My background

I have at least two lives: One in Music, the Other in Computing. Or is it the other way around? My most important life, though now, is with family: wife; daughters; grandsons; and dog.

… In Music

More about that here

… In Computing


I was a programmer and designer of parts of IBM’s most successful software product that is still very much in use today, processing, amongst many other things, billions of financial transactions around the world. If you have a debit or credit card, then you’ve used CICS indirectly in the last few days.

I have maintained various bits of CICS but was the instigator and a designer of “RDO” or Resource Definition Online (and thus the CEDA transaction)

Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement

I was a member of a team at IBM that was presented with this award jointly with Prof. Tony Hoare’s Programming Research Group at the University of Oxford. This was for our application of Formal Methods (Z in particular) to our development of a major restructuring of core code in CICS and the precise retrospective specification, in Z, of the major functionalities and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of CICS.

Websphere and CORBA (OMG)

Another software product that has been used by large companies is IBM’s CORBA-compliant Websphere Application Server. I was an architect and the editor of one small part of Websphere: the Object Transaction Service (OTS or, in JEE, the JTS). I think I am most pleased with coming up, along with Mark Little at Newcastle University, and others, with the Object Mnanagement Group’s (OMG’s) Object Activity Service which is quite innovative, being a generalisation of the OTS that enables long-running business transactions or units of work (LRUOWs); an implementation of this was finally included as part of the Java infrastructure in JEE four or five years later in 2003 - led by my successor at IBM, Ian Robinson.

Alumnus of the University of Oxford

I have an MSc in Computing Science (a.k.a in 1988 as Computation) from the University of Oxford. Prof. Tony Hoare and Dr. Mark Josephs were my dissertation supervisors. Dr. Ib Sørensen was a good friend and mentor to whom I owe a great deal.

A word about Specifications

No program can really be considered to “work” unless there is some specification against which to measure its behaviour.

The most important thing about a specification is that all the stakeholders - including the clients and developers - share, as nearly is possible, a single idea idea of what it is being developed.

I have worked with different development teams that use anything to make a specification from a file of Keynote or Powerpoint diagrams through UML to the more formal and precise English of a specification in the Z notation.


I play tenor and soprano saxes, have been fortunate enough to have played music with some amazing musicians and have promoted jazz performances for many years in both Southampton and Sherborne.

My saxophone heros are John Coltrane, Bob Berg and Mark Lockheart.


I’ve had a passion for music which I can trace back before hearing Jelly Roll Morton and the Red Hot Peppers’ Doctor Jazz in the jazz wave of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

That was enough for me to form at school, along with clarinettist David Mawson, a band in which I played tenor banjo and which we played Doctor Jazz along with several “trad” and New Orleans tunes made popular by Chris Barber and which we’d heard played by any number of bands you could hear around the country at that time and in Croydon near where we lived.

Prior to going to this school, though, around April in 1962, my brother Andrew took me along to the Odeon? in Watford to hear Count Basie and the amazing vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. We went backstage to speak to Count Basie and, wihout little interruption to his card game he asked us about what we were doing and commented that the band Andrew was playing in - an 18-piece youth rehearsal band at London’s Windmill Theatre - was bigger than his own. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t really understood what I had just experienced, but no doubt it began the cementing of my love of the jazz art form.

Somebody at school, a few years later, chose a Charlie Parker track as the overture music to Becket’s Waiting for Godot. This was a seminal moment: the first time I’d heard Parker’s genius and it completely bowled me over; his sound, his playing, the musical ideas - excited me so much. For some reason I did not immediately buy a Charlie Parker record but a 45RPM EP of Phil Woods which included Like Someone in Love which I just had to keep playing over and over whilst wondering how all that improvising magic worked.

… more ramblings to follow …..