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IEEE 1984 to the Present

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Contents

History of IEEE from 1984

For a timeline of IEEE before 1984, click here.

Brief Overview

In the quarter of a century since IEEE celebrated it centinial, its transformation into a global organization has continued, as the countries of the world, fueled by advances in IEEE’s technologies have become more closely linked together. Computing and communications have converged. Multiple fiber optic cables sending packet switched information dropped global transmission costs to close to zero. Most of what is transmitted is data, rather than voice. Information and commerce traverse the globe via the Internet. IEEE embraced its own technologies, and moved many operations to the Internet, most notably two million papers, presentations, and other documents, which are now globally accessible through the online portal, IEEE Xplore. IEEE expanded its reach, opening offices in Beijing and Singapore. By 2009, 44.5% of IEEE’s 375,000 members resided in 159 countries besides the United States. The Institute, and its technologies, have certainly more than fulfilled the fondest hopes of the founding group that met in New York so many years before.

You can find a list of IEEE Presidents (with links to further information on these presidents) here.

IEEE Chronology 1984-2009

1984

  • IEEE celebrated its centennial (or more strictly the centennial of its predecessor society the American Institute of Electrical Engineers) with a yearlong series of events, including a Centennial Convocation held in Boston 13-15 May to mark the actual founding of the Institute. This convocation included the first IEEE transnational sections conference which brought together IEEE members from the majority of IEEE’s 250 sections around the world. At another event during the convocation, IEEE presented IEEE Centennial Medals to 1984 outstanding IEEE members.
  • IEEE held a Centennial Members’ Forum for Planning IEEE’s future in Toronto, Canada on August 12 and an IEEE-Franklin Institute Centennial Technical Convocation in Philadelphia in October. This last celebrated the actual 100th anniversary of the AIEE’s first technical meeting, which had been held in Philadelphia. Through satellite and telephone an estimated 5,000 IEEE members participated from 140 other sites. The final major centennial event, held in San Jose, California on 30 November, featured presentations of Centennial Keys to the Future by all 33 IEEE Societies to young engineers representing the Societies’ technologies.
  • IEEE President-Elect Donald D. King died in office on March 13, creating a vacancy in that office and in the office of 1985 President. The IEEE Assembly (consisting of those members of the IEEE Board who were directly elected by IEEE Members) selected former IEEE Executive Vice President Charles “Bud” Eldon to take King’s place as 1984 President-Elect and 1985 President. The IEEE Membership ratified the selection in the fall.
  • In August, IEEE approved its first two Milestones in Electrical Engineering (now Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing), both in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada— Heart’s Content where the first successful transatlantic cable was laid in 1866, and Signal Hill, where Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal in 1901. In November, IEEE approved a third Milestone, the Westinghouse Atom Smasher.
  • The number of members in China increased from 1 in 1979 to 35 in 1984. There was a parallel increase in the number of subscriptions to IEEE from China. A conference on Computers and Applications in the People’s Republic of China, co-sponsored by IEEE Computer Society and the Chinese Institute of Electronics was held in Beijing. It was IEEE’s first major conference in the country. It attracted over 250 specialists in computer science and engineering from 18 different countries.
  • One hundred and ten colleges and universities received live satellite broadcasts of continuing-education courses provided by IEEE through an agreement with the National University Teleconference Network.
  • In an effort to impose quality control, the IEEE Computer Society and the Association of Computing Machinery formed the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board to evaluate and accredit computer science programs in U.S. colleges and universities.
  • Bruno Weinschel defeated Jose Cruz in the election for 1985 president elect/1986 president. Both candidates were board-nominated.

1985

  • The IEEE Board of Directors established a strategic planning committee, and provided that committee with written guidelines for the strategic planning process.
  • Harold E. Graves, 33 year-old senior project engineer from Troy, Michigan became the IEEE’s 250,000th member.
  • The IEEE Press published its first book for a general audience. The Space Station: An Idea Whose Time Has Come marked a departure from the Press’s usual activities, publishing technical books of interest chiefly to engineers. The Press planned to follow The Space Station with similar general interest books in the future, on topics like personal computers, cable television and space science, but not at the cost of abandonment of the Press’s core mission to publish technical material.
  • IEEE President Charles “Bud” Eldon attended the 40th Anniversary meeting of the International Popov Society in Moscow, resuming relations between the two organizations on a more limited basis.
  • Henry Bachman defeated Jose Cruz in the election for 1986 president elect/1987 president. Both candidates were board-nominated.

1986

  • For the first time, abstracts of IEEE journals were distributed on CD-Rom to speed the dissemination of technical information.
  • The IEEE Computer Society opened an office in Brussels to serve as an information center for Europe and to speed the flow of Society publication to members in Europe and the Middle East. It was also expected that the new office would make it easier for European members to join the society.
  • IEEE Spectrum won a National Magazine Award for its November 1985 issue “Hello Again: The Future of Telecommunications.” The award, which was given for the best single-topic issue, was the third won by Spectrum.
  • The IEEE strongly opposed a tentative plan by the U.S. Air Force restricting access of non-U.S. citizens to unclassified electronic databases, which was part of an ongoing effort to keep Soviet bloc agents from learning about U.S. high technology. Air Force officials were considering restricting both governmental – like the National Technical Information Service of the Commerce Department – and non-governmental – like the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Abstracts – databases. The chairman of the IEEE’s Technology Transfer Committee argued that these restrictions could actually help the Soviets: “Any restrictions placed on access to these databases would impede the ability of the United States to advance both military and civilian technology.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors voted unanimously to allocate $100,000 to fund the first phase of an ambitious electronic publishing project. The initial plan was to create an electronic index of all articles published in IEEE conference records in a given 12-month period. Members would be able to use the index to order copies of articles from their computers. Envisioned as the first step in a sweeping initiative to provide members with easy-to-use electronic storage and retrieval of IEEE material, organizers said that all Institute articles and information could be available on-line in five years if the first phase was successful.
  • IEEE publicly demonstrated its new electronic publication database at a technical publications panel sponsored by IEEE, Britain’s IEE and University Microfilms International (UMI) in New York. The pilot database contained listings for 40,000 pages of the IEEE’s 1984 journals. UMI representatives displayed the company’s electronic workstation, which quickly accessed specific articles from the database of 40,000 IEEE pages that UMI had stored on optical disk. Subsequent plans for the system included the creation of an electronic archival database to store all IEEE literature electronically and the development of an electronic submission system for IEEE authors.
  • IEEE leaders moved to tighten the links between the volunteers working on technical standards and the policymakers on the IEEE Standards Board. The hope was to spur further standards work in areas of emerging technologies, such as computer technology, robotics and manufacturing applications.
  • Board-nominated candidate Russell Drew won election as 1987 president elect/1988 president defeating board-nominated candidate Merlin Smith and petition candidate Irwin Feerst.

1987

  • The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a consortium of engineering societies in charge of accreditation standards for U.S. curricula, presented a proposal that would reduce the number of delegates from the IEEE and other large professional associations sitting on the Board. Representation on ABET was proportionate to the number of programs each society oversaw, with large societies like IEEE having five delegates and smaller societies having only one. ABET was considering reducing overall membership from 50 to 30 delegates, to make the Board more manageable and responsive, but that meant reducing the proportional representation of IEEE and other organizations. The IEEE Board of Directors passed a resolution in February, saying that if ABET went through with the plan, it might consider appealing to Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation.
  • IEEE Board of Directors established new publication guidelines limiting the amount of space allocated to presidential hopefuls in an effort to rein-in perennial gadfly candidate Irwin Feerst. Citing Feerst’s campaign style and “use of innuendo” and threat, the Board considered invoking Article 11 of the IEEE Code of Ethics, which enjoins members to treat colleagues fairly “regardless of race, religion, sex, age of national origin” and inviting Feerst to resign.
Dennis Bodson
Dennis Bodson
  • Despite Irwin Feerst’s efforts, the Board of Directors chose to nominate a single candidate for the offices of President-Elect and Executive Vice-President, respectively, for the first time in six years. Emerson W. Pugh received the sole board nomination for President and Dennis Bodson for Executive Vice-President. As neither Feerst nor anyone else ran as a petition candidate, Emerson Pugh  ran (and was elected) unopposed and became 1988 president-elect and 1989 president.
  • The Board of Directors approved amendments to the IEEE bylaws to establish procedures to recall or suspend IEEE officers, board members and committee officers. As a result, officers elected by the membership could be removed from office by a majority vote of the IEEE. The Board also approved in principle an amendment that would authorize disciplinary actions – up to expulsion from the IEEE – for members found to have violated IEEE ethics standards.
  • The Board of Directors allocated a $250,000 budget to build additional facilities at the IEEE’s Piscataway campus. Work began in November. The additional funds, as well as funds to increase the Field Services staff, brought the planned 1988 operating budget to $38 million.
  • The IEEE Board approved additions to the IEEE Code of Ethics, including an expansion to the preamble holding members to a high level of “ethical conduct, honesty, and openness.” Other additions included a new article making it a violation of the Code to impugn the reputation of another member in any way or to knowingly make false statements.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors adopted a new balloting rule, "approval voting." to take effect beginning with the 1988 election, under an “approval voting” procedure, members would be allowed to vote for as many candidates for a given office as they believed were qualified for the position. Thus, if four candidates were running for a particular office, a member might vote for one, two or three of them – even all four, but that would cancel all the votes out. Experts believe that approval voting is “the most equitable way for multiple-candidate elections.” The Board also set a minimum of two board-nominated candidates for each elected office. Under this procedure, a candidate favored by a minority of voters, but disapproved by majority was unlikely to get elected.

1988

  • Changes to the IEEE Ethics Code adopted at the end of 1987 came under a storm of criticism from members who believed that they might stifle free speech. Unanimously voting to urge the Board to rescind the changes, the administrative committee of the Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) said that they could have a “chilling effect on criticism, real or implied.” Critics also expressed concern about how the Board made the changes without first consulting the IEEE Ethics Committee, calling the process “secretive.” Nevertheless, supporters of the changes maintained that they simply held members to professional standards of civility and restated civil slander and libel laws, pointing out, moreover, that the complaint process had enough checks and balances to discourage abuse.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors endorsed a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) priority agenda at its May meeting in Boston. The Committee’s top priority was to commit the IEEE to maintaining technical preeminence and effectively delivering services to members. Other priorities included a commitment to the adoption and development of electronic information systems, maintaining educational activities and ensuring that IEEE activities were effectively organized. The SPC also assumed a new role, advising major Boards and committees to ensure that their programs are consistent with the IEEE’s overall strategy. The Board of Directors also approved a cooperative agreement with the USSR’s Popov Society to re-start a technical exchange program. The Board agreed to move with caution, however, stipulating that the future of the agreement would depend on the Soviet’s willingness to show true openness about their technological resources.
  • The Board of Directors endorsed a range of new member services, including dues payment by credit card for U.S. members and a “transnational desk” at IEEE headquarters to help members in regions 8, 9, and 10 overcome language, currency and cultural barriers in obtaining the most from member services. Plans were also underway to launch a toll-free 1-800 telephone line in the U.S. to handle member queries. In order to pay for the new services and to keep up with rising inflation, the Board also authorized a $5 dues increase, raining the cost of membership from $52 to $57 annually.
  • A new, three-story, 60,000 square foot building at the IEEE’s Piscataway, NJ campus was completed in October, and dedicated on 14 December. With the completion, the IEEE Education and Inspec groups that had been housed in rented space in neighboring buildings, moved to the new complex. Parts of the IEEE’s Standards and Technical Activities departments moved from New York to the new facility. By the end of 1989, the IEEE New Jersey Service Center housed 70% of the IEEE staff.
  • IEEE launched a pilot project to collect all of its publications for 1988 on CD ROM sets to be available in nine corporate, government and university library locations in the United States and one in either Canada or Great Britain in 1989. The project was intended as a test-marketing of CD ROM publication collections, and was dependent on the conclusion of a three-way agreement between the IEEE, Britain’s Institution of Electrical Engineers and University Microfilm, Inc. Actual production was expected began in early in 1989, with testing and evaluation to continue into 1990.
  • Bell Laboratories engineer and IEEE member K.R.S. Murphy announced his plan to begin a newsgroup devoted to IEEE subjects on Usenet. Murphy hoped that the forum would provide members with interactive access to information like calls for papers, conference listing and notes on IEEE activities over the Internet. Noting that another IEEE forum already existed on the Fidonet network, IEEE Vice President for Regional Activities Michael J. Whitelaw called the idea “superb.”
  • After months of tentative, and then more formal negotiation, the IEEE and USSR’s A.S. Popov Society signed a new technical agreement to resume the technical exchange visits that had been suspended in 1980 in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and, it was hoped, lead to even closer ties. Hopes were high that the two organizations would soon jointly sponsor international technical conferences and even begin publishing each other’s technical articles in their respective publications. The Popov society leadership welcomed the resumption of ties with the IEEE, noting that the new Soviet government policy of glasnost had “changed the way that Soviet scientific and technical institutions operate.”
  • In 1988, membership grew to over 300,000 members, including over 60,000 outside of the U.S. Susan R. Sanicky, an engineer with IBM in San Jose, California was noted as the 300,000th member.
  • The IEEE opened its first student branch in China.

1989

  • Tests to introduce the use of CD ROMs as optical storage media for IEEE publications began in April 1989. Users were able to access about 200,000 pages of IEEE and IEE’s 1988 journals and conference proceedings. 1989 information was to be added to the test database as it was published. The CD ROMs were housed at 12 libraries throughout the United States and England.
  • Entering its third year as a pilot program, the IEEE Academy took on a new name and refined modus operandi. IEEE renamed the program “the Engineering Skills Assessment Program” or ESAP. As it re-envisioned, ESAP’s two principal vehicles for assessment became e a field specific knowledge inventory and associated multiple choice tests that a member could take.
  • A series of proposals to restructure IEEE led to extended and often heated discussion within IEEE, but ultimately most of the proposals were not adopted. The objective was to restructure the IEEE  to ‘strengthen its international’ character by restructuring the Board of Directors to ‘make it more international in scope."  The proposals noted that any changes had to be implemented with member support and done gradually. Underlying at least some of these issues was a tension between international and national (U.S.) representation. One of the proposals was to integrate journal publication  into the Technical Activities Board, eliminating the Vice President of Publications and the Publications Board. Ultimately, IEEE concluded that because publications are the most visible evidence of IEEE’s work and membership, their governance should remain high-level and independent.
  • One proposal that was adopted was a suggestion that the office of Executive Vice President be eliminated, on the grounds that most of the functions of that position had been assumed by the president-elect. The IEEE board placed this issue before the membership as a referendum, since it involved a change to the IEEE Constitution. It passed.
  • Another more significant proposal, that was ultimately approved years later, was to reframe the IEEE United States Activities board into IEEE-USA, and having that organization elect its own president, and house all U.S related activities of IEEE. The hope was this would allow the parent IEEE to have a more transnational focus, while assuring that the needs of U.S. members would be met.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors formally censured member (and frequent petition presidential candidate) Irwin Feerst for two violations of the IEEE Code of Ethics. In one case, he falsely accused a member of attempted blackmail, and in the other he falsely accused a member of religious discrimination. In both cases, he transmitted his accusations to the members’ employers, threatening their careers. Feerst died on August 20, 1990.
  • A delegation of eight IEEE representatives, led by IEEE President Emerson Pugh attended a two day optoelectronics conference held in Russia by the Popov Society, and then toured a variety of research, educational, and industrial sites.
  • IEEE opened a special liaison office for non-U.S. Members at IEEE headquarters in response to a perception among some non-U.S. members that it was more difficult for them to get high-quality service. It was designed to supplement customer services already provided by other IEEE departments.

1990

  • The IEEE Board of Directors adopted, after considerable discussion a new more succinct IEEE Code of Ethics. The new Code became official IEEE policy on January 1, 1991.
  • In August the IEEE History Center moved from New York City to the campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick. Rutgers became a co-sponsor of the center. The shift was undertaken mainly due to the research demands of the history center which could be better fulfilled by using the facilities of the university.
  • IEEE’s triennial sections conference, held in Toronto on 5-7 October focused on global visions for the IEEE and the chapter as partner of societies and sections.
  • The writing, editing and production of IEEE publications began moving to a fully electronic system to speed turn-around time and decrease costs. Ten magazines had moved to the new system by the end of 1990.
  • A thirteen year effort to found an IEEE section in Romania proceded with  the formation, and formal recognition by IEEE Region 8 of Romania as a section-in-development. By 1992, Romania had a full-fledged section with 300 members.
  • To broaden the use of IEEE standards, the Executive Committee approved a Standards Board proposal to remove all commercial impediments to the adoption or use of IEEE standards by national, regional, or international standards bodies.
  • IEEE issued its full set of standards on a set of four CD-ROMs.
  • The IEEE Board approved the opening of a TAB (Technical Activities Board) office in Brussels to serve members in Region 8. It was collocated with the existing IEEE Computer Society office.
  • Five candidates ran for election as 1991 president-elect/ 1992 president, a record number. The IEEE board nominated three candidates: Edward Bertnolli, Theodore Hissey Jr., and Edward Parish. Two candidates, Martha Sloan and Merrill Buckley Jr., were nominated by petition. Buckley won the election and became 1991 president-elect/1992 president.

1991

  • IEEE established a customer service center at its New Jersey operations center to provide members with one-stop shopping.
  • IEEE press sales exceeded US$1,000,000 for the first time, an increase of 36% from 1990.
  • The IEEE Board nominated three candidates for the office of 1992 President Elect, Robert Alden, H. Troy Nagle, and Wallace S. Read. In addition, Martha Sloan ran as a petition candidate. Sloan won the election, and became the first woman to serve as IEEE president-elect and president.
  • In the same election, a constitutional amendment, opposed by the Board, to change the office of Vice President-Professional Activities to Vice President—United States Professional Activities, and have that office elected by the IEEE U.S. Membership, was defeated by the large margin of 27,002 to 16,465.

1992

  • IEEE, together with IEE of Great Britain and University Microfilms International (UMI) introduced the IEEE/IEE Publications Ondisc (IPO) as a commercial subscription product. IPO provided a database of over 500,000 pages of scanned documents comprising the two Institutes’ periodicals, conference proceedings and standards, and magazines from 1988 on. A second portion of IPO contained a subset of IEEE’s Inspec (Information Services in physics, electronics, and computing) database containing abstracts and indexing. The accompanying software from UMI linked the two portions and let the user display and print out articles. IPO provided immediate user access to 85 journals, 500 standards, and 360 conference proceedings.
  • The IEEE board approved an additional expansion to IEEE’s Piscataway New Jersey Operations Center.
  • The IEEE Board changed the IEEE bylaws on elections to require that the board nominate “one or more” candidates for president-elect. Since the last change in 1988, the board had been required to nominate “at least two candidates."
  • IEEE began offering a document delivery service, Ask*IEEE, which enabled researchers to obtain IEEE scientific and technical articles, as well as articles from other publishers on an item-by-item basis by phone, fax, e-mail or on-line.
  • Eric Herz, who had been Executive Director and General Manager of IEEE since 1979 retired. He served in this position longer than anyone else.
  • Troy Nagle was elected 1993 president elect/1994 president defeating Edward Bertnolli. Both candidates were board-nominees.

1993

  • John H. Powers, an IEEE fellow with 26 years of experience at IBM, and three years of IEEE staff experience as associate general manager for volunteer services became General Manager of IEEE following the retirement of Eric Herz. He was shortly elected Executive Director by the IEEE Assembly.
  • Donald Christianson, who in 1971 had become the first full-time editor of Spectrum, retired in February 1993.
  • IEEE was the leading sponsoring society among over 60 other sponsors for 1993’s National Engineers week, February 14-20 in the U.S. IEEE representatives stressed that as the world became more tech-savvy, the nation’s well being lay in the hands of engineers which is why it was important to highlight the contributions of the IEEE.
  • In April, IEEE opened an Asia-Pacific customer service center in Singapore to provide for the needs of the increasing number of members in Region 10. In December, the IEEE Computer Society/Tab office in Brussels became an IEEE European Operations Center to provide better service to members and customers in Region 8.
  • IEEE’s triennial sections congress was held in July in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It had the theme, ‘Empowering Sections to Serve Members”.
  • IEEE announced its strategy for the future, with a mission stating that “The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers promotes the development of electrotechnology, the application of that technology for the benefit of humanity, the advancement of the profession, and the well-being of its members." At its November in Raleigh, N.C, meeting the Board of Directors approved the strategic plan and agreed on four initiatives to  promote the development of electrotechnology and allied sciences: 1) IEEE would help ensure high quality educational services to aspiring professionals, 2) IEEE members should be able to have access to those opportunities, 3) IEEE should provide high quality affordable, technical, educational products, 4) IEEE would promote public appreciation to the contribution of engineers.
  • The IEEE Standards Process Automation Project (or SPAsystem™) began to use computer and telecommunications technologies to speed the development of standards. The system went online in August 1995, making it available to all who were involved in the development of IEEE standards.
  • IEEE offered a new package of financial services to its members and their immediate families. It included mutual funds, loans and annuities. Initially, due to U.S. tax regulations only U.S. residents were able to participate. By the end of the 1994, 130,000 IEEE members had participated in the plan, known as the IEEE Financial Advantage Program.
  • IEEE obtained a new, more advantaged, tax status, 501(c)(3), under the U.S. internal revenue code. With this status, IEEE dues became deductible from members’ U.S. tax returns as charitable contributions. This status also allowed IEEE to apply to the individual U.S. States for exemption from sales taxes. IEEE had been a 501(c)(3) organization prior to 1973, when it became reclassified under the more restricted 501(c)(6) section, because of the lobbying activities undertaken by IEEE’s United States Activities Board. However, the relatively small percentage of funds devoted to that task made it possible to revert to the more preferable section of the U.S. Code.
  • James Thomas "Tom" Cain was elected 1994 president elect/1995 president, defeating Luis Gandia. Both were board-nominees.

1994

  • Delegations of IEEE volunteers and staff visited China and Japan and reached draft agreements for cooperative actions, including joint memberships in IEEE and the country’s respective national societies.
  • The IEEE Educational Activities Board had chartered a Professional Development Committee to evaluate, propose, and develop programs for the continuing technical and professional development of IEEE members.
  • John Powers resigned as IEEE Executive Director and General Manager in November after two years in the position. Theodore Hissey was elected executive director, and Richard Schwartz appointed Acting General Manager.
  • Acting general manager Richard D. Schwartz restructured IEEE staff operations in December to separate customer and member services and to restore regional activities volunteer oversight over new-member applications.

1995

  • IEEE hired a consulting firm to “turn around” IEEE’s information systems, following large scale problems in the 1995 membership renewal cycle.
  • In January both IEEE and its newspaper the Institute unveiled websites on the world-wide web.
  • In keeping with the advance of electronic publishing as a means to speed publications and increase their distribution, IEEE ended its contract with University Microfilms for publishing on CD-ROMs, and began doing so in house. In particular, CD-ROMs made it possible to get publications to Regions 8-10 more quickly than was feasible with printed copies.
  • At part of a strategic planning process, task forces formed by the IEEE Board considered three different models of organization 1) the traditional model, 2) Federation model, 3) Matrix model , each of which underscored a smaller board of directors as more effective. The Professional Activities Committee for Engineers Network met in September in Cedar Rapids to discuss reorganization of the volunteer structure of the IEEE. These models proved controversial; none of the three presidential candidates endorsed any of the three models proposed while the chairman of the US activities board argued that the new task force would focus on gradual rather than swift change. Ultimately, the Board opted for gradual change, and accepted none of the three alternatives. At the IEEE Board of Directors’ December meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, it rejected all three alternatives and instead voted for ‘evolutionary’ change, under the rubric of “the Integrated Model.” The board formed a new committee to revise IEEE bylaws to give the several major boards more autonomy; establish a strong and autonomous IEEE-USA organization and develop of career enhancement programs as transnational activities.
  • Users of the MELVYL system, the University of California’s vast online library became able to access the scanned pages of all IEEE journals, conference proceedings, and standards dating back to 1988 as IEEE and the University rolled out this service as a collaborative joint research project.
Daniel J. Senese
Daniel J. Senese
  • In November, the IEEE named Daniel Senese to be General Manager of IEEE. Senese had been vice president for quality for Bellcore.
  • The IEEE won a US$464,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation for a two year project to develop interactive career guidance tools for pre-college and university students interested in engineering specialties.
  • IEEE inaugurated a new program called Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) to keep young members in IEEE as they transitioned from being students into their careers.

1996

  • IEEE introduced a windows-based version of its CD-ROM collection of IEEE and IEE (The Institution of Electrical Engineers) Journals, and renamed the product the IEEE/IEE electronic library (IEL).
  • IEEE Financial Advantage announced its first programs available to members outside the U.S. , including a mutual fund investment program, an IEEE credit card, and insurance programs in three countries.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors directed its restructuring committee to study the possibility of unbundling member fees and assessments, that is to convert mandatory charges into a menu of optional services. The most widespread example of such a charge was the mandatory assessments charged all members in the US for the USAB, and participation in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and The American Association of Engineering Societies. After consideration, the Board ultimately rejected the unbundling concept.
  • IEEE held its triennial sections congress 1-4 November in Denver, Colorado. 508 delegates attended, representing 228 of the 294 invited IEEE sections.
  • Also at this meeting, the IEEE board adopted “IEEE: Networking the World” as the institute’s slogan.

1997

  • The IEEE decided that henceforth its “brand” would simply be the letters IEEE, and that the use of the full name of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers would be restricted to legal documents. This change recognized the spread of IEEE’s areas of interest to include a broader scope of science and technologies.
  • At its November 1997 meeting, the IEEE board of directors approved Tier 1 of IEEE Strategies of the Future which consisted of the following mission statement: ‘ The IEEE promotes the engineering process of creating, developing, integrating, sharing, and applying knowledge about electro- and information-technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession.’ The overall document “Institute Strategies for the Future, 1998” was built around five goals; 1) Membership Development, 2) Enhanced Value, 3) Products and Technology, 4) Public Imperatives, and 5) Strengthened Culture and Image.
  • To encourage student memberships, IEEE reduced student dues from US $28 to US$19 in regions 1-7 and from US$20 to US$14 in regions 8-10. In addition, the cost of a subscription to IEEE Potentials for students in regions 8-10 was decreased from US$8 to US$5. Student members in regions 1-7 would continue to receive Potentials as part of their membership.
  • Nine IEEE societies offered their publications online through the institute’s secure OPeRA (On-line Periodicals and Research Area) website. The project had begun with four under the name JOLLY (Journals On-Line Launch Year) in 1986.
  • IEEE began accepting membership applications via the Internet.
  • ABET approached IEEE to provide an analysis of the feasibility of accrediting software engineering programs in the United States’ to respond to a growing number of schools and state boards of higher education seeking guidelines for their software engineering programs.
  • In the election for 1998 president elect/1999 president, petition candidate Ken Laker defeated board nominated candidates Joel Snyder and Donald Bolle.

1998

  • On January 1, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) was officially established, succeeding the IEEE Standards Board. In the most significant innovation, IEEE-SA sought corporate sponsorship for its activities, and accepted corporations and government organizations (in addition to individuals) as members. This was the first time that any IEEE entity welcomed corporate participation. In general, the IEEE-SA had greater autonomy and flexibility than the board it replaced.
  • The role of the Publications Board was formally expanded on January 1 to include internet and other electronic services.  This was a result of the bylaw changes approved by the IEEE Board of Directors in 1996. In recognition of this broader role, it was officially  renamed the Publication Services and Products Board in 2002.
  • The IEEE United States Activities Board officially became a more autonomous IEEE-USA on January 1. This was a result of the bylaw changes approved in 1996. The IEEE-USA name had been used informally for a number of years, but only now became official. As part of the changes, the IEEE-USA president became an office that was elected by a vote of the membership of IEEE-USA (that is all IEEE members in the U.S. regions 1-6). Previously the head of the USAB was the committee chair, who simultaneously held the position of IEEE Vice President for Professional Activities, and was elected by the IEEE Assembly.
  • The Board simplified the IEEE membership application process for members and associate members by removing requirements for references from a member due to its impracticality as IEEE expanded globally and engineers became more mobile.
  • There was an ongoing debate between IEEE-USA and other IEEE members over the U. S. H1-B visa program for skilled workers. The IEEE-USA was opposed to it as it allowed for the entry of high-tech workers from outside the USA. IEEE-USA felt the program contributed to wage depression and age discrimination in U.S. industries employing IEEE members.
  • Beginning with the 1998 election, the IEEE Vice President for Technical Activities would be elected by a vote of all IEEE members, rather than by a vote of the IEEE Assembly.
  • IEEE began offering IEEE email aliases to all IEEE members.This proved to be a very popular member service.
  • In November, IEEE put the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library online, making it available to subscribing institutions over the web, rather than on a collection of CDs in their libraries.

1999

  • Membership rose 5.2 percent to 352,000, of whom over 53,000 were student members. 35.2% of these members were outside the United States, up from 22.5% in 1989. IEEE Membership rose in all 10 IEEE regions. Region 10 witnessed highest growth rate showing how IEEE was fast becoming a global organization. Growth in membership also reflective of strong economies in the  US, the  Pacific Rim, India and East Europe. At least some of the growth Could r be attributed to introduction of new products by the IEEE including insurance programs and standards publications.
  • IEEE began a pilot test of Manuscript Central™, a software system designed to reduce the review period for peer-reviewed articles. Authors submitted papers electronically using any standard web browser, and the system then helped editors to track them through the entire peer-review process. Reviewers retrieved papers electronically in the standard .PDF format. The test was successful, and over the next few years, use of the system spread through IEEE’s societies and their publications.
  • The IEEE Online Catalog and Store opened on the web late in the year. For the first time, the full line of IEEE’s products were available for sale on the web, including book, conference proceedings, standards, mixed-media products and merchandise.
  • IEEE held its 1999 Honors Ceremony at the Banqueting House of London’s Whitehall Palace in June. It was the first time IEEE held this event outside North America.
  • IEEE held its triennial sections congress in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 8-11 October. Some 582 delegates, from 79 countries and 263 of the 297 IEEE sections attended.
  • For the first time, IEEE offered all members the opportunity to renew their memberships on line. This process was established in the fall of 1999 for the 2000 membership year.
  • Joel Snyder was elected 2000 president-elect/2001 president, winning the ballot over Raymond Findlay, Lloyd “Pete” Morley, and Edward Parrish. All four candidates had been nominated by the IEEE board.

2000

  • IEEE Xplore™ became generally available in over the course of the year to members, libraries, and non-members. It provided greatly enhanced level of Web access to IEEE technical collections. Users could browse table of contents, as well as search and view abstracts and table of contents for all IEEE /IEE publications back to 1988. Members could also browse, search and view full text of their personal subscriptions, and retrieve copies as PDF or HTML full text. Three different library packages made IEEE Xplore™ available to libraries, For large institutions, IEEE Xplore was an updated delivery platform for a improved version of IEL (IEEE/IEE Electronic Library) which had first been released in 1998.
  • As part of a yearlong celebration, IEEE awarded Millennium medals to 3,000 outstanding members around the world.
  • IEEE Spectrum expanded its online edition to include additional web-based content not available in the printed magazine.
  • IEEE began issuing a formal, stand-alone annual report, beginning with a report for 1999. This reinstituted a publication that had existed from 1980-1986.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors voted for the sixth straight year not to raise membership dues.
  • Raymond Findlay defeated Lloyd “Pete” Morley and Arthur Winston for the position of 2001 resident elect/2002 president. Findlay and Morley were board-nominated candidates; Winston was nominated by petition.

2001

  • In January, the Publications Board officially changed its name to the Publications Services and Prodcucts Board in recognition of its broadened scope of activities which included IEEE Xplore and other online services.
  • IEEE launched a global online jobsite as an expansion and improvement on a US-based site for six years by IEEE-USA.
  • In response to changes in the book market, IEEE Press established a partnership with publisher John Wiley and Sons to give the IEEE press access to the company’s worldwide marketing and sales organization and secure a home for IEEE’s book authors.
  • IEEE began a project to digitize and make available older journal issues and articles on IEEE Xplore®. Initially, the publications of 13 IEEE Societies were made available back into the 1950s
  • The IEEE Board approved the first IEEE dues increase since 1996. Dues for 2002 were increased by US$15 to US$101, chiefly in reflection of the increased costs associated with IEEE’s significant investment in Internet and Web applications.
  • Michael Adler defeated Arthur Winston and Paul Kostek for the positions of 2002 president-elect/2003 president. All three candidates had been nominated by the IEEE Board.

2002

  • In February, IEEE launched a new internet site, the IEEE Virtual Museum, with a variety of virtual exhibits designed to bring and explain technology to pre-college students, their parents, and teachers. In 2003, The American Library Association named it one of 22 new “great sites for kids” and PC Magazine named it one of its 101 Incredibly Useful Websites.” This website was retired in 2008. Much of its content was moved to the IEEE Global History Network.
  • An enhancement to IEEE Xplore® enabled IEEE members to immediately purchase single articles for a small flat-fee, and non-members for a higher fee.
  • In January of 2002, the IEEE, as a U.S. Corporation, took actions required by the U.S. Treasury Department trade regulations administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The IEEE informed members residing in the sanctioned countries of Iran, Cuba, Libya and Sudan that they were not able to take advantage of member benefits and services except for print subscriptions to IEEE publications. In particular, this meant that members in those countries could not contribute as authors, reviewers, or editors to IEEE publications. (See2004)
  • The IEEE Ethics Committee and the IEEE Member Conduct committee merged to form the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee (EMCC).
  • IEEE held its triennial sections Congress 2002 18-21 October  in Washington D.C. It was attended by 584 delegates representing 50 nations and 261 of the 298 IEEE sections.
  • The IEEE Standards Association launched the IEEE Standards Portal Network, with two geographically focused site—, StandardsAmericas™, and StandardsAsia™. StandardsEurope™ and StandardsAfrica™ followed in 2003.
  • The IEEE European Operations Center, located in Brussels, Belgium, closed on 31 December.
  • IEEE revised its voting procedures to return to election by simple plurality of the voting members. Since 1987, IEEE had used approval voting, where a voter could vote for as multiple candidates for an office.
  • Arthur Winston defeated Vijay Bhargava and Luis Gandia in the election for 2003 president-elect/2004 president. All three candidates had been nominated by the IEEE Board.

2003

  • Effective in January, IEEE’s newspaper, The Institute moved from monthly print publication to quarterly print publication and twelve monthly editions posted on The Institute’s web site.
  • The IEEE Member Digital Library (MDL) was introduced in January. It was a subscription offering that provided member access to 25 full text articles from IEEE Xplore® for a monthly subscription fee.
  • For the first time, the number of IEEE had more than 300 Sections—301 to be exact—thanks to the recently formed Tainan (Taiwan), Russia Northwest, and Russia Siberia Sections.
  • IEEE sponsored of co-sponsored a record 326 conferences around the world.
  • For the first time since 1996, IEEE membership declined in 2003. At year’s end membership was 361,128, a 5.6% decrease. Over two-thirds of the decline was the result of one of two factors 1) a requirement that IEEE Life members, who due to their status (65+ years of age and a combined age plus years of membership equal to at least 100) were exempt from paying dues, had to renew their membership by returning a form, and 2) an increase in student dues by US$11, and a reduction of the reduced dues period for new graduates from 5 to 1 year. Previously, life members were automatically renewed unless they canceled.
  • 2004 president-elect candidates Cleon Anderson and Michael R. Lightner disagreed on US H1-B visas. This had for several years been a topic of debate within IEEE IEEE-USA’s proposed that the U.S. government cut back on the number of these visas that were issued to high-tech workers. Lightner noted  that IEEE-USA is an advocate for engineers in the United States, not for engineers in other countries. The IEEE itself, as a global organization, looks after the welfare of engineers no matter where they live and no matter where they work, and this, he pointed out, is not IEEE-USA's purview. Those two "are on different missions," he said. "They will always have tensions, and we have to learn to live with those tensions.". Anderson noted that the H1-B program resembled more of an ‘indentured labor system’ and also allowed companies to get engineering skills by paying lesser wages to those on these visas. He agreed that the H1-B visa program is a US issue, it should be restricted to the IEEE- USA. However he agreed with IEEE-USA’s call for cutbacks in the visa numbers to 65,000., Lightner noted further that, as a transnational organizations, IEEE really doesn't have public policy positions that it promulgates to other countries around the world. Anderson however, noted that policy made in the United States affects the whole world, and therefore the IEEE needs to be influential in the United States, and the appropriate way is through public policy statements by IEEE-USA’

2004

  • After two years of IEEE effort, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ruled on 2 April 2004 that the IEEE's publishing process is exempt from OFAC regulations and licensing requirements for scholarly papers submitted by authors from Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan. OFAC issued general licenses that removed final lingering concerns about co-authorship and other joint professional activities, including electronic communications, with members in the embargoed countries. (see 2005)
  • IEEE Membership resumed its upward climb, increasing 1.2% to 365,483, fueled to a large extent by a rebound in student membership numbers. Region 10 (Asia and Pacific) became the largest region, with 63,548 members, including 18,254 students.
  • IEEE units such as societies, technical councils, and committees could now vote by e-mail on actions effecting their organizations, such as formal motions proposed by members. The Board of Directors approved this bylaw change at its November 2003 meeting. The move to e-mail voting did not apply to the IEEE Board of Directors and boards and committees that report directly to the Board. These included the Executive Committee and the boards of Educational Activities, Regional Activities, Technical Activities, Publication Services and Products, and IEEE-USA. New York state’s not-for-profit corporation law, which governs the IEEE, required such organizations to pass actions at a formal meeting or by written consent. The law did not yet recognize electronic transmission as a form of writing.
  • Popular Mechanics magazine named IEEE Standard 802.11g (Wi-Fi) the Grand Prize Winner for Computing in its list of the top 2003 technical innovations. The wireless router standard helped improve access to fixed-network local-area networks and boosted speed from 11 megabits to 54 megabits per second. The standard also was backward compatible with IEEE Standard 802.11b equipment.
  • IEEE Xplore, the document delivery system for all IEEE technical papers, articles, and standards, placed its one-millionth document online in January.
  • IEEE sponsored or co-sponsored 335 conferences, the largest of which (with 15,000 registrants) was the Optical Fiber Communications Conference, held in Los Angeles.
  • IEEE launched the IEEE Enterprise Online Library, which provided instant access to IEEE literature through IEEE Xplore to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
  • The Board of Directors approved a bylaw change at its November meeting to divide the IEEE student member grade into two categories: graduate student member and student member. The new graduate student grade went into effect in July 2006.
  • For the first time, IEEE members were able to cast their IEEE election votes online.
  • The IEEE membership voted to approve several changes to IEEE’s constitution, including a provision that the Vice President for Technical Activities be elected only by those members who were members of one of more IEEE Societies. Previously, all IEEE members, whether or not they were members of any technical societies, could vote for this office. Other changes aproved included removing any reference to the location of the IEEE’s corporate headquarters; allowing materials and votes to be sent to members of the IEEE Board by other means besides the U.S. Postal Service; and clarifying that “full age” for directors elected by the IEEE Assembly, as mentioned in the constitution, meant 18 years.
  • Michael Lightner was elected 2005 president-elect/2006 president, defeating James Tien and Levent Onural. All had been nominated by the IEEE Board.
  • On December 31, Daniel Senese retired after more nine years as IEEE Executive Director, IEEE’s chief staff officer.

2005

  • In January, IEEE began offering a members-only web portal “myIEEE” which provided customized entrée to IEEE’s online information and resources.
  • IEEE Xplore launched version 2.0 in March, with new features including enhanced search functions, an improved single-article purchase process, and individual journal home pages.
  • After almost four years of discussion in May, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control ruled that IEEE could legally recognize the Iran section as an IEEE unit. This ruling enabled IEEE president-elect Michael Lightner  to attend an international telecommunications conference in Shiraz, Iran in September. The four year embargo had led to a decrease in membership in the Iran section from 1,693 members to 423.
  • The IEEE began a project to digitize all of its journals back to their first issue and to post the articles online on IEEE Xplore.
  • IEEE sponsored or cosponsored 388 conferences, an increase of 16% from 2004.
  • IEEE Sections Congress 2005, held 14-17 October 2005 in Tampa, Fla., brought together 900 volunteers from 272 of the 311 IEEE sections all over the world to sharpen leadership skills, enhance knowledge of the IEEE, and network with other volunteers.
  • In November, Jeffry Raynes assumed the position of Executive Director and chief staff officer of IEEE.
  • Leah Jamieson was elected 2006 President-elect/2007 President defeating Gerald Peterson and James Tien. Jamieson and Peterson had been nominated by the IEEE Board; Tien by petition.

2006

  • In February, the IEEE Board approved a one word change to the IEEE Code of Ethics removing the word “engineering” from the first paragraph of the code. This change had been recommended by the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee (EMCC) so the wording would be more agreeable to members who did not consider themselves engineers.
  • IEEE, in partnership with IBM and the New York Hall of Science launched TryEngineering.org, a web portal for pre-university students and their teachers, counselors, and parents to explore the creativity of engineering. The goal was to encourage more young people to consider engineering as a career choice. IEEE had responsibility for content management and promotion, and IBM for technology and web site design. In 2007, its first full year of operation, the portal recorded over 2.5 million hits.
  • IEEE launched IEEE-TV, its own internet broadcasting network. It offered programs to provide members with timely technological updates, and  offered programs to the public  with information on important technology and engineering topics.
  • IEEE implemented a new program, the IEEE Mentoring Connection, to connect  young professionals and students with IEEE members who could help the former in their professional development.
  • IEEE sponsored, or cosponsored a record 540 conferences around the world.
  • Lewis Terman was elected 2007 president elect/2008 president, defeating John Vig. Both candidates had been nominated by the IEEE Board.

2007

  • IEEE Board of Directors approved new 10-15 year plan known as Envisioned Future which includes building on global networks, serving a global membership, working with governments of various countries and global advocacy through programs. The plan gave as IEEE’s core purpose “ to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.”
  • IEEE launched a new online shopping area (shop.ieee.org) as part of a major upgrade to its core business management system. With the new area, individuals could join the IEEE and its societies; renew their memberships; buy conference proceedings, standards, educational courses, and other products; and subscribe to IEEE publications in one online session.
  • In September, IEEE officially launched IEEE-TV, its own internet broadcasting network. It offered programs to provide members with timely technological updates, and programs to provide non-technical audiences with information on important technology and engineering topics. It had been introduced on a pilot basis in August 2006. By mid-2008, IEEE-TV had 55 programs offerings.
  • IEEE sponsored or co-sponsored a record 850 conferences.
  • IEEE ended the year with 376,328 members.
  • John Vig was elected 2008 president-elect/2009 president defeating Pedro Ray and Marc Apter. All three had been nominated by the IEEE Board.

2008

  • On January 1, the IEEE Engineering Management Society became the first society to become a council, the IEEE Technology Management Council, a change approved by the IEEE Board of Directors at its February meeting. Typically, councils become societies, not the reverse. There were operational reasons and strategic reasons for making the transition to a council. Also, a 2006 IEEE survey showed that many IEEE members would participate in engineering and technology management-related activities but would probably not join a society that dealt only with management. As a council, its members were 14 IEEE societies, rather than individuals.
  • On 1 January, the IEEE Regional Activities Board was renamed the IEEE Members and Geographic Activities Board. This was the result of a two-year restructuring that gave the board responsibility for all IEEE membership activities and membership development programs and activities.
  • The joint IEEE–United Nations Foundation’s Humanitarian Technology Challenge was launched early in the year as a three-year global advocacy project to bring together humanitarian aid workers and technologists. The program identified two areas for initial focus--public-health and disaster response and management.
  • IEEE inaugurated a representative office in Beijing to better serve the needs of the growing number of members in China, and coordinate the activities of the seven sections in that country.
  • IEEE Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Jeffry Raynes resigned “for personal and professional reasons,” effective 5 June.
  • The IEEE Executive Committee was eliminated by the Board of Directors at their November 2008 meeting, effective 1 January 2009.
  • The IEEE Board of Directors set a three- to five-year goal for the organization “to operate as a model global association” that reflects country-based needs and sensitivities and geographically representative governance. An ad hoc committee established earlier in the year gathered data on IEEE's our current performance in these matters and developed short- and long-term recommendations for the board.
  • IEEE launched a Public Visibility Initiative, a five-year communications program that sought to enhance both public visibility of IEEE and greater understanding about how engineering, computing, and technology benefit mankind.
  • The number of articles available on IEEE Xplore® passed 2,000,000.
  • IEEE launched the IEEE Global History Network as an open-content portal for the history of IEEE’s technical areas of interest  and institutional history and as a place for members to post their own stories.
  • IEEE’s triennial Section Congress, held 19 to 22 September in Quebec City drew a record of 1100 members, guests, and staff from 89 countries and 293 of the 329 IEEE sections. Among the featured events were core track training sessions that explained the transition from the Regional Activities Board to the Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board, more than 60 training seminars, the IEEE Honors Ceremony, and a panel discussion in which IEEE presidents reflected on how they first became involved with the organization.
  • IEEE sponsored or co-sponsored 973 conferences.
  • IEEE ended the year with 382,400 members, 45.1% of whom were from outside the United States.
  • Pedro Ray won election as 2009 president-elect/2009 president, defeating Moshe Kam. Both candidates were board nominees.

2009

  • IEEE celebrated its 125th anniversary with a slogan “125 Years of Engineering the Future” and a series of celebrations around the world, an IEEE Engineering the Future Media Roundtable webcast, in March, and for students, the Presidents’ Change the World competition which invited student teams to identify a real-world problem and develop a solution using engineering, science, computing, and leadership skills to benefit the community or humanity. Students from Stanford University won the competition, and a prize of US $10 000 for their hand-held diagnostic lab.  The IEEE History Center prepared a PowerPoint slide show on the History of IEEE and its technologies that was shown at IEEE venues around the world.
  • The engineering honor society Eta Kappa Nu  (HKN)and IEEE announced their merger. The IEEE Board of Directors and HKN’s Board of Governors signed the merger agreement on 14 February in a ceremony held during the IEEE BOD meeting series in San Juan , Puerto Rico . More than 100 HKN members attended. The merger was the result of a three-year effort involving volunteers and staff members from both organizations. When the merger closed in fall 2010, HKN became IEEE's honor society.
  • E. James “Jim” Prendergast became IEEE executive director on 6 April succeeding Jeffry W. Raynes, who resigned the previous June.
  • Moshe Kam defeated Joseph Lillie and Jose R. “Roberto” Boisson de Marca for election as 2010 president elect/2011 president. All three candidates were board-nominees.
  • IEEE set its all-time record for membership in 2009, ending the year with 397, 001 members.


2010

  • IEEE announced plans to offer a reduced-price electronic membership option for the 2011 membership year will be offered to those living in the 124 countries where the per capita gross domestic product is US $15 000 or less, as determined by the United Nations.
  • The IEEE dedicated the 100th IEEE Milestone in Electrical and Computer Engineering for the Invention of Public Key Cryptography, 1969-1975. The milestone had been proposed by the IEEE UKRI section. The milestone dedication took place on 5 October 2010 at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Cheltenham, England
  • On October 29, the IEEE opened an office in India's Bangalore central business district to increase its presence that country.
  • Gordon W. Day defeated Joseph V. Lillie for election as 2011 president-elect/ 2012 president. Both candidates were board nominees.
  • IEEE ended the year with a record membership of 407,541, an increase of 2.7 percent over 2009.