This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Michael Williams (BSc, PhD, DSc), World-Renowned Computing Pioneer, Past-President (2007) IEEE Computer Society, Professor Emeritus University of Calgary.
Often as IT professionals, we can lose sight of the industry, the profession, its remarkable history, and its founding pioneers. Mike is one of those rare individuals who has shaped our world through his lifetime achievements. Take the time to listen to the podcast, to be inspired, and to smile too--Mike provides some amazing stories and insights into our profession.
Michael R. Williams (BSc, PhD, DSc), Past-President (2007) IEEE Computer Society, Professor Emeritus University of Calgary, graduated in 1964 with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Alberta and in 1968 he obtained a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Glasgow. In 1969 he joined the University of Calgary, first in the Department of Mathematics then as a Professor of Computer Science. It was while working at Glasgow that he acquired an interest in the history of computing, something which has developed over the years into his main research and teaching interest.
He has participated in the publishing of 11 books, 92 articles, 58 technical reviews and 72 invited lectures and has been involved in the creation of 10 different radio, television, and museum productions. During his career he has had the opportunity to work for extended periods at several different universities, and at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution), and as Head Curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California.
Besides his work as Editor-in-Chief for the journal The Annals of the History of Computing, he has worked closely with the IEEE History Committee (serving as its chairman in 1994 and 1995), the IEEE History Center, is past President of the IEEE Computer Society, (serving as its President in 2007), serves as a member of many different committees of the IEEE and is a member of editorial boards concerned with publishing material in the area of the history of computing.
He has received several awards, the most interesting of which are:
- C.C. Gotlieb Award - "In recognition of Outstanding Contributions to the Canadian Information Processing Society and to the Profession on CIPS behalf." Presented by the Canadian Prime Minister, May 17, 1990
- University of Calgary, Faculty of Science, Award of Excellence for Consistently Outstanding Contributions in Teaching, April 1993.
- In 2005 the University of Glasgow, Scotland, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree for his contributions to computer science, particularly the history of computing.