|Awarded for||Position at IBM appointed by the IBM CEO|
|Date||May or June|
An IBM Fellow is an appointed position at IBM made by IBM's CEO. Typically only four to nine (eleven in 2014) IBM Fellows are appointed each year, in May or June. Fellow is the highest honor a scientist, engineer, or programmer at IBM can achieve.
The IBM Fellows program was founded in 1962 by Thomas Watson Jr., as a way to promote creativity among the company's "most exceptional" technical professionals and is granted in recognition of outstanding and sustained technical achievements and leadership in engineering, programming, services, science, design and technology. The first appointments were made in 1963.
The criteria for appointment are stringent and take into account only the most-significant technical achievements. In addition to a history of extraordinary accomplishments, candidates must also be considered to have the potential to make continued contributions. Francis E. Hamilton is believed to be the first IBM Fellow, appointed in 1963 for amongst other things his work on the development of the IBM 650. In 1989, Fran Allen became the first female IBM Fellow.
IBM Fellows are given broad latitude to identify and pursue projects in their area of expertise.
As of 2021[update], only 325 IBMers have earned the IBM Fellow distinction, and 102 of them remain active IBM employees. IBM Fellows have generated over 9,329 patents, received five Nobel prizes, thousands of government and professional citations and have a massive store of published research in scientific journals.
In chronological order, as of 2021[update]:
Refinement of the concepts and engineering design of the eventual production 650 system were carried out in the early-1950s, principally at IBM's laboratory in Endicott, N.Y., under the direction of Frank E. Hamilton, Ernest S. Hughes, Jr., and James J. Troy, who were the chief inventors.