The Legacy of LEO in Business Applications - a tribute to David Caminer

Speakers: See below
Date: 11th September 2008
Time: 14.30 Room is open from 14.00 - meet up with society members
Location: Fellows Library of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD

Photo copyright of the LSE, UK

About the seminar


David Caminer was a driving force in the early business application of computers, starting with the first LEO applications through to major large mainframe applications in the late 70s.
An outstanding group of speakers have come together for this seminar on David´s career and his main systems. The system design legacy from these early systems is relevant today, and that will be discussed.

The outline programme is:

  14:30 Introduction (Peter Hermon, LEO, Dunlop, British Airways)  
  14:35 David's Career    
      Lyons, LEO and EE (Frank Land, LEO, LSE)
ICL (Mike Forrest, ICL)
Outside Interests (Hilary Caminer)
  15:05 Lyons Systems (Georgina Ferry, author of 'A Computer Called LEO')  
  15:35 Other DTC Projects  
      Post Office (Ninian Eadie, LEO, ICL)
EU (Gilbert Foix, ICL France - by proxy)
  15:55 Systems Design Legacy  
      Debate on David's systems design principles and their relevance to the world of business applications today, introduced by John Aris (LEO, Imperial Group, NCC) and a current CIO: David Harvey - until recently CIO of Sibelius Software.  
  16:30 Close  

About David Caminer

David Caminer died in June 2008. See the news item dated 20th June on this website for links to obituaries in several leading newspapers. Also, the latest issue of the CCS Resurrection Bulletin (Issue 43 - Summer 2008) contains an obituary by Frank Land.

The CCS Bulletin has two articles by David Caminer on `Leo and the Computer Revolution', which were based on his 2001 Pinkerton Lecture. These are relevant to this seminar, and can be read in Resurrection Bulletin issues 28 and 29 from this website.

More from the Leo Foundation about the event and the speakers

The Computer Conservation Society (CCS) is devoting this meeting to a tribute to David Caminer, a leading figure in the history of British and world computing.

Caminer led the software side of a highly talented team that developed the world’s first business computer for J. Lyons & Co, alongside John Pinkerton and his engineers who built the hardware. Lyons was the first to see the business potential of the machines that came out of the military applications of World War II and universities. The computer that Lyons built, LEO, standing for Lyons Electronic Office, ran the world’s first business application, a bakeries’ valuation job, in November 1951, the first of a series of innovations that cumulatively over a long career lasting to 1980 built Caminer’s reputation as the inventor of what is now called systems engineering.

Several of Caminer’s closest colleagues, who had stellar careers in computing in their own right, will speak at the CCS meeting under the chairmanship of Peter Hermon, who went from LEO to Dunlop and British Airways.

Frank Land will talk about the early years with Lyons, LEO and English Electric Computers and Mike Forrest will pick up the story with ICL. Ninian Eadie and Gilbert Foix will address Caminer’s contribution to major projects at the UK Post Office and the European Union in Luxembourg. And John Aris will lead a debate on Caminer’s systems design principles and their relevance to business applications today.

Georgina Ferry, author of a popular book on LEO, will also speak, as will Caminer’s daughter, Hilary, who will comment on his wider interests outside of computing.


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