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Remembering Professor John Larmouth

Aug 22, 2012

It is with great sadness that the University announces the passing of Professor John Larmouth – a former colleague from the Information Technology Institute.

After graduating and conducting research at the University of Cambridge, which included the development of a highly innovative task scheduler for the ICL 1900 series of mainframe computers, John joined the University in 1976 as Director of the Computing Laboratory.

In 1982, he became the founding Director of the University's Computer Systems Research & Development division – a successful industry-focused research and development centre – before being asked to head up the highly innovative Information Technology Institute (ITI).

Bringing together business, communications and computing subjects, as well as academia and industry, John led the ITI through its first, highly successful, ten years.

Throughout his time at Salford, John was a highly esteemed contributor to various areas of computing, communications and applied IT, especially to international standards for communications.

During the 1980s, he was a key player in establishing networking connections between the UK universities and was the driver of the Yellow Book DTI standard, a precursor to today's indispensable DNS (which converts domain names to IP addresses).

He was the editor and rapporteur for the International Standard ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation), which underpins many areas of communications today, including mobile phones, the power industry, airlines, and all secure web site connections.  He also wrote the definitive book on ASN.1, which is still selling well.

John was a major contributor to the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, the ISO standard that is still used as the reference model for teaching and understanding data communications protocols and Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which provided the foundation for the HTML, XHTML and XML languages of the World-Wide Web.

In 2001, Professor Larmouth retired from University life, but continued to be highly productive through his standardisation and consultancy work, building on his earlier experience in communication protocols.

More recently, he advised government departments and other organisations on the use of biometrics in IT security.  His most recent work has been in advising the National Health Service (NHS) on the use of standards within its extensive IT development project Connecting for Health.

Throughout his career, John has been held in high esteem, for his intellect, his vision in foreseeing the significance of many of the technologies we enjoy today, his deep sense of fair play and probity, his willingness to quickly forgive and forget, and his dogged persistence in pursuing the things he felt were right.

John is survived by his wife, Carol, daughter Sarah-Jayne and son James.