One of Scotland's first ever computer science graduates visits Heriot-Watt



Heriot-Watt's first ever computer science graduate, and the second in the country, recently returned to his former university to see how things had changed.

Peter Allan graduated from Heriot-Watt University in 1970 with a BSc (Hons) Computer Science degree and in 1972 with a research-based Master of Science.

After receiving his degree, he worked in computer graphics with the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) before moving onto project management for International Computers Limited.

In 1983, Peter started his own business Care Software Technology – one of the first PC dealers in the UK. Peter has since taken companies from start-up to full FTSE listing but still regards his time at Heriot-Watt as fundamental to his success in industry. 

As Managing Director of Primal Pictures Ltd, an organisation which creates and publishes the world's most medically accurate and detailed 3D graphic rendering of human anatomy based on imaging data, Peter completed the circle by retuning to his love of computer graphics. Primal Pictures is now part of the Informa group of companies.

Peter is a Director of H P A Associates Ltd, Fellow of the Institute of Directors and Chairman of the Federation Against Software Theft.

Yesterday he returned to Heriot-Watt for a tour around campus and its facilities, including a visit to the Robotarium, where he was given a demonstration of robots Alana and Pepper, and a tour around the new state-of-the-art GRID facility.

Beatrice Pelloni, Head of the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt, took time out to discuss with Peter the evolution of the School and its current activities.

She said: “It's a real privilege to have discussed the history and outlook of the subject and of the School with such a notable alumnus. As the first computer science graduate, Peter paved the way for students after him to pursue what has since become one of the most dynamic and fast-evolving subjects.”

Peter Allan said: “I am delighted to return to my former university. A lot has changed since I was a student here so it's fantastic to be shown around and get an insight into the work the University is doing within computer science. I'm having a lot of fun.”