LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 2 June, 2010 – Willis K. King, chair of the IEEE Computer Society’s History Committee and Election Committee, has won the organization’s highest volunteer award, the Richard E. Merwin Award for Distinguished Service. The recognition caps a four-decade-long record of active volunteer service for the Computer Society.
King served as president of the 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).
He 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 Visitor's 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 Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (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.
King received the Dipl-Ing degree from the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany (1963), and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (1969), both in electrical engineering. He worked at the IBM Laboratorien, Germany, in 1963 and 1964.
Since 1969, King has been a computer science professor at the University of Houston, and served as its chair from 1979 to 1992. He is a professor emeritus of the University of Houston and a Fellow of both IEEE and the CSAB.
The Richard E. Merwin Award for Distinguished Service is given for outstanding volunteer service to the profession at large, including significant service to the IEEE Computer Society or its predecessor organizations. The award is for service as opposed to technical achievement.
The Merwin Award is the Computer Society’s highest-level volunteer service award, and the highest selection criteria are maintained. Anyone can nominate. The next nomination deadline is 15 October, 2010.
The award consists of a bronze medal and US $5,000 honorarium. No current or past society president is eligible until four years after completion of presidential service.