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Open Dragon

Norman Jaffe

BSc, Double major in Math & Computing Science (formerly in the Faculty of Science) SFU, 1977

Sr. Software Developer, Vecima Networks


I’ve worked on systems ranging from 256 byte microcomputers to supercomputers in a variety of industries. I particularly like programming ‘close to the iron’ – especially ‘hard real-time’ code. My software has been exhibited at several computer conferences and is used by musicians and artists around the world.  For me, the opportunity to work with students at the School of Interactive Art & Technology (SFU Surrey) has been the highlight of my career so far.


Why did you choose to go to SFU?   

I was introduced to SFU while I was in high school, when my father was invited to participate in the PDP program, mentoring future teachers. When I started university, it was at the University of Washington, on a Pulp and Paper Technology scholarship – there I discovered an interest in programming and, when I returned to BC to work, I was encouraged to return to school. SFU had just started a Computing Science faculty and it was now possible to obtain an undergraduate degree in Computing Science, so I applied and was accepted.

Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?

I spent a large part of my time in the Computing Centre… much as I had at UW.

What is your favorite memory from your time at SFU?

Helping teach a course in microcomputers, along with a small group of undergraduates.

Who was your favorite SFU professor and why?

Doug Seeley, who helped me clarify my views on the social aspects of computer science and how our work impacts others.

How has your SFU degree impacted your career? 

As I was already employed as a programmer prior to joining SFU, it didn’t have a direct impact on my career; however, the friends that I made there are still a major part of my life.

What is your favorite SFU snow story?

Walking up through the forest from just above Duthie and Curtis, when the buses could not go all the way up the mountain.

If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?

If you have a passion for something, follow it.

What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?

Its inclusivity and flexibility.