Serial entrepreneur and VC, Dr Hermann Hauser has been named as patron of the new Centre for Computing History in Cambridge UK.A leading figure in the worlds of technology, science and business, Dr Hauser has agreed to take on the important role 30 years after the company he co-founded - Acorn Computers - unveiled the BBC Micro, the machine which, along with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, epitomised the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.
The BBC Micro ultimately changed the history of computing in the UK by bringing home computing within reach of the general population. In 1984 he was voted the UK's 'Computer Personality of the Year'.
In the late 1980s Acorn went on to develop the ARM processor forerunner of the processors still manufactured by ARM Holdings and found in 95% of today’s mobile phones.
Since then Dr Hauser has been responsible for setting-up numerous technology companies and in 1997 co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd, a venture capital company. During his career he developed strong links with Cambridge, and has played a big part in the city’s enterprise culture.
The Centre for Computing History was established in 2006 to tell the story of the Information Age. The museum is on course to open in Cambridge next spring after moving from Haverhill.
Named this summer as Silicon Valley’s Visionary of the Year, Dr Hauser has also been Business Weekly’s major backer since 1990.
Jason Fitzpatrick, director of the Centre for Computing History says: “I am delighted to announce Hermann Hauser as our patron and view his involvement as an endorsement of our aims. Widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of Silicon Fen and the Cambridge Phenomenon, Hermann’s contribution within the computing sphere and his ensuing career are considered exceptional.
“As a figurehead for our organization, his invaluable participation cements our progress to date, enriches our vision beyond measure and gives us a new, dazzling focal point.”
Dr Hauser said: “I am fully committed to this initiative to found a computer museum in Cambridge. This area is at the heart of the UK's, if not Europe's, leading technology cluster. As such the city has played – and continues to play - a vital role in the history of computing.
“In addition to celebrating Britain’s outstanding track record in computing innovation, the centre will showcase computing technology and enterprise in the Cambridge region. It will explore the radical and far-reaching impact of technological discovery and invention to spring from Cambridge University and local companies.
“We all recognise that computers have transformed the world we live in. To enable coming generations to understand how it has all happened there has never been a more appropriate moment for a museum of this nature. I hope it will create an experience where young people can truly engage with technology and act as a catalyst for emerging talent.”
Jason Fitzpatrick continues: “The story of the Information Age and of all the engineers, innovators, inventors and creative visionaries who made it happen is inspirational. The impact of Steve Jobs’ death demonstrates how fascinated people are in the history of personal computing. There is widespread public recognition that, in terms of technology, pioneers like Jobs literally invented the 21st century.
“Moving to Cambridge, the city where so much of this story has unfolded, will allow all our dreams and ambitions for the centre to be realised, to create a world class space with the size and scope for the serious celebration of Computing History in this country. Hermann’s involvement as patron will make all the difference to increasing the pace of what’s possible.”
The campaign to relocate the museum from its temporary home in Suffolk to Cambridge has already attracted substantial sponsorship from a number of individuals and several high profile Cambridge tech businesses, including super-chip designer ARM Holdings, Microsoft Research and Red Gate Software.
The centre’s move to Cambridge will facilitate the next stage of the project. This will involve the development of both a highly ambitious learning programme for schools and a multi-dimensional ‘computing experience’ exhibition, prior to the eventual creation of a permanent, purpose built home in the city.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: (left to right) Director - Jason Fitzpatrick, Trustee – Dr Lisa McGerty, Patron - Dr Hermann Hauser, Trustee - Peter Robson.