposed the need of a computer for teaching and research to Saya Nyi Nyi (Dr. Nyi Nyi, Deputy Minister of Education).
  • Saya Nyi Nyi suggested the scope to be extended for a computer to serve the staff and selected students of the Universities and Institutes.
  • Thus, the UCC (Universities’ Computer Center) Project was born.
  • Saya Chit later became Professor at Mathematics at the Rangoon Arts and Science University (RASU).
  • He offered space his department for the early volunteers of the UCC Project.
  • He later obtained permission to use Mandalay Hall for use by the UCC Project before the UCC Building could be completed in Thamaing College Campus.
  • The volunteers are fondly known as members of Generation Zero. Saya TAG (Dr. Tun Aung Gyaw) was the first volunteer. 
  • I was fortunate enough to be a member of Generation Zero.
  • Saya Chit requested Saya Paing (U Soe Paing) to help design and implement the UCC project.
  • Saya Paing recruited his former classmate and friend Saya Lay (U Ko Ko Lay) to help with the UCC project in general and with the UCC Building Design and Implementation in particular.
  • Saya Chit also inquired the mother of Saya Myo (U Myo Min), who was working at IBM UK after completing his CA (Chartered Accountant) if Saya Myo would be interested to come back to Burma and help with the UCC project.
  • It took a long time to get the UCC project approved with
    UNDP as the Funding Agency and
    UNESCO as the Executing Agency.
  • UCC was formally established in 1970 with Saya Chit as the Founder/Director.

Prime Mover

Saya Chit is a Prime Mover, and initiated the academic and training programs.

He is an advocate of

  • Technology transfer
  • Leapfrogging technology
  • Life long learning
  • TOSS (Team of System Specialists
  • Synergy of theory and practice
  • Knowledge sharing internally and externally
  • Challenging the staff and students to try their best.

Saya insisted a Component in the UCC Project Plan to invite the elite Computer Scientists and Practitioners including two Past Presidents of the ACM, a future ACM Turing Award Winner (considered as the Nobel Prize for Computing) to UCC and jump start courses in Computer Science and Applications.

Co-founders

  • Saya Paing (U Soe Paing) transferred from the RIT EE Department to UCC as Systems Division Manager.
  • Saya Lay (U Ko Ko Lay) transferred from PWD to UCC as Operations Division Manager.
  • Saya Myo (U Myo Min) left IBM UK to join as Applications Division Manager.

Reorg

  • Saya Paing managed Systems Division and Operations Division
  • Saya Lay managed Scientific Applications Division
  • Saya Myo managed Business Applications Division

UCC : Locations and Structure

Mandalay Hall / Temporary Home

  • Saya Chit succeeded Saya U Ba Toke as Professor of Mathematics Department at RASU.
  • Saya recruited volunteers to help plan for the implementation of UCC.
  • Saya received permission to use Mandalay Hall as the “temporary home” for UCC.
  • Saya Chit, Saya Paing, Saya Myo, Saya Lay and several others conducted courses on Computer Fundamentals, Programming, Systems Analysis and Design, Numerical Methods.

Thamaing College Campus / Permanent Home

  • UCC moved over to Thamaing College Campus as a neighbor to RC2 (Regional College Two).
  • Saya Chit became the Founder/Director.
  • Saya Paing, Saya Myo and Saya Lay became Managers in charge of Systems Division, Applications Division, and Operations Division. 
  • After reorganization, Applications Division was split into Business Applications Division and Scientific Applications Division. 
    Saya Paing managed Systems Division & Operations Division. Saya Lay managed the Scientific Applications Division.
    Saya Myo managed the Business Applications Division.

Departments

Office Of The Director

  • It is used to hold meetings with Board of Directors & Advisers
  • Provided service for the Project Director and Experts.

Administration

  • The department had a Superintendent, Admin Officers, Secretaries, Upper and Lower division clerks, personal assistants and peons.
  • There were several Security Personnel, Maintenance Personnel, and Drivers.

Systems Division

The Systems Division Manager managed

  • Engineers
  • Technicians
  • System Programmers
  • System Librarian
  • Trainee engineers

Applications Division

The Applications Division Manager managed Analysts and Programmers for business applications, scientific & engineering applications.

Later, the Applications Division was restructured into Business Applications Division and Scientific Applications Division.

Operations Division

The Operations Division Manager managed

  • Chief Operator (CO)
  • Shift leads
  • On-line operators
  • Off-line operators
  • Job Controllers

Hardware, Software and Training

  • ICL 1900 series cover a range of machines : ICL 1901 to ICL 1907.
  • The “basic” machines have “A” in the name, e.g. ICL 1901A.
  • The “enhanced” machines have “S” in the name, e.g. ICL 1902S (used at UCC)

Hardware

The following configuration was initially used at UCC. Some upgrades were made using the budget for “Population Census Data Processing” Project.

  • ICL 1902S computer with 2.5 D core memory and a console typewriter
  • Two ICL 2101 Card Readers
  • ICL 1933 Line Printer
  • Two ICL 2802 EDS (Exchangeable Disk Store)
    Each controller controls two EDS 8 disks
  • Four ICL 2506 Magnetic Tape 9 track NRZI (Non Return to Zero Inverted)

The computer has piano-like keys for “bootstrapping” and for “testing”.

A flat bed CalComp Graph Plotter was added. 

Later, UCC added PDP 11/70 minicomputer, microcomputers and PCs.

Software

  • ICL 1900 series use GEORGE (General Organization Environment) O/S Operating System. 
  • ICL1902S uses GEORGE-2. 
  • Some other computers use GEORGE-3. 
  • ICL1902S comes with several software packages. 
  • The Systems Programming team installed the software and the patches.
  • PLAN (Programming Language for Nineteen hundred series) is the Assembly Language
  • FORTRAN (Formula Translator) and COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) are the programming languages used for scientific computing and business applications. 
  • The language compilers detect for syntax and semantic errors and output a form that can be read by a “consolidator” or “linking loader“. 

There are Application Software packages. 
Examples :

  • FILAN (File Analysis)
    Used for the processing of Population Census data
  • CSL (Control and Simulation Language)
    Available for Discrete Event Simulation
  • GPCP (General Purpose Contouring Package)

Training

  • Three UCC engineers — U Tun Aung Gyaw, U Hla Min and U Soe Win — underwent training at the ICLETC (ICL Engineering Training Center) in Letchworth, UK.
  • ICL provided a resident engineer to maintain the computer system and a resident programmer/analyst to guide the system programmers and selected application programmers.
  • Calcomp provided an on-site training (by Robert Boyle) for the graph plotter.

Selected Personnel

Saya Paing / U Soe Paing

  • Studied BSEE and MSEE at Stanford University in the US.
  • Joined EE Department at RIT as Assistant Lecturer.
  • Recruited by Saya Chit to help with the UCC Project in general and to recruit his top EC students to work for UCC.
  • Transferred to UCC as Systems Division Manager.
  • Later also managed the Operations Division.
  • Studied M.Sc.(CS) at Southampton University in the UK.
  • Has recounted his experiences at UCC and the various UN projects. The articles can be downloaded from SCRIB-D.
U Soe Paing and Daw Saw Yu Tint

Saya Myo / U Myo Min

  • Won medals for standing first in I.Com and B.Com
  • Completed CA (Chartered Accountant) in the UK
  • Worked for IBM UK for four (or more) years.
  • One day, he had a call from his mother. She asked Saya if he wanted to come back to Burma to help Saya Chit & team with the UCC Project. Saya was studying and working in UK when his father passed away.
  • Returned to Burma
  • Joined UCC as Applications Division Manager. 
  • Later, Saya gracefully allowed Saya Lay to manage the Scientific Applications Division.
    He was contented to be the Business Application Manager. 
  • Did Masters in Systems Engineering at the University of Lancaster in UK.
  • Taught not only at UCC but also at the Institute of Economics and other Departments.
  • During his spare time, Saya studied and completed Abhidhamma “Thingyo” course at Mingalar Byuha. 
  • Worked in Singapore and USA.

Saya Lay / U Ko Ko Lay

  • Studied BSCE and MSCE at Stanford University in the US.
  • Joined Public Works Department (PWD) as Assistant Engineer
  • Recruited by Saya Paing to help with the UCC Project in general and the design and implementation of UCC Building in particular.
  • Transferred to UCC as Operations Division Manager
  • Later served as Scientific Applications Division Manager
  • Studied Systems Engineering at the University of Lancaster in UK.
  • Had the longest tenure at UCC among the four co-founders
    Worked at UCC until he passed away in the early 1990s.
  • Served as Professor, Department of Computer Science (DCS)
  • Served as Professor of Information Systems, Institute of Computer Science and Technology (ICST).

Saya Dr. Tin Maung

  • Passed the Matriculation examination in 1951
  • Father : Saya Kar (Minister of Education in the Caretaker Government, Rector of Rangoon University)
  • Joined the Department of Mathematics
  • Did further studies in UK.
  • Upon his return, he was promoted to Lecturer.
  • Succeeded Saya Chit as Director of UCC
  • During his tenure, DCS and ICST were established.
  • Served as Rector of ICST.

Saya Thein / Dr. Kyaw Thein

  • Succeeded Saya Dr. Tin Maung as Rector of ICST.
    Earlier, he was Principal of Sittwe College.
  • Told attendees of the 5th ICST/UCSY Acariya Pu ZawPwe that
    I was Generation Zero,
    Bo Htay (Dr. Maung Maung Htay) was Generation One, and
    he was Generation Two
  • Top student in his Honors Class (1958 – 1962)
  • Fledgling tutor in the Mathematics Department in 1963 when we entered I.Sc. (A) class at Leik Khone.
    Held Tutorial sessions.
    He encouraged me.
    I was top among Science Option students of I.Sc. (A). 
  • Crossed our paths when we visited Southampton University to see Saya Paing and Saya Zaw (U Aung Zaw)
  • He was doing his Ph.D
    Expert on Differentiable Manifold (and related topics)
  • He and Saya Zaw joined us (Ko Tun Aung Gyaw, Ko Soe Win and me) to see Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Safari (with wild animals roaming).
  • As Saya Chit’s assistant and general hand, I worked on several projects with several Mathematics sayas (including Saya Thein)

Saya Pyke / Dr. Pyke Tin

  • His name means “remain on a net”. 
  • His mother had a few miscarriages.
    When Saya was conceived, his mother wanted to make sure that Saya would be born safe and sound. 
    She performed a “Yadaya”.
    She requested a relative to hold a “net” to “catch” Saya. 
  • Received his Ph.D from Monash University, Australia.
    Expert on Stochastic Processes (and related topics).
    For many years, Saya served as Reviewer for research papers.
  • Had the opportunity to audit the “Linear Programming” course by Saya to Mathematics students.
    I cherish his teaching style. 
  • Succeeded Saya Thein as Rector
  • Met again at the ICST Acarya Pu Zaw Pwes

Saya TAG / Dr. Tun Aung Gyaw

  • Member of Generation Zero of UCC, DCS and ICST
  • Earliest and longest volunteer of the UCC Project. 
  • Apart from the four co-founders, Saya is the most senior (not by age) of the UCC employees.
  • He was from Ma Hlaing, Meiktila.
  • Matriculated in 1963 and received a Collegiate Scholarship.
  • Studied I.Sc.(A) at Mandalay University.
  • Under the then new Education System, he was admitted to the first ever 2nd BE (Bachelor of Engineering) class at RIT with 300+ fellow students.
  • Received B.E. (EC) in 1969.
  • He was a top student for all the classes.
  • Could have chosen to join RIT, MOC/MOGE, PTC, BBS and more.
  • Like some of his classmates (Ko Toung, EC69), he could have tried to migrate to the US. 
  • Instead, he decided to be a volunteer (unpaid initially, and a “small” daily allowance of Three Kyats and 15 pyas) for the UCC Project.
  • Learned several subjects and taught the course “A First Course in Computer Science” based on the book by Forsythe et. al.
    The course used Flowcharts and Programming. 
  • Saya Chit offered him 24 + months of UN Fellowship : first for Hardware Training at ICLETC and then study for M.Sc. (CS) at the now defunct Institute of Computer Science (ICS), University of London.
  • U TAG bought a typewriter and several CS books and studied them.
    Borrowed notes from Htaw Kyin (U Htin Kyaw), who was attending ICS.
  • The higher authorities deemed that the Hardware Engineers must be present at the installation and commissioning of the ICL Computer System and then “stay on” to maintain the system.
  • Saya must have felt an intense pain about the “broken promisedespite his sacrifices. 
  • Served as Senior Engineer, Systems Division Manager, Associate Professor at DCS and ICST.
  • Wanted to pursue his academic dream, but again the higher authorities “deemed” that he should go for a higher paying fellowship, but forgo his academic dreams. 
  • His perseverance paid off with a doctorate in CS from UIUC
  • Still working full time (often on multiple projects).
    Instead of driving, he now car pools or telecommutes. 

Saya Zaw / U Aung Zaw

  • Experienced a “True Love Story” about a few years ago.
  • Found out that both his kidneys were not good, but one was bad enough to need a transplant.
  • Tried to get a donor for kidney.
  • His beloved spouse Ma Kyawt offered to donate her kidney as a sign of unwavering love, companionship and trust.
    Tears of joy fell from Saya’s eyes.
    For details, please read his book “Bawa and Dhamma”.
  • Joined the Department of Mathematics, RASU.
  • One day, Saya Chit asked him if he would like to join UCC.
  • Studied Masters in Computer Science at Southampton University along with Saya Paing who would do double-duty as a mentor.
  • Upon return to Burma, Saya taught M.Sc. and DAC (Diploma in Automatic Computing) courses.
  • He is one of the “sayas of UCC sayas”.
  • Led the Systems Programming team. Saya had UNIX training at UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz).

Few people would know the noble nature of Saya. I had first hand experience when I decided to move from “Hardware” to “Software”. Saya Zaw told the management that he would happily let me become the Senior Systems Programmer, even though it would be blocking his career advancement. I salute you, Saya Zaw.

Ko Pauk Si / CO U Hla Min

  • He was named Pauk Si by his classmates at SPHS (St. Paul’s High School).
    His father had lent money to a Pauk Si vendor, but the vendor could not pay back the loan.
    So, at break time, he will go to claim one Pauk Si or more depending on his appetite. 
  • Joined UCC as Chief Operator (CO).
  • When CO passed away at the tender age (may be 35), I became a Tone Kyaw.
    Some people were not aware that there were two Hla Min who attended SPHS & RIT; worked at UCC; and have spouses from the medical profession. To the external world, details (that he was one year junior at school, his wife was a UK-trained nurse, and that we worked in different divisions) did not matter.

    It was not surprising when two government departments where I had given guest lectures inquired UCC where and when they could send wreaths (Lwan Thu Pan Khwe) for me.

    To top it all, Ko Moe Hein (Ajala, ChE69) took a day off to send me off. At Kyandaw Cemetery. he came down from a bus. When he saw me, he stared at me as if I was a ghost. He explained, “Your brother seemed so calm when we learned that you had passed away. So I look a day off to give you last respects thinking that ‘If your brother does not care about you, there will not be many people at last journey'”.

Bo Shoke / U Mya Thein

  • Earned the nickname “Bo Gyoke” at the Institute of Economics, because he had his hair cut like Bogyoke Aung San. 
  • Was a brilliant and talented student.
    Would “explain” the lectures in a room to his fellow students.
    Turn out to his “free tuition” was larger than that at the regular classes given by the sayas. 
  • Had a vast array of General Knowledge.
    Would read books on religion, medicine, and engineering
    Get involved in lots of activities thereby earning the name “Bo Shoke” (One who gets his hands wet in things that are of no concern to him). 
  • He was outspoken.
    During a visit to UCC, VIPs (ministers, deputy ministers) were standing and waiting for U San Yu.
    Bo Shoke entered the room and shouted, “Sit down”. All complied. (What a surprise!)
  • Taught not only taught at UCC
  • Lectured to the monks at ITBMU (International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University). 
  • Sad to say, he is GBNF.

Ah Thay Lay / U Thein Oo

  • Entrepreneur in his school days.
    Supposedly paid his school fees from his winnings from “Ta Chut Hmout” and similar card games.
    With great control and having excellent strategies, he was never victimized by “over-emotional” card players. 
  • Good in sports : as a “lifter” in volleyball and as a “smasher” in table tennis. 
  • Joined the Department of Commerce, Institute of Economics as tutor
  • Transferred to UCC as Application Programmer.
  • Did further studies in the United Kingdom.
  • Found his soul mate Daw Than Than Tint at UCC.
    They and their family members operate ACE and its subsidiaries. He co-founded MCC. 
    They have served in various capacities (President …) in Computer Organizations such as MCF (Myanmar Computer Federation).
  • Vocalist at functions
  • Example of “Great men are short”. 

Transfers

  • U Htin Kyaw (from Statistics Department)
  • U Tun Shwe (from Statistics Department)
  • U Thein Myint (from Mathematics Department)
  • U Soe Than (from Mathematics Department)
  • U Maung Maung Htay (from Mathematics Department)
  • U Tin Win (from RIT EE)
  • U Aung Myint (from RIT EE Labortory)
  • (might be missing a few)

U Soe Win

  • Joined UCC as Engineer.
  • Sent to UK for ICL training and to US for PDP training.
  • He and his team implemented the Burmese font for the Calcomp graph plotter.
  • Transferred to PTC. 

Ko Win Latt

  • Owned a computer [and later computer classes and a computer company called Sysmagic]
  • Excellent programmer.
  • Under my supervision and with the guidance of Ko Myint Sein (my friend and Principal of Burma Astro Research Bureau), Ko Win Latt came up with three versions of the Horoscope program. Named them WinHoro V3, V6 and V9 (for Versions 3, 6, and 9). WinHoro was implemented using BASIC. 
    Win Horo V3 was later implemented in C on Window PCs by Ko Aung Myint Oo (EC84).

Ko Zaw Tun

  • One needs expert knowledge to interpret a Zartar. 
  • Ko Zaw Tun (now in Singapore sharing his time with Programming and Singapore Chan Mei Yeik Tha) used PROLOG (language for Logic Programming) to implement the Bedin (Astrology) Rules. 
    Tested his program with several sets of data. He was surprised when his program said that “the Two Year Old is a rich person (possibly a Millionaire)”.
    Thought that there must be a bug.
    Turned out that the Two Year Old is the grand son of a wealthy Sawbwa (Saophalong, Shan noble), who decided that his grandson should inherit his wealth. 

Former Colleagues and Students

  • Dr. Rafiul Ahad (UCC, Retired Vice President, Oracle)
  • Dr. Htay Lwin Nyo (SJSU Professor, GBNF)
  • Daw Nwe Nwe Win (UCC, DCS, ICST, Retired Professor)
  • Daw Tin May Lwin (UCC, DCS, ICST, Retired Professor)
  • Sai Aung Thurein (MOC, Singapore, Australia)
  • Mra Tun (UCC, USA)
  • U Than Lwin (UCC, CSO, Singapore)
  • U Boe Ba Shan (UCC, Singapore)
  • Daw Phyu Phyu Win (UCC, Singapore)
  • U Win Myint (UCC, Retired from UN)
  • U Sein Myint (Retired from UN)
  • U Soe Myint (UCC, Retired from UN)
  • U Tin Ohn (RC2, Retired from UN)
  • Daw Tin Moe Wai (UCC, Retired from UN)
  • U Khin Maung Zaw (Retired from Microsoft)
  • U Kyaw Zwa Than (HIS, Canada, US)
  • Daw Khin Khin Kyu (HIS, Canada, US)
  • U Soe Myint (Retired as Pro-Rector, GBNF)
  • U Myint Swe (UCC, DCS, ICSTe-Government)
  • Daw Nge Ma Ma Than (UCC, DCS, ICST, GBNF)
  • U Hla Aung (UCC, DCS, ICST)
  • U Htay Aung (Wang, Singapore,Australia)
  • Daw Tin Tin Hlaing (UCC, Australia)
  • U Sein Myint Maung (UCC, Fiji, NZ and Australia)
  • Daw Khin Aye Mu (UCC, NZ, Australia)
  • Daw Thet Htar Su (UCC, Singapore, Winner Computer)
  • U Aung Zaw Myint (Winner Computer)
  • U Win Myint (UCC, Winner Computer)
  • Daw Thida Kyi (UCC)
  • U Hlaing Myint (Australia)
  • Daw Thanda Htwe (Fiji, Australia)
  • U Sein Tin (UCC, Australia)
  • U Thaung Tin (KMD, Deputy Minister)
  • Daw Tyn Tyn Aye (KMD)
  • (many more)

Courses

  • To help “speed up” the computerization in Burma, Saya Chit mandated the “training & knowledge transfer” component in the UCC project. 
  • The component was awarded to Professor Harry D. Huskey (Past ACM President, Former Professor at University of California Berkeley (UCB) and University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), Author of Computer Handbook, Computer Architect, Fellow of ACM and CHM (Computer History Museum). Professor Huskey persuaded several top Computer Scientists and Educators to transfer their knowledge and expertise to UCC staff and student.

The following is a partial list of the experts provided by Dr. Huskey. 

  • Professor Anthony Ralston (SUNY Buffalo & Past President of ACM) lectured on “Structured Programming” , “Structured FORTRAN) …
  • Professor Peter Wegner (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island) lectured on “Formal Languages and Automata Theory” …
  • Dr. Malcolm P. Atkinson (Cambridge University Mathematics & Computer Lab) taught “Programming Languages”, “Data Structures”
  • Professor Forman Acton (Princeton University) lectured using his book, “Programs that almost work” with emphasis on Error Analysis 
  • Professor Michael Stonebraker (UC Berkeley) lectured on RDBMS (Relational DataBase Management System) in general and INGRES (an early language for RDBMS) in particular.
    Stonebraker and team designed and implemented INGRES at UCB.
    They went on to found several DB companies. 
    Stonebraker, who is currently affiliated with MIT, won the prestigious ACM Turing Award a few years ago. 

Academic courses given
under the Department of Mathematics

  • M.Sc. (CS)
  • DAC (Diploma in Automatic Computing)

Courses for computer users

  • COC (Computer Orientation Course)
  • CPC (Computer Programming Course)
  • Elective for Honors and Post-graduate in other disciplines
  • Intensive training (e.g. for the Population Census Data Processing)
  • Special training (e.g. for those selected as State Scholars)
  • Planning (e.g. for departments intending to purchase computers)

Department of Computer Science (DCS)

  • During Saya Dr. Tin Maung’s tenure, DCS was established
  • Saya Lay was Professor
  • Saya TAG as Associate Professor. 
  • I was Lecturer.

Institute of Computer Science and Technology (ICST)

In 1987, ICST was established with Saya as Rector. 

Departments

There were four Departments :

  • Hardware Technology
    Saya TAG was Associate Professor and Head of Department
  • Software Technology
    I was Associate Professor and Head of Department
  • Information Systems [IS]
    Saya Lay was Professor and Head of Information Systems.
  • Computational Mathematics
    Initially taught by some UCC sayas and visiting lecturers

Courses

  • Bachelor degree courses in CS (Computer Science) and CT (Computer Technology) were given.
  • In the first batch, there were 30 CS and 15 CT students. 
    Two from the first batch are now Rectors
  • Masters and Diploma courses (taught at UCC) were offered at ICST
  • Saya Dr. Tin Maung continued to implement the Vision and Mission set by the UCC Founders, and managed to go further.
  • He did not live long enough to join the 40th Anniversary of UCC and the UCST PZPs.
  • 26 batches (from ICST and UCSY) host the 5th Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe on January 14, 2018.
    Saya Thein, Bo Htay, Saya U Myint Swe, Sayama Judy and I gave short speeches at the Pu Zaw Pwe. 
  • The 6th Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe was held on December 15, 2019.
    Saya Paing and Saya Thein gave speeches.

UCC : Activities and Gatherings

Su Paung Yahan Khan Pwe

  • CO and Saya Paing were temporary monks at the monastery where Sayadaw U Wara (Win Paing, ChE70, younger brother of Saya Paing) was Taik Oke.
  • I visited CO and Saya Paing and later became a devotee and a Donlaba monk in the Thingyan period. 
  • One year, several UCC employees and students became Donlaba monks) at Kaba Aye Sun Lun Kyaung.
  • The tradition of “UCC Su Paung ahan Khan” was carried on at the various monasteries (e.g. Mo Hnyin, Chan Myay)

Fun and Entertainment at UCC

  • The ICL 1902S did not support Time Sharing. 
    Batch Processing took time.
    It agave opportunity to those working in the evening shift to take part in some sports such as Ping Pong (Table Tennis), Volleyball, and Soccer (Football).
  • UCC had a Dobat troupe.
    UCC celebrated Thingyan not only with water throwing but with Ah Hlu for UCC donlaba monks.
  • Saya Zaw led some excursion trips (e.g. Maw Tin Soon).
    It bonded some to become love birds.

UCC Gatherings

  • Over the years, I attended several mini-gatherings and gatherings hosted by UCC sayas and alumni. 
  • They took place in Yangon, Singapore, Australia, and the US. 

Gatherings in Yangon

At Saya Paing’s house

  • Saya Paing and Sayagadaw regular hosts gatherings (usually dinner meeting) at their house in Yangon. 
    Ma Alice (Saw Yu Tint, T69) was my classmate at I.Sc.(A) and RIT. She is a Textile engineer, but she also drew the design for their house. 
    Also attended CPC course. 
  • Ah Thay Lay, Than Than Tint, Tin May Lwin and several others help organize the gatherings. 
  • Ah Thay Lay, Htaw Kyin, Aung Aung (Microsoft alumnus in the US) and several others provide transportation to or from Saya Paing’s house. 

At MICT Park

  • In 2018 and 2019, U Thaung Tin (KMD) and Daw Tyn Tyn Aye hosted a surprise gathering at MICT Park for UCC sayas, sayamas and alumni.

40th Anniversary of UCC

  • There was fun, laughter, songs and dances at UCC’s 40th Anniversary Gathering held a few years back.
  • Saya Dr. Tin Maung was represented by Sayagadaw and daughter.
  • Da Ngwe Tin, Aye Aye Myint and sisters, and Maung Myint were also present.
  • The gathering reminded us of the good old days at UCC. 

ICST PZP

  • On January 14, 2018, I attended the 5th UCSY Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe as “Generation Zero” representative and the “Most Senior” (not by age).
  • Several attendees started their studies and/or careers at UCC.
  • Glad to know Daw Mu Mu Myint is a “Shay Hmee Nauk Hmee” Professor at UCSY.
    She had a “senior” moment.
    When I visited UCSY on January 18, 2018 at the invitation of Bo Htay, Daw Mu Mu Myint told me that she did not have time at the Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe and felt sorry not to have taken a picture with me. She was surprised when I showed the picture of her, another sayama and me. 

Four Myint from UCC

I had a mini-gathering with

  • Ko Sein Myint (Bei Gyi)
  • Ko Soe Myint (KSM)
  • Ko Win Myint (Bo Waing) and Ma Nu
  • Ko Aung Myint (Sonny)

    at Kone Myint Tha.

Saya Paing’s Medical Problem

  • We then went to Saya Paing’s house to pay respect to him.
  • Saya was tcontemplating to have a surgery in Singapore to correct his spine problem.

Gatherings in the US

Hosts

  • Rafi (Dr. Rafiul Ahad)
  • KZ (Ko Khin Zaw)
  • AMO (Ko Aung Myint Oo)
  • Bei Gyi (Ko Sein Myint)

    hosted UCC gatherings (especially to welcome sayas and alumni visiting US). 

UCC-RIT Gathering in New Jersey

U Khin Maung Oo (Ivan, M69) hosts joint UCC & RIT Gatherings at his house in New Jersey, USA. He timed the gatherings to coincide with the visits by Saya Dr. Aung Gyi and Saya Paing to the East Coast of USA.

Gatherings in Singapore

  • In Singapore, Ko Zaw Tun, Ma Pale and Ko TAW (Tin Aung Win) organized buffet gatherings. 
  • Ko Aung Aung and Ma Kyin Mya are regulars at the gatherings. 
  • Some (e.g. Daw Myint Myint Thein [Susan]) have moved back to Myanmar. 
  • Ko Win Latt hosted me while he was working in Singapore.
    He now lives in Bangkok and Yangon.

Gatherings in Australia

  • In Australia, Saya Zaw, Gary, Mu Mu, Ko Htay Aung, Tin Tin, … organized the gatherings. 
  • I met Thandar Htwe, one of the three UCC candles.
  • Ko Sein Tin (who used to bring lunch not only for him but also for his UCC buddies) created a short music video during my visit to Sydney, Australia in 2006. 

Computer History Museum (CHM)

  • At an ACM meeting in the Silicon Valley, I met Gwen Bell (founder of the Boston Computer Museum and a Patron of the Computer History Museum). 
  • Gwen introduced me to Karen, then VP of CHM. I volunteered to be a Docent. 
  • As a Docent, I had to show the visitors and explain [if requested] about the artifacts displayed in Visible Storage.
  • In those days, only ten percent (or so) could be displayed for a period before rolling them out. 
  • Thanks in part to the “Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation”, CHM could now exhibit 20 sections (from pre-computer era to the Internet age).
  • In addition, there are special exhibits (e.g. autonomous vehicles, computer chess, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine,) 
  • Retired engineers (e.g. from IBM and DEC) worked on the “Restoration of Computers” Project.
  • They “restored” three old computers using the original specifications and genuine parts (as much as possible).
    They are on display in working order.
  • Saya Paing e-mailed me some photos of the “historic” ICL computer system and mentioned that Ah Thay Lay is willing to contribute [more] to “ICL Museum” project. 
  • Having “ICL Museum” will be a significant step towards recording and preserving the History of IT (Information Technology.

Concluding Remarks

Computer Science

Computer Science and Technology is continually evolving. 

There are two (or more) early definitions.

  • CS is the study of phenomena surrounding Computing.
    The definition has the same flavor as a definition of Physics. which says, “Physics is the study of natural phenomena.”
    It is general.
  • CS is the study of Algorithms and Data Structures. 
    The definition might sound restrictive, but it still covers a lot of topics and application. 
    There is a book called “Program = Algorithms + Data Structures”. 

Professor Donald Knuth thought that he could finish his 7-volume book “The Art Of Computer Programming” in a couple of years. It was an underestimate of the growth of Computers, Computer Science and Applications. It took over two decades to complete and revise the first three volumes and part of the fourth volume. One reason was that his book contributed to the growth of the Design and Analysis of Algorithms.

Pay Back

I have covered selected topics from the early days of Computing. 

I had paid back to RIT by starting the RIT Alumni International Newsletter in 1999 and motivating alumni to have world-wide Saya Pu Zaw Pwes.

I am now paying back to UCC by sharing the good old days with my mentors, colleagues and former students and honoring the unsung heroes. The introduction of Computer Technology to Burma would not have been smooth and successful without the many unsung heroes who volunteered for gratis or for a per diem of Three Kyats and Fifteen Pyas. They worked for various divisions.

I hope that amateur and professional historians will complement and supplement my writings.

Categories: Alumni

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