ACS officials have often been quoted as saying that Australian IT industry occupies a far more conspicuous position on the global IT scene than our comparatively small size and isolated location would seem to warrant.
This claim is demonstrated by the large number of Australians, many of whom are ACS Members, who hold leadership positions within regional and international bodies like IFIP, SEARCC, UNESCO and so on.
The latest elections of the prestigious US-based Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers Computer Society (IEEE-CS) have again reinforced the high regard for Australian professionals, with Associate Professor Karl Reed elected to the Chair of the Technical Council on Software Engineering (TCSE).
His assumption of the top job within the software engineering arm of the IEEE-CS follows his re-election to the its Board of Governors for a second three year term.
It's the first time an Australian has held such senior positions within the internationally-renowned IEEE-CS, which boasts nearly 100,000 members, and recognises Professor Reed's exemplary contribution to the field of Software Engineering both within Australia and overseas.
"It's an incredible honour to be elected to this extremely prominent and responsible position," said Reed, who works at La Trobe University and has served as Director of the Australian Computer Society's Computer Systems and Software Engineering Technical Board since 1988.
"I've had the privilege of having a significant impact on raising the profile of the software engineering community both nationally and internationally. This appointment will provide new opportunities to progress this," he said.
Professor Reed has played an increasingly visible role within the worldwide software engineering community since he arranged for the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) to be held in Melbourne in 1992.
"As a result of that event and the recognition it gained for the Australian software engineering community, key Australians were given an accelerated track into some of the top areas of major international bodies," he said.
"Senior figures like Ross Jefferys, Chris Marlin and Tony Montgomery were given significant roles within ICSE, the most important being when Ross served as ICSE Program Co-chair.
"Australians are highly regarded internationally, and there is no doubt that the work of people like John Bennett, Ashley Goldsworthy, Prins Ralston, John Goddard and Alan Underwood within IFIP and SEARCC are making it easier for others wanting to work overseas."
Despite acknowledging Australia's role as a pioneer in Software Engineering education, Reed expressed concern about the failure of Australian Governments to fund Software Engineering research or adopt world's best practice in this regard.
"Australia needs at least two more SE-related CRCs, and a major expansion of professional' level research. Best practice overseas includes major centres such as the CMU-Software Engineering Institute, and the German Fruanhofer Institutes. None of these are expected to be self-funding, and some even have limits on their non-government funding to ensure that they do not compete unfairly with private sector groups," he pointed out.
"We need a number of research centres with budgets of around $5-6 million per annum to be funded by Government, similar to the primary industry groups," he said.
ACS President John Ridge congratulated Professor Reed on his election, saying his extensive knowledge and experience would find a ready outlet within the TCSE.
"Karl has made an enormous contribution to the ACS over many years and we are delighted to see him given this exciting opportunity. He is a highly valued member of our National Council and has held numerous positions ranging from Victorian Branch Chair in 1990 to his current role as Technical Board Director," he said.
Professor Reed also Chaired the Society's Software Industry Committee from 1974 to 1985, was responsible for founding the ACS Software Industry Association and the ACS Software Engineering Consultative Committee, and has been actively involved in the Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC).
He has been awarded both a Fellowship and Honorary Life Membership of the ACS in recognition of his many achievements, as well as being honoured with the ACS Victorian Branch's Murton Service Award for 2000, which he said was particularly significant.
"The Murton Award was pretty special, since Peter and Val Murton mentored me in the early days of my ACS work, helping me deal with problems as well as encouraging me personally," he said.
Recently appointed an Honorary Visiting Professor at Middlesex University in the UK, Professor Reed said some nice things were happening to him in his old age.
"Being awarded a Fellowship of ACS in 1983 and then receiving an Honorary Life Membership in 1990 were incredible honours. The ACS has been very good to me, providing me with a platform, and then trusting and encouraging me, and even funding certain activities. I owe it heaps!"