The IEEE Computer Pioneer Award was established in 1981 to recognize and honor the vision of those people whose efforts resulted in the creation and continued vitality of the computer industry. The IEEE Computer Society site states, "[Michael J. Flynn] began his engineering career at IBM as a designer of mainframe computers. He became Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford in 1975 where he set up the Stanford Architecture and Arithmetic group. He retired from Stanford in 1999 and continues there as Emeritus Professor. Some of his best-known work includes the development of the now familiar stream outline of computer organization (SIMD, etc.). For many years this has served as the fundamental formal taxonomy of parallel computers.
In the early 1970s Prof. Flynn founded both of the specialist organizations on Computer Architecture: the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Computer Architecture and the ACM's SIGARCH.
Prof. Flynn was the 1992 recipient of the ACM/IEEE Eckert-Mauchley Award for his technical contributions to computer and digital systems architecture. He has been awarded honorary Doctorates from Trinity College (University of Dublin) and the University of Belgrade and is an honorary Professor of Informatics at the University of Sofia. He is the author of five books and over 300 technical papers. He is a fellow of both the IEEE and ACM."