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History of Chez Bob

The history is centered around the folks who make this all happen... Chez Bob is an organization with a rich history and steeped in culture. OK, maybe not, but you wouldn't be at this page unless you were at least a little interested, so here goes.

Many of the links in this history refer to documents from the CSEHelp Uptime newsletter which was published when Chez Bob was first formed. The articles which reference Chez Bob (or its precursor, the CCCP) are archived here. This history was reconstructed through the collective memories of Robert Bowdidge, Bob Carragher, David Hutches, Jim Mattson, Susan Merritt, Alan Su, Jeremy Sussman, and Chris Vogt.

c. 1988

The *CCCP* (*C* offee and *C* andy *C* o-o *P* ) was formed by Sue Merritt and Jim Mattson. Roughly 6 different brands of soda, 6 different types of candy bars, and coffee (all from Costco) were orignially stocked. Weekly resupply trips were made with Sue's Toyota Corolla as the vehicle of choice. At this point, the grad lounge didn't even exist! The co-op operated in 3218, then the department library, using a makeshift lockbox  epoxied to a table.


After a brief period during which it was unclear who ran the co-op, Robert Bowdidge and Bob Carragher took on the responsibility of the co-op, vowing to breathe life back into the empty co-op. Shortly thereafter, Eric Anderson joined the pair to ensure the co-op's survival. The new vehicle of choice: a 1978 Chevy Impala. With the new leadership came a [new name ||]: *Chez Bob.*


The allocation of the current grad student lounge, in combination with the enthusiasm of the new management ensuring an uninterrupted flow of empty calories into department members' happy stomachs. Everyone rejoiced. Yay!


Under the watchful eye of Bob Carragher and Eric Anderson, Chez Bob became a fixture of the CSE Department. During this period, the folks who ran Chez Bob discovered the Costco would deliver shipments of sufficiently large size. The selection of goods steadily expanded to include more snacks, more drinks, and frozen foods, and spending topped $1000 each month. A recent excavation effort yielded a piece of a vintage Chez Bob cabinet (, which our advanced artifact dating techniques have shown probably originated from this era.


Darren Atkinson, Jeremy Sussman, and Chris Vogt all had a hand in running Chez Bob during this period. Capstone achievements during these expansion-minded years included:

  • the introduction of food with real nutritional value (bananas, apples, yogurt, etc.)
  • a *big* freezer ( for a substantial store of frozen food

  • the second lounge microwave
  • more parties!


Paul Blair and Adam Taylor ran Chez Bob.

Summer 1998

Alan Su began running Chez Bob.

March 26, 1999

On this date, the first version of *B.o.B. 2k* (Bank of Bob 2000) was deployed in the grad lounge, using an AMD K6 233MHz linux machine. The initial version of the software was a single Perl script making calls to the *dialog*(1) command line utility for creating user interfaces. Balance information is stored in a PostgreSQL database. Thanks to CSEHelp (for the machine) and the UCSD GSA (for the monitor).

September 21, 1999

Having more or less successfully weaned the department's current users of the system from the legacy "index card" accounting system (, all Chez Bob users were now proud owners of B.o.B. 2K accounts. Students, staff, and faculty who joined the department after this date have never had the joy of tracking their co-op balance on cute little colored index cards.

September, 2000

Sadly, the initial machine became unstable, due to a combination of a failing disk and bad memory. So, was "upgraded" to a Pentium 90 MHz linux machine with 64 MB of memory. As of 9/1/2002, this is the current configuration.

Spring 2001

An intrepid CSE 210 (Software Engineering) group consisting of Michael Copenhafer, Wesley Leong, Seth Delackner, Cuong Pham, and Yunfeng Fei decided that the existing Chez Bob interface, in concept and implementation, lacked purity. Together with the Chez Bob management and Prof. Bill Griswold, this group of students set out to change the face of Chez Bob. Aside from greatly improving the readability and maintainability of the code, a barcode reader was added to the system, and a sound card and speech synthesizer was included to give Chez Bob a voice. Finally, an innovative web interface was added. This system was dubbed *B.o.B. 2001*.

Spring 2001

Concurrent with the new B.o.B. 2001 system, the job of running Chez Bob was formally split into several roles and incorporated into the CSE-GSA. With the help of the CSEGSA, Chez Bob should continue to flourish and provide the department with research-inducing food and beverage.

Summer 2005

The first code change in four years added ability to buy espresso from bob. Thanks to... whom?


Currently, Chez Bob has over 200 active users and moves roughly $1500 in food, drink, and candy per month. We continue to help fund parties, buy food for poor comps-takers, and hopefully make life in our department that much more enjoyable!