After a long and very private battle with manic depression, Mike Miller took his own life on August 3, 2000. He was 31.
Mike began HINF as an undergraduate in the fall of 1993, but finished with an MSc in 1998.
To the department Mike brought a wry sense of humour and a low-key cool (his drive partitions were labeled Mr. Pink, Mr. White...) An evening of pool showed Mike off at his best --- relaxed, smart conversation alternated with quiet study and clean shots as he cleared the table.
The HINF curriculum satisfied Mike's wide ranging interests and his appetite for problem solving. His scholarships and high grades reflected this.
Mike's thesis came into focus the day he decided he needed a new way to understand the data his program -- which indexed and searched large document sets -- was generating.
To do so, he extended his program to convert its data to VRML, creating a virtual reality interface to the query results such that one could navigate through space and visit clusters of related documents.
Optimizing the statistical algorithms underlying this novel interface became the core of his thesis. It led directly to his job as a software engineer on the search engine team at Excite.
These achievements are proof enough of Mike's character and intellect. That he accomplished so much while bearing such a weight marks him as exceptional.
Mike's friend and colleague
(Written for the Newsletter of the School of Health Information Science, September 2000.)
Mike's family has started the Michael Miller Scholarship which will be awarded annually to a student in Health Information Science, University of Victoria. The application process includes the submission of a short essay on manic depression (bi-polar disorder). This scholarship was awarded for the first time in September 2002.
Paddy Miller | Mary Kirk | Alison Miller | Paddy MacLean
Susan MacLean | David Bigsby | Ken Bauer
Kathryn MacLean | Doug Richardson | Joan Skillings