Peter Billam's Computing Experience

England, 1948 - 1974

Born in Hammersmith, London, 18 August 1948.

Attended Kingston Grammar School, acquiring 9 O-levels, 3 A-levels, and 2 S-levels.

Moved to South Kensington in 1966, to study Physics at Imperial College, London University. Graduated in 1969 with a 1st class Honours BSc and ARCS, specialising in Theoretical Physics.

Took up a PhD project in computational magnetohydrodynamics at Imperial College, involving extensive programming in FORTRAN and Compass (CDC assembler) on a CDC 6600.

Quit the PhD project after one year, to play the electric guitar professionally. Between 1970 and 1973, 2 LP's on RCA Records, tours of England and Holland, numerous recording sessions.

Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, 1974 - 1980

In 1974, left the London music scene and went to Switzerland to work as an electronic engineer for Soundcraft (later Filtek A.G.) in Biel.

Worked as hardware design engineer in audio equipment for the German radio and TV studio market; two papers published in refereed journals (the JAES and the IEE SCC) on noise and distortion in active filters. Wrote a suite of programs for noise-optimised active filter design. Worked on micro-processor-controlled audio switching matrices, digital encoding of audio, and data-compression algorithms in assembler and Basic.

In 1979, quit electronic engineering to study guitar full time, however, stricken with tendinitis because of the increased practice load, was forced to give up the guitar.

La Chaux-De-Fonds, Switzerland, 1980 - 1981

Worked as Musical Director of the Théâtre Populaire Romand, composing all the music for their productions, rehearsing and training the actors, and even acting.

Geneva, Switzerland, 1981 - 1983

Worked 1982 - 1983 as computer programmer for the Brown-Boveri Corporation, designing and programming real-time software as part of a large project in PASCAL, MICRO-POWER PASCAL, 8080 assembler and MODULA, under RT-11, RSX-11m+, VMS.

Worked Feb - Aug 1983 for Compusoft S.A., a small services and consultancy firm, designing and programming Diskette-format translation utilities in BDS-C on CP/M, and in UCSD PASCAL on Apple II.

Hobart, 1983 - 1985

Arrived in Sydney in August 1983, Tasmania in October, Hobart in December. Lectured in composition and electronic music at the Conservatorium of Hobart.

Nubeena, 1985 - 1988

Part-time and later full-time teaching at Tasman District High School. Wrote a BBC-microcomputer-based Tin Whistle tutor.

Hobart, 1988 - 1993

Moved to Hobart to work as Computer Systems Programmer for the State Library. Assumed responsibility for the operations of four Unix machines running Informix databases, various PCs on a 3-com LAN, one PRIMOS site, hardware sizing. Wrote file-transfer utilities, ISO thesaurus-format editing scripts, fallback data-capture routines, a full-screen editor and documentation for the above. Worked in sh, C, sed, FORTRAN, etc. Performed three Unix system rebuilds.

In 1990, left the State Library to work as a Computer Systems Administrator for the Tasmanian Treasury and the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Answerable to two bosses, one in each department.

Assumed reponsibility for OfficePower administration and Ingres Database administration, on (initially) two Unix machines (SysVr3 and SysVr4), 30 Macs, 20 PCs, and a Webster Multigate; growing to (finally) seven Unix machines (one Sun IPX, four 486s running 386BSD), 50 Macs, 40 PCs, one Cisco AGS router, two IGS routers, and six Cabletron hubs, with IP Internet connectivity.

Wrote many system administration utilities and much general system programming, using mostly sh, C, troff, C++, perl.

Various papers presented to Tasmanian Unix Summer Seminar, Ingres User Group, SAGE'93 inaugural meeting.

Melbourne, 1993 - 1994

Moved to Melbourne to work as Senior Consultant with the Fulcrum Consulting Group. Worked in a commercial/contracting environment on Suns, PC integration, and audits, using perl, sh, wafe, wish, tcl/tk and the Athena widgets.

Hobart, 1994 -

Founded P J B Computing; development of muscript music-typesetting software. Worked installing FreeBSD, giving Perl courses, creating a general-purpose perl GUI library. Used mostly perl, C, C++, troff, Postscript, wish, wafe, tcl/tk.

From 1995, worked for the CSIRO Division of Marine Research as System Administrator. Treasurer of Tasmanian Chapter of AUUG. Various papers presented on security and on electronic commerce.

Developed as an electronic commerce. Consulting work specialising in Electronic Commerce, in Perl, HTML and Postscript development, and in on-line publishing.

Wrote, and continues to maintain, muscript, the free music typesetting software, also the Perl CPAN modules Term::Clui, Math::Evol, Crypt::Tea_JS, CGI::Htauth, Math::WalshTransform, Math::RungeKutta, MIDI::ALSA and and the PostScript modules, and

From 2004, worked as System Administrator with the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry, Water and Environment, especially with Apache, Samba, Squid, Analog, ReportMagic, Perl, Fedora and Debian.

From 2008, active as a programmer in the Free Software movement. Published MIDI-related modules in Perl, Python and Lua, various applications including midisox and midiedit, an esperanto dictionary in JavaScript and Perl. Current interests: algorithmic composition, and contributing to the Lua module infrastructure, and to linux for the blind.

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