In Memoriam: Robert "Buz" Uzaglis
Robert "Buz" Uzgalis, an amazing individual and former professor in the Computer Science Department, passed away suddenly in March 2012 at the age of 71.
Bob served UCLA for many years, beginning in 1964 as a computer programmer in the Sociology and Anatomy Departments. He became a lecturer in what is now the Computer Science Department, and then served as a professor in our department from 1973 to 1985. Following that, the urge to wander struck him, and he gave away most of his possessions and moved to the Far East, doing research at Sumitomo Metal Industries labs in Osaka until 1990, and then research and teaching at the University of Hong Kong until 1993 and the University of Auckland until 1997. He then retired and moved back to Los Angeles, acting as a part-time consultant (home page http://serve.net/buz/) and among other things, developing the Tigertail Virtual Museum, one of the first successful virtual art museums.
Bob was a classic self-trained computer scientist, the likes of which one no longer sees: he had no Ph.D., no master's, not even a bachelors! He approached his research topics with zest and a painstaking effort that inspired colleagues and students. He worked in many areas, including computer graphics and language design and implementation, hashing and compression, reliable knowledge representation, and art preservation. Bob was active until the day he died. When our department switched to its current website format this year, his visiting talk happened to be the first one featured. Currently, two of my students are finishing off directed-research projects based on work that we did in collaboration with Bob.
What all of us remember about Bob is how he gave of himself -- always thinking and always ready to hear and give back. Guests at his concerts and dinners included music store clerks, Turing Award winners, students, software developers, and art and law professors. Bob clearly cherished and listened to and talked with them all. We are all lucky to have had him, and he will be greatly missed.