Gaston H. Gonnet is a Uruguayan Canadian computer scientist and entrepreneur. He is best known for his contributions to the Maple computer algebra system[1] and the creation of a digital version of the Oxford English Dictionary.[2]

Education and professional life

Gonnet received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Waterloo in 1977. His thesis was entitled Interpolation and Interpolation-Hash Searching. His advisor was J. Alan George.[3]

In 1980 Gonnet co-founded the Symbolic Computation Group at the University of Waterloo.[1] The work of SCG on a general-purpose computer algebra system later formed the core of the Maple system. In 1988, Gonnet co-founded (with Keith Geddes) the private company Waterloo Maple Inc., to sell Maple commercially.[1] In the mid 1990s the company ran into trouble and a disagreement between his colleagues caused him to withdraw from chairman of the Board and managerial involvement. On June 9, 2011, Gonnet and Keith O. Geddes received the ACM Richard D Jenks Memorial Prize for Excellence in Software Engineering Applied to Computer Algebra for the Maple Project.

In 1984 Gonnet co-founded the New Oxford English Dictionary project at UW, which sought to create a searchable electronic version of the Oxford English Dictionary. The project was selected by the Oxford University Press as a partner for the computerisation leading to the publication of the second edition of the OED. The UW project's main contributions were in the parsing of the source text to enhance the tagging and on building a full text searching system based on PAT trees (a version of suffix array). This project later culminated in another successful commercial venture, the Open Text Corporation. Gonnet was founder and chairman of the Board of OTC until 1994.

Gonnet is a computer science professor at ETH Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland.[4] In 1991, he began developing the Darwin programming language for biosciences,[5] which would become the basis for OMA,[6] a package for gene orthology prediction. He is chief scientist of two Canadian startups: CeeqIT and Porfiau.

On March 14, 2013 Gonnet was awarded a Dr. Honoris Causa by the Universidad de la República, engineering faculty from Uruguay.


External links