Department of Computer Science

Gibbons Memorial Lecture Series

In 2008 the Department 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 proudly sponsored by

The Gibbons Lecture Series is proudly sponsored by ITPNZ
Peter Gibbons (1949-2008)



The Gibbons Lecture Series is proudly sponsored by ICT Graduate School

The Gibbons Lectures

The Gibbons Lectures is an annual series of talks given in the Department of Computer Science in association with IT Professionals NZ (formerly the New Zealand Computer Society). 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 subcommittee of the Computer Science Department, chaired by the head of department or nominee. As well as organizing the speakers and the event itself the committee will ensure that the lectures in the series are archived and made available on this website.


Gibbons Lecture Fund

The prestige of these lectures and their permanence depends on establishing a permanent source of funding. To that end the department 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

2017 Gibbons Lectures:

Steps Towards the Singularity
Artificial Intelligence & Its Impact

Machines that mimic cognitive functions which humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem solving, are said to be exhibiting Artificial Intelligence or AI. This is a topic that has been much in the news in recent times. We have now grown accustomed to computers reading text, to our consulting virtual personal assistants such as Siri and GPS route finders, to controlling by voice, to robotic assembly lines. But now we are assailed with news of coming developments such as driverless cars, facial recognition, and robot physicians. This plethora of very smart technology leads some to believe that we are rapidly approaching The Singularity where the invention of artificial super-intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization! 

Be that as it may, there is a continuous stream of research into advancing AI and corresponding concern about its impact. In this series of lectures we will explore what is happening locally. Setting the scene, our lead speaker for 2017, Professor Nikola Kasabov, from Auckland University of Technology, will discuss the progress of AI from its deepest roots to current research frontiers, applying AI to the Big Data of medicine. Of personal interest to many of us, Professor Hans Guesgen, from Massey University, will be talking about the use of AI to improve the lot of elderly citizens. Associate Professor Marcus Frean, from Victoria University of Wellington, will take a more-critical look at the current hot topic of deep learning. Ending the lecture series, with a discussion of the questionable impacts of AI, will be Associate Professor Ian Watson from the University of Auckland.


4 May. AI: From Aristotle to Deep Learning Machines 

    Professor Nikola Kasabov
    Director of the Knowledge Engineering and Discovery Research Institute
    Auckland University of Technology 

11 May. Home Smart Home

    Professor Hans Guesgen
    Chair in Computer Science School of Engineering & Advanced Technology
    Massey University 

18 May. Deep learning - what's missing?

    Associate Professor Marcus Frean
    School of Engineering & Computer Science
    Victoria University of Wellington

25 May. The Ethics of AI

    Associate Professor Ian Watson
    Department of Computer Science
    The University of Auckland 

Drinks and nibbles will be provided prior to each lecture from 6pm at Level 1 of the Owen G Glenn Building. Lectures will commence at 6.30pm, and take place in OGGB3 on Level 0 of the Owen G Glenn Building. 


Archived Lectures

The recordig of lectures can be found at:

2016: Medical Applications of Information Technology

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


Peter Gibbons

Peter's academic career began at Massey University where he completed a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics with 1st class Honours in 1970. This was followed in 1972 by an MSc 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 Auckland in 1980 to the newly established Department of Computer Science. He was with our department through to his retirement in 2004, including a 3-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 specialization both at graduate and undergraduate level. He also taught introductory programming to first-year students and at a more advanced level. He got involved with new areas, such as Multimedia and BioInformatics, where his knowledge and expertise could be applied. Peter inspired many others into research, often drawn from the thousands of students whom he taught. These colleagues can be found throughout New Zealand and the world.