Willis K. King
2009 Richard E. Merwin Distinguished Service Award
“For exemplary Service to the IEEE Computer Society
and the Computing Professions at Large”
Willis K. King received the Dipl-Ing degree from the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany (1963), and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1969), both in Electrical Engineering.
King worked at the IBM Laboratorien, Germany, in 1963 and 1964. He has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Houston since 1969 and served as its chair from 1979 to 1992. He is a professor emeritus of the University of Houston and a fellow of the IEEE and the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB).
Currently the chair of the History Committee and the Election Committee of the IEEE Computer Society, Willis King has been an active volunteer in IEEE for 40 years. He was the president of IEEE Computer Society in 2002. Prior to his presidency, he served as vice president for area activities (1987, 1988), vice president for educational activities (1997, 1998), and as the second and first vice president he chaired the Conferences and Tutorials Board (1999, 2000). King was appointed IEEE Houston chapter chair from 1970-1975, the general chair of the second International Symposium on Computer Architecture in 1975, the IEEE Computer Society Southwestern Regional chair from 1976 to 1982, and the chair of the Distinguished Visitors Program from 1980 to 1986.
An active volunteer in accreditation activities since the early 1980s, King participated in the establishment of an accreditation program for computer science and the formation of the CSAB. From 1985 to 1991 he served as a founding member of the executive committee of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Commission, including as its chair in 1991. He was a member of the CSAB board from 1991-1997 and its president from 1993 to 1995. He received several distinguished services awards from CSAB and CSAC and was elected a Fellow of CSAB.