Hall is the current president of the Association for Computing Machinery, past president of the British Computer Society, former head of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science, the first dean of Southampton's new Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, and only the second female computer scientist, after Steve Shirley, to be made a dame.
"I loathed Fortran," she added. "I never dreamt I would end up with the career I ended up with."
Hall, whose current passion is web science, got hooked on multimedia so early that one of her professors told her that continuing in that direction would eliminate her future in computer science; there were no journals or established conferences. Fortunately, her boss disagreed.
Born in 1962, Hall grew up in London during the war recovery years in a family without much money. But she said: "I had the most fantastic education because my parents were determined to put me through good schooling, and it was all free. I think my generation were hugely fortunate to have all that."
Hall began as a pure mathematician; her PhD dissertation was on algebraic topology. When a hiring freeze precluded an academic job, she took up teaching mathematics in a teacher training college.
"I got interested in computers there," she explained. "Then I realised I was more interested in that than maths." She found a lectureship at Southampton and has stayed there ever since.
"My thrust has always been trying to make these things easier to use," she said. "I still have an abstract way of thinking: what's going to happen, rather than how it's going to happen. I'm not deeply interested in coding."
This is one of those English understatements: "I don't think I could have stuck at computing if I'd been having to worry about operating systems and compilers."
From speculating about how computers would eventually be used in teaching, Hall "got hooked on experimenting with putting video from laser discs onto a computer screen".
Sure, kids do this every day with DVDs and YouTube, but her video was analogue, not digital. "It was quite tricky," she said.
Slowly things changed. The internet began to emerge as a global network, email arrived in academia, and Ted Nelson's and Doug Engelbart's message about hypermedia began to be heard.
Nelson, especially, had been talking about hypermedia since the 1960s, but Hall said that hers was "one of the first groups to really start doing it".
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