John Arnold was born in Melbourne. In 1972 he began studying for a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering at the University of Melbourne which he completed with first class honours in 1975. He continued studying at the University of Melbourne and completed a research Master of Engineering Science degree in computer control in 1977.
On 6 February 1978, he joined the staff of the University of New South Wales as a Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Military Studies at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in the Department of Electrical Engineering. As part of this appointment, he began study towards a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the area of image and video compression. He was appointed as a Lecturer in 1980. He successfully completed his PhD in 1983.
He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1988 and to Associate Professor in 1995. In 1997, he was appointed as Professor of Electrical Engineering and became Head of the School of Electrical Engineering in 1998. Following the major restructure that occurred at UNSW@ADFA in 2003, he became Head of the new School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, a position that he held through to his appointment as Deputy Rector in September 2006.
Professor Arnold’s research interests have remained in the area of image and video compression and his research group has been a major player in the development of the international standards by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG is responsible for the technical standards behind digital television as well as the MP3 standard used in portable music players.
Professor Arnold’s teaching has concentrated on digital systems, communications and video compression in recent years although he has taught over a wide range of topics during his career. He has also presented numerous short courses on digital television technology primarily to technical staff from the television industry.