Alumni Impumelelo Edition 2

Alumnus, Research Professor and one of UJ’s longest serving employees

Prof Sebastiaan Hendricus (Basie) von Solms is a Research Professor in the University of Johannesburg’s Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering, and the longest serving UJ employee, with nearly five decades (48 years) of IT research and innovation under his belt. He is also the Director of UJ’s Centre for Cyber Security, and an Associate Director of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre of the University of Oxford in the UK. A specialist in research and consultancy in the field of information and cyber security, Prof von Solms has written and presented more than 150 papers, most of which have been presented at international research conferences and/or published in international subject journals. He has supervised more than 150 postgraduate students, and is well known in the media as one of South Africa’s most authoritative cyber security experts.

Prof von Solms joined UJ as a lecturer in 1970, in the newly established Department of Computer Science. He completed his PhD in Computer Science at UJ in 1972 – one of the first in South Africa – and was promoted to senior lecturer. In 1978, he became Chairperson of the Department of Computer Science, a position he occupied until 2006. “I started out long before anybody had even heard of the Internet or cyberspace. Back in those days, there were basically only big mainframe computers, and students had to prepare their

converted by a punch card machine to a set of punch cards for submission to the mainframe. There were no such things as desktop computers”, recalls Prof von Solms. In the early 1980s, the University created its first hands-on laboratory for Computer Science students, consisting of Burroughs B20 mini-computers – one of the first such labs in South Africa. “A few years later, the IBM PC was launched, and labs were refitted with these new ‘wonder machines’.

programs on coding forms. The programs had to then be Still, the idea of portable computers didn’t yet exist”, remembers Prof von Solms. Prof Basie von Solms



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