Raymond Austin JARVIS (1941 - 2013)
Chair of Electrical Engineering (1985 - 2011)
Emeritus Professor Ray Jarvis died on 3 October 2013 at the age of 72 from mesothelioma.
Professor Jarvis was born in Burma in 1941 and travelled to Perth with his family at the age of six. He worked in Wittenoom in Western Australia as a vacation student in 1960. He completed a BE (Electrical) at the University of Western Australia in 1962 and a PhD in the robotics area at the same University in 1968. He then spent two years at Purdue University in the US to further his work in the robotics area before returning to Australia to take up a senior lectureship at the Australian National University, where he established the Computer Science Department.
Professor Jarvis took up a Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University in 1985, mainly to further develop the growing interest in computer systems. He established the Intelligent Robotics Research Centre and introduced eight new electives in 1987. He was instrumental in having the Department renamed ‘Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering’, also about that time.
He was Head of Department during 1987 and 1988 but preferred to spend more time on his research and was happy to hand this role over to Bill Brown in 1989.
He served on the Australian Research Council’s Research Grant Committee (Engineering, Earth and Applied Sciences Large Grant Committee) between 1994 and 1997, as Panel Chair for three of these four years and also as Deputy Chairman of the Research Grants Committee in the last year. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1992 and became a Life Fellow in 2011.
His research interests covered intelligent robotics, computer vision, computational geometry, automata theory and advanced computer architectures, among others. He published over 300 research papers and was the primary supervisor for more than 20 PhD candidates.
He was Director, Australian Research Committee’s Centre for Intelligent and Perceptive Machines in Complex Environments for its lifetime (2003 to 2007).
He retired from the University in 2009.
He married Irene in 1964. They have four children, Jacqueline, Michael, Julia and Gillian and seven grandchildren.
Martin Flanagan of The Age interviewed Professor Jarvis recently and wrote an article that appeared in The Age on 14 September 2013 as a ‘Saturday Reflection’.
The funeral was held at St John Vianney’s Catholic Church last Wednesday.
Published in Monash Memo, 16 October 2013.