Kurt Bauknecht was a full professor and department head of the Department of Informatics. He was the head of the Information and Communication Management Research Group and director of the computing center of the University of Zurich.
Kurt Bauknecht received a diploma degree in electrical engineering from ETH Zurich in 1960. After his graduation, he worked as a software engineer for Le Matériel Téléphonique ( L.M.T. ) in Paris and later for Compagnie des Machines Bull, also in Paris. Then he joined the University of Zurich as a senior research associate in the Institute of Operations Research and Electronic Data Processing. In 1967, he received a PhD from ETH Zurich and in 1970 he received his habilitation and became a lecturer at the University of Zurich.
In February 1970, Hans Künzi, the head of the Institute of Operations Research and Electronic Data Processing and director of the university's computing center, was elected into the government of the Canton of Zurich. Subsequently, the University of Zurich decided to split Künzi's institute into an Institute of Operations Research and an Institute of Electronic Data Processing. Kurt Bauknecht was appointed associate professor in fall 1970 and became the head of the newly founded Institute of Electronic Data Processing. In this function, he also became the director of the computing center of the University of Zurich. In 1973, the institute was renamed Institute of Informatics (Institut für Informatik, IfI) and Kurt Bauknecht was promoted to full professor. He continued to be the department head and director of the computing center until his retirement in 2003.
In 1980, in a joint effort with his colleague Carl-August Zehnder from ETHZ, he eventually succeeded in installing Major degree programs Computing/Informatics, both at UZH and ETHZ. This step had been overdue: Switzerland was lagging ten years behind major European countries in that respect.
Also with Carl-August Zehnder, he co-authored a book on the fundamentals of information processing, which was quite successful by its time and appeared in several editions.
From 1984-1986, Kurt Bauknecht was Dean of the then Faculty of Law and Economics. (Later, this faculty was split into the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, where the Department of Informatics belongs to today.)
Under his guidance, both the department and the computing center grew steadily. By the time of his retirement, IfI had developed from an institute with only one professor in 1970 to a full-fledged department with nine full or associate professors and nearly 100 people (professors, lecturers, PhD students, postdocs and administrative personnel). He laid the foundation on which his successors could build and develop IfI into the vibrant department that it is today.
Kurt Bauknecht was a highly respected and influential colleague who devoted quite a lot of energy into the development and well-being of the department's faculty, staff, and resources. All who had the opportunity to work with him will remember his engagement, his leadership, and also his openness to new ideas brought up by his colleagues in the department.
He was also strongly engaged in the promotion of Computing/Informatics both nationally and internationally. He held leading positions in numerous professional organizations in our field. He was president of the Swiss Informatics Society SI (which he co-founded in 1983) and of the International Federation for Information Processing IFIP.
In 2000 he received a honorary doctorate from the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
Kurt Bauknecht died on April 23, 2019 at the age of 83.
Martin Glinz, full professor emeritus, Department Head 2007-2016