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School of Computer Science

Gibbons Memorial Lecture Series

In 2008 the School of Computer Science initiated an annual series of lectures intended to describe ongoing research in Computer Science to a wider public. The lectures are named the "Gibbons Lectures" in memory of Associate Professor Peter Gibbons.

The Gibbons Lecture Series is in partnership with:

  • Dr Beryl Plimmer
  • IT Professionals NZ, and
  • Auckland ICT Graduate School
The Gibbons Lecture Series is proudly sponsored by ITPNZ
The Gibbons Lecture Series is proudly sponsored by ICT Graduate School
Associate Professor Peter Gibbons (1949-2008)

The Gibbons Lectures

The Gibbons Lectures is an annual series of talks run by the School of Computer Science in association with IT Professionals New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Computer Society) and Auckland ICT Graduate School. The goal of each lecture is to describe detailed developments in a particular research area to a general but technical audience - from Computer Science students at all levels, to IT practitioners in other departments and outside the University.  

The lecture series is managed by a sub-committee of the School of Computer Science, chaired by the Head of School or nominee. As well as organising the speakers and the event itself, the committee ensures that the lectures in the series are archived and made available on this website.


The Gibbons Lectures fund

The prestige of these lectures and their permanence depends on establishing a permanent source of funding. To that end, the School of Computer Science has established a fund that will be built up to provide support. We welcome contributions to the fund. If you would like to contribute, you can make a gift online at and choose Peter Gibbons Lectures Fund.


Next lectures

2019 Gibbons Lectures


Quantum Computing

What is quantum computing, what is the promise and what are the challenges?

Quantum computers are extremely complex machines that challenge almost everything we know about computing. Given their complexity, they are difficult to understand which, in turn, makes it difficult for us to understand their limits.

It is said they can crack all modern security algorithms and do immediate pattern recognition. If this is the case, what are the implications for not only computing but also wider society?

Quantum computing provides us with the opportunity to build new algorithms, and to rethink a lot of what has gone before.

Come along and hear the experts delve into this fascinating topic.


Join us for refreshments before each lecture from 6pm at 260.088, Level 0 Foyer, Owen G Glenn Building

Lectures start at 6.30pm in Room 092, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, City Campus.


Dr Michael Dinneen

8 May | Quantum computing: What it is, and how we do it

Dr Michael Dinneen
School of Computer Science
University of Auckland

Chair | Deputy Dean Professor Douglas Elliffe

Watch the lecture.


Professor Steven Galbraith

15 May | Cryptography after quantum computers

Professor Steven Galbraith
Department of Mathematics
University of Auckland

Chair | Dr Rizwan Asghar

Watch the lecture.


Associate Professor Patrice Delmas

22 May | Searching for the quantum frontier

Professor Michael Bremner
Centre for Quantum Software and Information
University of Technology Sydney
and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

Chair | Associate Professor Giovanni Russello

Watch the lecture.


Professor Howard Carmichael

29 May | Panel discussion: The future of quantum computing

Professor Howard Carmichael
Department of Physics
University of Auckland


Professor Cristian Calude

AND Professor Cristian Calude
School of Computer Science
University of Auckland




Moderator | Professor Gill Dobbie, School of Computer Science, University of Auckland

This discussion will be streamed live.

You can join the conversation from anywhere in the world and submit your questions using our page at
See what other questions have been posted, and upvote the best ones during and after the presentation.


Archived lectures

The recordings of lectures can be found at:

2018: Robots everywhere - Robotics in industry and at home

2017: Steps towards the singularity - Artificial intelligence and its impact

2016: Medical applications of information technology

  • May 5: Computational physiology – Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter.
  • May 12: Finding your place in the genome: assembly, annotation, association – Professor Thomas Lumley
  • May 19: A case study of IT in medical imaging: the evolution of computed tomograph – Professor Anthony Butler
  • May 26: Using IT to improve health delivery for management of chronic illness – Professor Jim Warren

2015: Man meets machine: human-computer interaction

2014: Keeping secrets: privacy and security in the information age

2013: Picture this! Computer graphics in New Zealand

2012: The Turing legacy

2011: Applying computer power

2010: Facing the data mountain

2009: Computing: from theory to practice


Associate Professor Peter Gibbons

Peter’s academic career began at Massey University where he completed a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics with First-class Honours in 1970. This was followed in 1972 by a Master of Science in Computer Science with Distinction – the first degree in Computer Science awarded in New Zealand. He completed his PhD in Toronto then returned to New Zealand to lecture at Massey, moving to the University of Auckland in 1980 to the newly established Department of Computer Science. He was with the department through to his retirement in 2004, including a three-year period as Head of Department from 1997.

After retirement he continued his association under an honorary appointment. Peter’s research area was on the boundary between Mathematics and Computer Science in the field of combinatorics. Peter’s particular interests included block designs (especially Steiner systems), Latin squares, graph domination questions, and the development and implementation of computer algorithms for combinatorial search and enumeration. Peter taught his research specialisation both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He also taught introductory programming to Stage I students and at a more advanced level. He became involved with new areas, such as multimedia and bioInformatics, where his knowledge and expertise could be applied.