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Harry Q. Bovik: Wikis


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Harry Q. Bovik is a fictitious senior computer scientist enrolled at Carnegie Mellon as a Ph.D researcher since 1965. He is the subject of many legends, though most facts about Bovik are known through his website[1].



Bovik's website [1], which has been maintained since 1991, introduces the author as Harry Q. Bovik and asks for viewers to send "opinions on all sorts of local topics" so that Bovik might make these publicly available. The emails, however, are visible only to people accessing the site from the Carnegie Mellon campus.

Bovik's site also lists his educational background, professional experience, society memberships, patents, grants and awards, selected publications, and research interests. According to these, Bovik received his BA in 1965 from Carnegie Mellon, his PhD in 1969, also from Carnegie Mellon, and has received an honorary doctorate from the fictional Universität Unter-Oberflunken in 1979. He has held a variety of jobs, including being a White House Fellow in 1978 and scientists in both the Millennium Falcon Engineering Company and Foundry and Software Company. Bovik has written an impressive number of academic papers on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to translation of obscure languages.


Much like George P. Burdell at Georgia Tech, Bovik is a campus icon at Carnegie Mellon. Many theories exist about his presence or nonpresence at the university, including the legend that freshmen who have Bovik as a TA have wandered the halls of Carnegie Mellon for years trying to find Bovik's office. Occasionally as a campus prank, Bovik's "office" appears on a relatively inaccessible part of Carnegie Mellon, such as a rooftop or balcony. Bovik's name and login are often used as examples in math and computer science problems, in the "Instructions for Authors" giving formatting guidelines for submissions to computer science conferences [1], and in technical documents such as the Java Language Specification [2] [3] [4].


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