Sri Lanka National Sciences Academy President Professor Arjuna Aluwihare issuing a condolence message on the death of Professor V.K. Samaranayake states: It is with sadness that I, on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences and in a personal capacity, have to add my comments to the many that will be made about Prof. Samaranayake - who was at the time of his untimely demise Chairman of the ICT agency (ICTA) in Sri Lanka-formerly known as CINTEC.
I last saw him a few weeks ago-active again on our Council and involved in ideas we had of strengthening Information Technology use in rural areas of this country. Professor Samaranayake was the President of the National Academy of Sciences during 1998-1999.
He was an Emeritus Professor of Computer Science of the University of Colombo and the founder Director of the University of Colombo, School of Computing (UCSC). He served the University system for a continuous period of 43 years following his graduation from the same university. He served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science.
He was the founder of the Department of Statistics and Computer Science (DSCS) and of the Institute of Computer Technology (ICT) of the University of Colombo. These two institutions were merged as the UCSC in 2002.
Professor Samaranayake was a Fellow of the Harvard information infrastructure Project and the National Center for Digital Government of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2005 he was a visiting fellow of the Digital Vision Programme of Stanford University, USA.
He has served the Council for Information Technology (CINTEC), the apex National agency for IT in Sri Lanka as its Chairman for a period of 12 years. In the field of IT he has pioneered work on IT Policy, Legal Infrastructure, EDI/E-Commerce, Security, Internet Technology, Computer Awareness and IT Education.
He was actively involved in the formulation of the WASO 10646 standard for Sinhalese Characters and in the development of multilingual web sites. He has also been instrumental in helping to apply computers in many areas of governance, including in national elections.
He was currently involved in introducing ICT to rural communities and was engaged in developing Multipurpose Community Tele-Centers. He was a member of the advisory panel of the Asia IT&C programme of the European Commission.
He chaired the National Y2K Task force that coordinated the very successful crossover to year 2000. More recently he initiated the External Degree of Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) of the University of Colombo, which in its very first year of operation has attracted 5000 registrations. He was the Chairman of the Project Management Committee of the sida funded project to enhance the internet connectivity of Sri Lankan Universities.
All in all, it was very clear that Professor Samaranayake pioneered IT application, its usage and industry in Sri Lanka and thus can be considered as the `Father of Information Technology` in Sri Lanka.
Professor Samaranayake was the President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science during its golden jubilee in 1994. He was also the current President of Infotel Lanka Society.
The Government of Sri Lanka has honoured Prof. Samaranayake for his contribution to IT in the country by the award of Vidya Prasadini in 1997 and the national honour Vidya Jothi in 1998.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has presented its President`s Award for International Cooperation to Prof. Samaranayake in 1996 in recognition of his contribution.
The University of Colombo at its convocation held in January 2005, conferred on Prof. Samaranayake the Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) for his outstanding contribution to the University of Colombo.
Our very sincere condolences go to Mrs. S. Samaranayake her two sons who are doing higher studies in IT in America.