Michael Duff

Michael Duff

The BMVA is very pleased to announce that its first Distinguished Fellow is Professor Michael Duff, FIEE, FIAPR, FRSA, from the Physics Department of University College London.

Professor Duff started his career as a physicist in the 1950s and, like most physicists of the time, he was spending his time looking at images of the bubble chamber, chasing exotic particles. Unlike most physicists, however, when it became obvious that the computers of the time were not powerful enough for anybody to do any serious image processing with them, he set off to build his own computer! Thus a brilliant career in computer architectures started. The first outcome of his work was UCPR1 in 1967, which was based on ideas evolving from studies of mammalian vision and in particular on models of the retinal architecture.

Over the following two decades, heading the UCL Image Processing Group, he developed these ideas with the series of eight increasingly complex multiprocessor systems, generally categorised as Cellular Logic Image Processors (CLIP0 to CLIP7), ranging from arrays of 25 to 9216 processors. One of these, CLIP4, was put into commercial production. The CLIP programme was given the British Computer Society Technical Award for 1985. In recent years, this project has developed into various studies of computer architectures based on nanoelectronics, funded by DARPA and the European Community.

During all this period, his work on computer architectures was accompanied by studies in parallel algorithm design and applications to real problems in applied image processing.

However, the contributions of Professor Duff do not stop here. In 1967 he founded a discussion group on Pattern Recognition, which in 1976 developed into the British Pattern Recognition Association. It was this Association which in the mid-1980s joined forces with the then Alvey Vision Club to form the BMVA as you know it today. Throughout all these years, Professor Duff has been working in raising the profile of the UK community in the international scene by being an active member of IAPR (to which BMVA is affiliated). He has served as the secretary of IAPR for four years and as its president from 1990 to 1992. He has been chairing or is member of various IAPR committees and for a few years from 1998 he was the IAPR newsletter editor.

BMVA this year proudly honours him with the Distinguished Fellow title.