The Magic and Beauty of Computer Science

Tim Bell

Tim Bell is an Associate Professor in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His current research interests include computers and music, public understanding of (computer) science, educational applications of podcasting, and compressed file searching. From 1999 to 2004 he was the Head of the Department of Computer Science at Canterbury.

He received the Science Communicator Award from the NZ Association of Scientists in 1999, and an inaugural New Zealand Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award in 2002. He has appeared with his "Computer Science Unplugged" show at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the Dunedin International Science Festival, and the Australian Science Festival.

In the past his main area was data compression, and he has served as an expert witness in major US litigations about data compression. He still oversees the Canterbury Corpus for evaluating lossless compression systems. He is the author or co-author of about 70 journal and conference papers, and several books including ``Text Compression’’ (Prentice Hall, 1990), ``Managing Gigabytes: Compressing and Indexing Documents and Images’’ (Morgan Kaufmann, 1994, 1999), and `` The Burrows-Wheeler Transform: data compression, suffix arrays, and pattern matching’’ (Springer, 2008).

His ``Computer Science Unplugged'' project is well-known internationally, and the books and videos have been translated into several languages. He is a Guest Professor of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. He is also a qualified musician, and performs regularly on instruments that have black-and-white keyboards.