Emeritus Professor Jack Cole, mathematician and computer expert; born 1925, died May 30, 1997

JACK Cole was buried on a glorious day in Kilconquhar Churchyard, his son Murray thanked us all for coming and reminded us of Jack's kindness.

Just as briefly Jack was lowered into the ground. Very intense, very emotional, no fuss, very Jack.

An academic career that was to span 40 years late, thanks to the Second World War.

Blown up by ''friendly fire'' in a training exercise, Jack had to learn to write left-handed before entering tertiary education in his early twenties.

A first class honours degree in mathematics at University College, London, was followed by the Mayer de Rothschild Scholarship to study for an MSc. Working with his mentor, Professor Harold Davenport, and aided by a London University Scholarship.

Jack completed a PhD in 1952 on the theory of numbers.

Born within the sound of Bow Bells in east London, Jack spent most of his academic career in Scotland, eventually describing himself as a ''Scot by marriage''.

Starting as a lecturer at the then Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh (1952-56), he moved to Queen's College, Dundee (1956-62).

Slowly but surely, the potential of computer technology lured Jack into a career change, and he returned south to the University of Leicester to become director of the computing laboratory (1962-65).

However, England did not hold him for long and in 1965 he returned to the University of St Andrews as director of computing laboratory and reader in computational science.

For the next 20 years, Jack Cole devoted himself to establishing Computer Science at St Andrews. Promoted to a personal chair in 1969 and an established chair in 1976, Jack will be remembered for his dedication to the well-being of the generations of undergraduate and postgraduate students that he taught and supervised.

The combination of a background in mathematics and his fascination with computers provided Jack with his most successful research field.

Working on space filling curves, which had earlier attracted the attention of such ''greats'' as Peano and Hilbert, Jack developed techniques that allowed them to be used in the compression of video data.

On this he published widely, culminating with the invention of Murray polygons. This research, while ahead of its time when Jack published, has now been taken up industrially by the BBC among others. In all, Jack published three books and over 50 papers.

At a national level, Jack was president of the Inter University Computer Colloquium in 1969 at a time when he and his sparring partner, the late Professor Sydney Michaelson, were the leading lights.

Jack also served on national committees, including health service bodies, as a computing advisor. He leaves his wife, Chris, son, Murray, a lecturer in computer science at Edinburgh University, daughter-in-law, Alison, and three grandsons.