QUALIFICATION TYPE: PhD
LOCATION: Hendon, London
FUNDING FOR: UK Students, EU Students
FUNDING AMOUNT: £45.000
Lead Supervisor: Dr. Giuseppe Primiero
Co-Supervisor(s): Members of the Leo Society Board
Programme: PhD in Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science at Middlesex University, together with the LEO Computers Society are looking for a PhD Candidate for a research project in the area of History and Philosophy of Computing. This will incorporate research into the objectives, design, construction and market penetration of the LEO I, II and III computers, developed by the catering firm J. Lyons and Co., and its subsidiary LEO Computers Limited – subsequently incorporated in different companies (English Electric LEO, English Electric Leo Marconi, ICL, Standard Telephones and Cables and finally Fujitsu). LEO I is widely acknowledged to be the first business computer produced and installed anywhere in the world. The project will investigate historical circumstances, technical developments in terms of systems and application software, hardware design and implementation, advances in business and administrative practice, and the social, political and business aspects that led to the successful production and marketing but later decline of LEO Computers and its software products. Specifically, the project will aim at producing the first extensive academic dissertation on the LEO Computers, based on the critical study and analysis of all the oral, bibliographic and archival material available. These include:
The intended result shall offer a comprehensive overview of the conceptual and technical principles at the basis of the LEO production, contextualized in their historical, social and political environment, including reference to formal specifications, physical limitations of the machines and influences on the design from contemporary computer designs in the UK and abroad. In addition, the results will describe the business innovations and advances in administrative practice/business process re-engineering that were achieved by the Lyons team and the later work on the LEO computers series, as well as the level of ambition in the design of the applications. The research will produce a dissertation that contributes to the understanding of the history of computing and its contribution to a wide range of business and administrative applications.
Requirements for the Candidate
Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree in the area of Computer Studies (e.g. Computer Science or Information Systems), in which case proven interest in the history and philosophy of the discipline should be available. Alternatively, a Master's degree in History and/or Philosophy of Science and Technology, if the latter can be proven to be strongly oriented towards Computing. The selected candidate will be knowledgeable in aspects of theory of computation, hardware and software design principles and basic moments in the history of computing. Other required qualifications for candidates include proven research talent, an excellent command of written and spoken English, and good academic writing and presentation skills. Any prior research experience that has resulted in publications in conferences and/or journals like HaPoC, IACAP, CiE, IFIP, Journal of the AIS, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, MISQ, JIT, JAIS, ISR, Philosophy & Technology, Journal of Information Technology, History and Philosophy of Logic and similar ones, will be considered a plus.
Functions of the PhD position
The scope of the research will be defined at early stages by the candidate in collaboration with the supervisory board. A list of activities with relevant topics include:
Moreover, the candidate will be required
Funding for the project
This project is funded by the Association for Information Technology Trust and Middlesex University London.
An Advisory project board will have overall authority for plans and activities relating to the project. The board will consist of academics from Middlesex University, possibly an external academic supervisor and members of the LEO Computers Society. Individual activities relating to the project will report on a regular basis, frequency to be decided, to the Board. The Board will meet regularly, not less than one meeting per year.
How to Apply
Applicants must submit the following documents to apply:
General enquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org