Tag Archives: the-institute

U.S. Mint Honors Game Developer Ralph Baer

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-history/us-mint-honors-game-developer-ralph-baer

THE INSTITUTE Gamers and coin collectors alike can now celebrate Ralph Baer’s contributions with an American Innovation dollar from the U.S. Mint. Baer, an IEEE Fellow who is considered the father of the video game, developed the Brown Box, which paved the way for modern home video game consoles including the PlayStation and Xbox.

The Brown Box offered table tennis, football, and other games. It let people play on almost any television and thus spawned the commercialization of interactive video games.

The New Hampshire American Innovation coin, which recognizes the first in-home video game console, mimics an arcade token. It depicts a Brown Box game—handball—on one side. On the other side, the words New Hampshire and Player 1 are engraved on a stamped background. The words In-home video game system and Baer’s name encircle the outside in text that is meant to pay homage to Baer’s Odyssey game.

The coin “honors a story wherein an individual, Ralph H. Baer, made a great and positive difference in our lives and that would not have happened without the time, place, and opportunity that his life in America presented,” his son Mark said in an interview with the Manchester, N.H., Ink Link. “It is good to keep that in mind, particularly in these divisive times. To be sure, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate.”

The mint began the American Innovation dollar coin series in 2018 to showcase innovations from particular states or territories. The series is scheduled to run through 2032.

THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST CONSOLE

Baer sketched out his idea for the gaming console in 1966 outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. He brought his idea to Sanders Associates—now part of BAE Systems—a defense contractor in Nashua, N.H., where he worked. An intrigued manager gave Baer US $2,500 for materials and assigned two engineers from the company to help him develop a prototype.

The Brown Box, a soundless multiplayer system, included clear plastic overlay sheets that could be taped to the player’s TV screen to add color, playing fields, and other graphics. The console ran games off printed-circuit-board cartridges.

In 1968 the company licensed the system to television maker Magnavox, which named it the Odyssey. The company offered it in the United States in 1972 and sold 130,000 units the first year.

Baer’s 1971 patent on a “television gaming and training apparatus,” the first U.S. patent for video game technology, was based on the Brown Box.

The console was named an IEEE Milestone in 2015. Administered by the IEEE History Center, the Milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments from around the world.

Baer’s original video games are on display in the Innovation Wing at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

NSF Engineering Alliance to Help Set Course for Research

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/nsf-engineering-alliance-to-help-set-course-for-research

THE INSTITUTE A new initiative is expected to give engineers of all disciplines a greater role to play in deciding which research and development projects the U.S. government funds.

The National Science Foundation Directorate for Engineering recently launched the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA), the first organization of its kind. ERVA received a five-year, US $8 million award from the NSF, which also funds much of the country’s research.

The alliance is expected to bring together representatives from across the engineering community—including academia, industry, and professional societies—to define and prioritize high-impact fundamental research addressing national, global, and societal needs. ERVA says it will recommend research topics to the NSF it believes the agency ought to fund.

The alliance’s founding partners include the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the nonprofit EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)/IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Foundation, and the University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP).

IEEE is one of more than a dozen professional engineering societies that have joined as affiliate partners. The organizations plan to participate in the alliance’s events and have the opportunity to contribute ideas.

NSF hopes the initiative will spur advances.

“When engineers come together behind a big challenge, we create amazing discoveries and innovations that can lead to exciting new fields,” Dawn Tilbury, NSF assistant director for engineering and an IEEE Fellow, said in a news release announcing the alliance.

A UNIFIED VOICE

IEEE Fellow Barry W.Johnson is the alliance’s founding executive director and its co-principal investigator. He says that what is unique about ERVA is that it is bringing in the entire engineering community—not just electrical engineers but also mechanical engineers, civil engineers, biomedical engineers, and others.

Rather than having 20 or 30 professional societies speaking on behalf of a technology individually, he says, “we want ERVA to communicate with a consistent, unified voice.”

Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, is familiar with how the NSF decides to fund programs. From March 2015 to January 2019 he was appointed to work at the foundation as director of its Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. He also has served as an acting NSF assistant director responsible for the agency’s Directorate for Engineering.

What is most unusual about ERVA, Johnson says, is its strong emphasis on the participants’ diversity, including their different geographic areas and disciplines, as well as being at different career stages.

“We’ll then supplement them with individuals from the science communities so that we get a true, multidisciplinary group,” he says. “We believe that the future is going to reside in multidisciplinary activities.”

Johnson says the NSF traditionally has focused on ideas “bubbling up from the research community.” An individual or organization would submit a proposal to the foundation, which would then vet it for funding. Another method the foundation has used to identify research topics is what Johnson calls visioning sessions. They might include workshops in which participants, including NSF program directors, identify new and emerging topics within a technical area before they become commonplace—for example, quantum computing.

ERVA’s process will begin with surveys of the research community to help identify potential research themes, Johnson says. The process is likely to include the use of research intelligence based on analyses of publication and patent databases.

Once a potential theme is identified, a task force of eight to 12 experts will conduct the visioning process and issue a report to ERVA’s leadership that includes recommendations, Johnson says. Once the report is finalized, he adds, it will be shared broadly with the engineering community including university professors and researchers at companies that might want to get involved.

“What NSF really wants to accomplish is to be proactive in identifying new and emerging areas so that it achieves its vision to be the global leader in research and innovation,” Johnson says.

The alliance will engage with other federal agencies that fund basic research, such as the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy, he says.

THE STRUCTURE

ERVA’s principal investigator is Dorota A.Grejner-Brzezinska, vice president for knowledge enterprise at Ohio State University. In addition to Johnson, the ERVA co-principal investigators are IEEE Fellows Charles Johnson-Bey and Edl Shamiloglu, and UIDP President and CEO Anthony M.Boccanfuso. An advisory board has been established as well as a standing council, which Johnson calls the “intellectual brain trust of the organization.” It is expected to help identify technologies the alliance should consider.

The three groups met for the first time virtually on 11 June. A video of the meeting is available.

Johnson is looking to hire a full-time executive director to oversee the organization and its full-time staff.

CALL TO ACTION FOR IEEE MEMBERS

Johnson wants IEEE members who are experts in specific technologies to help the alliance with the visioning activity by subscribing to be an ERVA Champion. There are already more than 400. He also calls on IEEE members to provide the alliance with ideas for research themes.

“The key thing about the ERVA is getting ideas from the broad engineering community,” he says, “with IEEE being a critical component.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Cybersecurity Training Program Teaches How to Fend Off Attacks

Post Syndicated from Johanna Perez original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-products-services/cybersecurity-training-program-teaches-how-to-fend-off-attacks

THE INSTITUTE During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many organizations to transition from office work to working from home. The initial shift created an increase in cyberattacks, though, as cybercriminals tried to exploit weak network security.

A recent attack on Colonial Pipeline, for example, disrupted the company’s gasoline supplies. The pipeline’s operator paid US $4.4 million in Bitcoin to get its data back, according to news reports.

With workers beginning to return to the office either full time or on a hybrid work schedule, companies could be more at risk of cyberattacks. In a recent Tessian survey, 56 percent of IT leaders said employees established bad cybersecurity habits while working remotely. The survey also found that leaders are increasingly worried about ransomware attacks. Many organizations and government agencies are reassessing their cybersecurity protocols.

Ekram Ahmed, spokesman for cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies, told Vox, “We’re seeing a staggering 102 percent overall increase in the number of organizations affected by ransomware this year, compared to the beginning of 2020.”

PROTECTING YOUR DATA

“Cybersecurity training should be a part of the onboarding process for all new employees,” IT Governance says, “and include examples of security incidents and the details of colleagues to contact if they think they have fallen victim” to an attack. Organizations also should conduct regular simulated phishing attacks to ensure employee awareness, experts say.

IEEE Educational Activities has partnered with ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance, to offer the ISACA Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) training platform to organizations as a partner solution that complements IEEE’s research, standards, and education programs.

The CSX program provides real-world cybersecurity training to help professionals identify and mitigate potential cyberattacks through hands-on, performance-based courses in a live network environment. The on-demand program is presented in a self-paced format.

The CSX platform includes:

  • Instructional courses and labs in a sandbox environment that safely replicates the world practitioners work in every day. The courses enable technical teams to build, practice, and test their skills in a live environment.
  • Technical skill-set training, from beginner to advanced.
  • A dashboard to review team performance, with real-time progress-tracking.
  • More than 300continuing professional education credit hours that can be applied toward earning the CSX cybersecurity practitioner certification as well as similar credentials.

Learn how you can help your IT professionals and other employees build critical cybersecurity skills with the CSX platform.

A CSX benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Standards Take Online Gaming to the Next Level

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-products-services/standards-take-online-gaming-to-the-next-level

THE INSTITUTE It’s no surprise that with people staying home more because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global online gaming market, including e-sports and cloud gaming, has grown by record amounts. The industry grew nearly 22 percent last year and generated more than US $21 billion in revenue, according to Statista. The consumer data company estimates there are currently 981 million online gamers and forecasts that number to surpass 1 billion by next year.

E-sports is one of the most popular game forms. Statista reported that last year there were about half a billion e-sports followers. Team competitions are played at stadiums around the world before thousands of fans watching on screens and many more streaming the event from Twitch or a similar website. Dota 2 and Fortnite are among the most popular games. Some winners earn millions of dollars. In-person tournaments are expected to be held again once COVID-19 restrictions ease.

International e-sports organizations have been established in the past few years to professionalize the pastime.

Cloud gaming is catching on because users can stream games stored on a remote server to their mobile device, eliminating the need for gaming consoles and PCs. People can play games on different devices, access content through apps or browsers, or share the game with others. Grand View Research forecasts the size of the global cloud gaming market to reach more than $7 billion by 2027.

With the growing popularity of both types of online games come concerns that the industry isn’t doing enough to address issues that might slow down its progress.

They include the lack of technical standards to address bandwidth, connectivity, interoperability, and latency issues. Other concerns include security risks from viruses, Trojan horses, and plug-ins. The need to prevent cheating and ways to improve the quality of the live events and streaming sessions are other areas that need attention.

The new IEEE Computer Society Online Gaming Standards Committee plans to address the challenges. It is developing technical standards to cover online gaming and e-sports development, publishing, and operations, and has established two working groups: Technology for Electronic Sports and Cloud Gaming.

Here is an overview of what each group is working on.

IMPROVING INTEGRITY AND PRODUCTION VALUE

As with other professional sports, players in e-sports tournaments compete for titles and cash prizes. Some players try to obtain an advantage by cheating. In e-sports, cheating is often done by using technology to slow down or disable an opponent or fix a match.

IEEE P2946, Guide for Electronic Sports Integrity, creates a uniform guide to stop, detect, and record cheating. The document includes procedures and methods to prevent identity theft, the fixing of matches, and the unauthorized use of devices. The guide includes a review of technologies that could help stop fraud, such as facial recognition; voiceprint comparison; and position, plug-in, and spoofing detection programs.

Spectators who watch e-sports tournaments increasingly want a better immersive experience during live broadcasts. IEEE P2947, Guide for Broadcasting Electronic Sports Events, addresses the technical aspects of how live matches are presented. The standard covers how to handle the coding, recording, and transmission of in-match action. In addition, it considers contingency plans should a live broadcast be interrupted, such as backing up the data and the user profiles.

COMMON FRAMEWORK FOR CLOUD GAMING

Key technical features and components of a cloud gaming system are different from those of traditional mobile games, so a standardized framework is needed. IEEE P2948, Standard for Framework and Definitions for Cloud Gaming, details the roles and streaming modules of cloud gaming from the perspective of users and the system. The framework provides a reference architecture for the design and construction of games. In addition, the standard defines and categorizes genres of games and their technical requirements.

Because cloud gaming involves streaming from remote servers, it can have disadvantages compared with traditional games, including poor audio and video quality. IEEE P2949, Recommended Practice for the Evaluation of Cloud Gaming User Experiences, aims to improve that by creating a comprehensive set of evaluation methods and models and a description of what the user experience should be. The document addresses how to evaluate audio and video quality as well as the stability of games.

SEEKING PARTICIPATION

Whether your background is in game development or e-sports tournament organizing, or even if you’re simply a dedicated gamer with a passion for seeing the industry reach its potential, consider joining the IEEE Computer Society Online Gaming Standards Committee.

To receive updates about the committee and its working groups, subscribe to the public e-mail distribution list.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Adobe Cofounder Charles Geschke Dies at 81

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/adobe-cofounder-charles-geschke-dies-at-81

Charles M. Geschke

Adobe cofounder

Honorary member, 81; died 16 April

Geschke helped create Adobe in 1982 with John Warnock, his colleague from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California. Their first Adobe product was PostScript, whose pivotal technology helped spark the desktop publishing revolution.

Geschke earned a bachelor’s degree in classics in 1962 from Xavier University, in Cincinnati, where the next year he earned a master’s degree in mathematics. He then became a math professor at John Carroll University, just outside Cleveland. He left JCU in 1968 to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at Carnegie Mellon under the advice of IEEE Fellow William Wulf.

After gaining his doctorate in 1972, Geschke joined PARC. His first project was to help build a mainframe computer. He also worked on writing programming languages and developed software tools that were used to build the Xerox Star workstation. In 1978 he established the PARC Imaging Sciences Laboratory, where he conducted research in graphics, optics, and image processing. He and Warnock developed Interpress, a page-description language that could be used to control the company’s laser printers. Unable to convince Xerox management of the commercial value of Interpress, the two left the company to start Adobe.

Geschke was chief operating officer of the company from 1986 to 1994 and president from 1989 until he retired in 2000. He served as chairman of the board with Warnock from 1997 to 2017 and a member of the board until April 2020, when he was named emeritus board member.

He received several awards for his work, including a 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, a 2008 Computer Entrepreneur Award from the IEEE Computer Society, and the 2006 American Electronics Association Medal of Achievement.

He was awarded an IEEE honorary membership in 2000.


Ferial El-Hawary

Former IEEE Canada president

Fellow, 78; died 6 May

El-Hawary was an active IEEE volunteer who served as president of IEEE Canada in 2008 and 2009. She was married to former IEEE Canada President Mo El-Hawary, who died in 2019.

A member of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, she was a vice president of the society’s administrative committee and chair of its membership development committee. She helped establish the society’s Canadian Atlantic chapters.

She was the chair of IEEE Canada’s Eastern Canada Council and a member of the IEEE Women in Engineering committee when she died.

El-Hawary served as editor in chief of The Ocean Engineering Handbook and associate editor of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering.

She was president and cofounder of BH Engineering Systems. She formerly was a professor of engineering at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, N.S., Canada. She established and directed the Modeling and Signal Analysis Research Laboratory at the university, and she researched control and signal processing for ocean engineering applications.

El-Hawary and her husband helped establish the Higher Engineering Research Institute in Rio de Janeiro in 1972.

She received IEEE Canada’s 2001 Read Award, a 2000 IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and the 1997 IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Distinguished Service Award.

El-Hawary received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Alexandria University, in Egypt; a master’s degree in EE from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada; and a Ph.D. in ocean engineering from Memorial University in Canada.


Mark Reed

Nanotechnology pioneer

Fellow, 66; died 5 May

Reed coined the term quantum dots in the 1980s to describe tiny nanostructures that exhibit quantum confinement over all three dimensions. Today the term is widely used in semiconductor lasers, telecommunication devices, biomedical imaging, and drug delivery.

He joined the Yale faculty in 1990 after working at Texas Instruments in Dallas, and he taught electrical engineering and applied physics there for more than 30 years. He was director of undergraduate studies for electrical engineering.

While at Yale, he demonstrated the first quantum dot device and developed the first conductance measurement of a single molecule, the first single-molecule transistor, and CMOS nanowire biosensors.

He authored more than 200 papers and six books, and he was granted 33 patents on quantum effect, heterojunction, and molecular devices.

Reed served as editor in chief of the journals Nanotechnology and Nano Futures, and he held numerous editorial and advisory board positions.

He received a 2007 Pioneer Award from the IEEE Nanotechnology Council.

Reed received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in physics from Syracuse University, in New York.


Ram Gopal Gupta

Chair of the IEEE India Council

Senior member, 72; died 24 April

Gupta worked for India’s Ministry of Information Technology for more than 40 years, becoming senior director.

At the time of his death, he was chair of the IEEE India Council, which coordinates IEEE activities in the country. He served as the 2007–2008 chair of the IEEE Delhi Section .

He received a Ph.D. in nuclear instrumentation in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.


Maurice Papo

Former vice president of IEEE Member and Geographic Activities

Life Fellow, 93; died 17 April

Papo was an active IEEE volunteer for almost 25 years and in 2001 served as vice president of IEEE Regional Activities Board, now Member and Geographic Activities.

He began volunteering in 1983 when he joined the executive committee of the IEEE France Section . He went on to serve as 1997–1998 director of Region 8 (Europe, Middle East and Africa) . While director, Papo established the positions of vice chairs. He helped change the procedures for award nominations and elections, increasing the number of candidates who could be nominated and run. He also was involved in rewriting Region 8’s bylaws.

He served as secretary for the IEEE Educational Activities and Publication Services and Products boards.

Papo had worked for IBM for 35 years, holding several executive positions in Europe and the United States, primarily as an R&D director. After leaving IBM, he became an independent consultant.

The holder of more than 75 international patents, he received two bachelor’s degrees—one from École Polytechnique and the other from Télécom, both in Paris.


C. Sidney Burrus

Former Rice dean of engineering

Life Fellow, 86; died 3 April

Burrus was a member of the electrical and computer engineering faculty at Rice University, in Houston, for 50 years before retiring. He helped develop the curriculum there for the first course in digital signal processing in 1968 alongside fellow faculty member Tom Parks.

Burrus received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Rice in 1958 and 1960. He then served in the U.S. Navy from 1960 to 1962 and taught electrical engineering at the Navy’s nuclear power school, in New London, Conn. After being honorably discharged, he studied electrical engineering at Stanford and earned his Ph.D. there in 1965. He joined the Rice engineering faculty after graduating.

During his career at Rice, he served in several leadership positions. He chaired the electrical and computer engineering department from 1984 to 1992 and directed the Computer and Information Technology Institute from 1992 to 1998. He was dean of engineering from 1998 to 2005 and was interim dean in 2010 and 2011.

The university’s engineering school in November established a teaching and research position in his honor.

Burrus originally specialized in nonlinear analysis but decided to pursue digital signal processing later in his career. He and Parks were interested in digital filters—what they do, how to design them, and how to implement them—according to a 1998 oral history conducted by the IEEE History Center.

“We were interested in algorithms and variations on fast Fourier transforms,” Burrus said. In the mid-1980s, Burrus and Parks published two books that included a unified theory of FFTs and Fortran programs.

For his work, Burrus received the 2009 IEEE Kilby Signal Processing Medal.


Isamu Akasaki

Nobel laureate

Life Fellow, 92; died 1 April

Akasaki helped develop blue light–emitting diodes, a breakthrough in the development of LEDs that earned him a 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics. He shared the award with Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, in Japan. He also received the 2011 IEEE Edison Medal and the 2012 IEEE Kilby Signal Processing Medal.

After graduating from Kyoto University, in Japan, in 1952, Akasaki worked for the IT company Kobe Kogyo, now called Fujitsu, in Tokyo. He left there in 1959 to attend Nagoya University, where in 1964 he received a Ph.D. in engineering.

After graduating he worked for the Matsushita Research Institute in Tokyo for a few years before returning to Nagoya University in 1981 as a professor in the electronics department. Although Akasaki began working on GaN-based blue LEDs in the late 1960s, it wasn’t until 1985 that he succeeded in growing high-quality crystals of the semiconductor gallium nitride, according to his biography on the Nobel website. He began working at Nagoya University with Amano, who was his graduate student at the time. By the late 1980s they had managed to generate blue light from their chips. Around the same time, Nakamura, who was working at chemical company Nichia in Tokushima, built on their breakthrough to produce a bright-blue LED that would eventually enable the chips to be applied to lighting.

Their invention of blue light–emitting diodes led the way for a vast wave of light sources that are less expensive, more durable and environmentally safer than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, according to the Nobel website.

Akasaki left Nagoya University in 1992 to join the faculty of Meijo University, also in Nagoya. He directed its research center for nitride semiconductor core technologies.


Artur Ziviani

Computer science researcher

Senior member, 47; died 24 March

Ziviani was a senior researcher at Brazil’s National Laboratory of Scientific Computation, in Rio de Janeiro. He led its Data Extreme Lab research group and coordinated its graduate program in computational modeling.

He died due to complications from COVID-19.

Ziviani worked as a visiting researcher in 2008 at the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology in Rocquencourt. He was awarded a merit research fellowship from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.

He conducted research in the characterization, modeling, and analysis of computer networks, as well as network science, data science, and machine learning. He did interdisciplinary data science research with a networking approach applied to areas including digital health, energy, biodiversity, and bioinformatics.

An active member of the IEEE Communications Society, he was on the editorial board of several of the society’s journals including the IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials. He served on the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative steering committee.

Ziviani received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electronic engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Sorbonne Université, in Paris.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

A Passionate Proponent of Professional Ethics for Engineers

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/a-passionate-proponent-of-professional-ethics-for-engineers

THE INSTITUTE Since the 1970s, Walter Elden has been one of the staunchest supporters of providing professional ethics programs for IEEE members. The life senior member has been actively involved in encouraging the organization to offer ethics conduct enforcement, support, and resources.

Elden says he was inspired to take up the cause after several life-changing events. In one, he testified in a court case about the cause of a deadly mobile-home fire. There also was a forced resignation, as well as his participation in several legal cases IEEE was involved in regarding the duty engineers have to practice ethically.

Those events, he says, persuaded him to “get involved professionally in IEEE and support my fellow engineer members in practicing ethically and to protect the public from unsafe designs.”

Elden has had a long, successful career. He has worked on several large projects involving designing telemetry components for U.S.military equipment such as missiles, satellite launchers, high-altitude research balloons, and fighter jets.

He also has served on several IEEE ethics and industry-related standards committees.

FROM MUSICIAN TO ENGINEER

When Elden was growing up in Miami, music was his passion. He began taking formal violin lessons when he was 11. In junior high and high school, he served as a concertmaster, the violinist who relays the conductor’s ideas to the rest of the orchestra. His talent earned him a music scholarship to the University of Miami.

His goal was to become a music conductor for either a high school or college, he says, but the Korean War changed that. After one year at the university, Elden enlisted in the U.S.Navy in 1951. The Navy trained him in aviation electronics and sonar. After assisting a field engineer with installing and testing a new radar altimeter in planes, Elden decided to become an engineer.

“That experience convinced me to switch from music to engineering,” he said, “and to become educated in designing equipment, rather than just testing and maintaining it as a technician.”

After the war, Elden enrolled at the University of Florida, in Gainesville. While there he joined IEEE’s predecessor societies, the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

A course on engineering professionalism and ethics that Elden took in 1957 at the university persuaded him to become a licensed professional engineer because, he says, “That’s the mark of what an engineer should be like.” Professional engineers must perform under a standard of behavior that adheres to the highest principles of ethical conduct to protect the public, he says. He earned his PE license in Florida in 1974.

CAREER BEGINNINGS

Elden’s first job after graduating in 1958 with an electrical engineering degree with honors was as a systems engineer with The Martin Co., an aerospace manufacturer in Orlando. After two years there, Elden decided he wanted to get experience designing and developing electronics equipment, so he moved to Houston in 1960 to work for Dresser Electronics. There he developed one of the signal conditioning modules used to test the Minuteman missile. He took night classes at the University of Houston and in 1962 earned a master’s degree in electronics engineering.

He returned to Florida and rejoined Martin in 1966 for a few years. He then worked for several other companies including Dynatronix, Honeywell and NCR. He returned to Martin in 1971, then left in 1974. He says he was forced to resign “under coercion” for promoting professionalism and ethics to other engineers.

His last position was with Harris, in Melbourne, which he worked at from 1980 until retiring in 1996. In his final assignment, as a system architect, he worked on upgrading the U.S. Defense Department’s messaging system.

ETHICS CHAMPION

The 1970s were pivotal years for Elden’s involvement with ethics issues at work and at IEEE. He presented papers about professionalism, ethics, licensure, and product safety at major conferences. The IEEE Orlando (Fla.) Section named him Engineer of the Year in 1974 for his work on behalf of professional activities.

Later that year he was retained as a PE to investigate the cause of a mobile-home fire that killed two children. He testified as an expert witness.

That experience, he says, led him to have a greater respect for safety measures taken by engineers and manufacturers. To avoid causing harm to the public is their paramount duty, he says.

After Elden lost his job at Martin, he became active with IEEE’s Committee on Social Implications of Technology, which at the time was the group that tackled ethical dilemmas that IEEE members encountered. IEEE had modernized its Code of Ethics in response to a constitutional change in 1972. It added professional activities, allowing the committee to get involved with ethics issues tied to members’ professional activities. The code and the committee were put to the test in three prominent cases.

LANDMARK CASES

The first incident involved three IEEE members who were employed as engineers by the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, in California. The engineers had found safety discrepancies in the design of BART’s automatic train control system and brought the problems to their supervisor’s attention. Getting no results, they reported their concerns to upper management. That led to their firing, and they sued BART for damages.

IEEE’s Committee on Social Implications of Technology conducted its own investigation—led by its chair, IEEE Member Stephen Unger—which urged IEEE to intervene in the lawsuit. In early 1975 IEEE attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief. The brief argued that engineers, under the “public policy exception rule,” have an implied contract to the effect that they have an obligation to practice ethically. To be terminated for doing so would be a violation of the rule, the brief said. The case was settled out of court.

In 1978 Elden helped form the IEEE Member Conduct Committee, now part of the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee. The MCC was empowered to discipline members who violated IEEE’s Code of Ethics and to provide advice and ethical support to members whose employment was jeopardized for striving to uphold the code. In 1979 IEEE approved supporting Member Virginia Edgerton, an engineer who had been fired for striving to correct degradation in the New York City 911 system that resulted from the implementation of a new police dispatch system. She was not rehired, and the city did not acknowledge any problem with its 911 system, according to a 1979 article in the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.

The MCC accepted a case in 1988 involving Life Member Salvador Castro, who had found a design defect in one of his employer’s infant incubators and tried to get it corrected. The company refused to fix the flaw, and Castro was fired. The case is still in court in Pennsylvania.

CHANGES TO ETHICS ADVICE AND SUPPORT

IEEE established an Ethics Committee in the mid-1990s, then terminated it in 1998. In the early 2000s, the committee was later combined with the MCC to form the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee. But Elden says the EMCC lost a core power that the MCC had when in 1998 the IEEE Board of Directors terminated the Ethics Committee.

He has been working to strengthen the services ever since. In 2017, he, Unger and other IEEE members formed the Concerned Ethics Volunteers to present their concerns to IEEE leadership.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

In 2019 the IEEE Board of Directors approved an ad hoc committee on diversity, inclusion, and professional ethics. Its subcommittee on professional ethics has been working to streamline and merge all of IEEE organizational units’ various ethics and conduct codes into one. It also was tasked with developing training and outreach programs to raise awareness among members and volunteers about IEEE’s Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.

Last year the Board of Directors approved a set of revisions to the ethics code—which included commitments to privacy and to not engage in harassment. This year the organization revised its reporting process for professional ethics violations.

CONTINUED ADVOCACY

Elden says he would like to see more done, and in 2018 proposed a list of recommendations.

He has spent the past several years compiling a history of IEEE’s ethics activities in a repository, which is housed in the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.

Now 89, Elden says he is ready to pass on the responsibility to younger members. After all, he notes, ethical dilemmas for engineers haven’t gone away. He cites recent instances such as the Volkswagen emissions scandal and the Boeing 737 Max disaster.

A proper ethical outlook is essential, he says, and young engineers’ “future careers depend on it.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Free Access to Thousands of COVID-19 Research Documents

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-products-services/free-access-to-thousands-of-covid19-research-documents

IEEE COVID-19 coverage logo, link to landing page

THE INSTITUTE Experts say the COVID-19 virus is likely to be around for some time, even with vaccines, as it continues to spread and mutate. There are still many unknowns, so it’s important to keep researching the coronavirus. That’s why IEEE is making thousands of COVID-related research documents that have been published in its journals available for free.

The open-access documents can be found in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library. There are nearly 2,400 of them, including articles, conference proceedings, and technical standards.

“Some of the content predates COVID but was chosen for its connection to past coronaviruses or other respiratory diseases,” Bill Trippe says. He’s the senior product manager for IEEE Academic Markets and is helping to curate the documents. “IEEE has this unique portfolio, and there’s no other publisher producing this kind of material.”

Here are the five most downloaded articles as of press time.

1. “Early Prediction of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in the Mainland China Based on Simple Mathematical Model

In this March 2020 study published in IEEE Access, the researchers presented an early prediction model of the coronavirus based on the susceptible-infected-removed epidemic model. Focusing on the infection rate and virus removal rate, they designed several experiments to simulate the spreading of the virus under different preventative measures taken to stop the spread as well as various forms of medical care.

2. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumers: Preparing for Digital Sales

Published in IEEE Engineering Management Review, this article explores how the pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce and whether there will be long-lasting effects on the marketplace after the crisis eases. The study looked at how companies are using technologies such as augmented reality to improve the shopping experience. The researcher also included recommendations for how specific industries, such as hotels, can improve their offerings.

3. “Characterizing the Propagation of Situational Information in Social Media During COVID-19 Epidemic: A Case Study on Weibo”

During the pandemic, people have turned to social media platforms such as Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to find and share information about the virus. Such situational information is valuable to the public and government agencies in learning how to respond to the pandemic, according to the authors of this 2020 study. The researchers used natural language processing techniques to identify COVID-related information from Weibo posts and then classified the data into seven types of situational information, such as advice, donations, and emotional support. The research was published in IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems.

4. “A Comprehensive Review of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Role of IoT, Drones, AI, Blockchain, and 5G in Managing Its Impact

The study, published in IEEE Access, provides an overview of the pandemic as well as past ones. It also looks at the impact the virus has had on aviation, construction, telecommunications, tourism, and other industries. The researchers cover several emerging technologies that could be used to lessen the pandemic’s impact, such as drones to deliver medicines and wearables for health monitoring.

5. “COVID-19 Artificial Intelligence Diagnosis Using Only Cough Recordings”

This paper, published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology, was highlighted in an IEEE Spectrum article late last year. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma used machine learning models to accurately detect coronavirus infections from cellphone recordings of coughs. The researchers were able to diagnose COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals 100percent of the time.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

IEEE’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Post Syndicated from IEEE original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/ieees-commitment-to-diversity-equity-and-inclusion

THE INSTITUTE On Monday, 28 June, IEEE’s Board of Directors took an important step in our collective journey toward an inclusive and equitable culture that welcomes, engages, and rewards all who contribute to the field, without regard to race, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

“IEEE continues its strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our work and across our professions. Given our mission, focused on the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity, IEEE collaborates globally with all our stakeholders and seeks to maintain an open and inclusive platform for our authors. I’m pleased with the IEEE Board of Directors unanimous approval of a policy that recognizes the importance that authors place on managing their own name and identity,” says Susan K. (Kathy) Land, 2021 IEEE president and CEO.

To fully align IEEE’s actions with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, IEEE’s Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) and the IEEE Board of Directors voted to permit authors who change their preferred name, due to marriage or divorce, religious conversion, gender alignment or any other reason, to modify the metadata associated with their IEEE publications upon successful validation of the identity of the requesting author.

Larry Hall, vice president, IEEE Publication Services and Products, replied, “I’m quite pleased that the Board was able to make substantial progress in addressing the needs of our author community in concert with progressive industry practice. We will continue to work on issues related to removing impediments and expanding access for all researchers who have something to contribute to the scholarly conversation.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

A Deep Dive Into IEEE’s Recent History

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-history/a-deep-dive-into-ieees-recent-history

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE History Center has chronicled the last 37 years of the organization and the impact it has had on electrical engineering in the 21st century. “History of IEEE Since 1984” is available on the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.

Readers can learn how IEEE transitioned to electronic publishing, its efforts to expand its membership globally, successful standard development activities, and other topics.

As digital technologies became more popular in the 1980s, IEEE worked to keep up with the shift from printed publications to digital versions, according to the document. Before the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, the organization experimented with an electronic index, launched in 1986, and CD-ROMs, which were introduced three years later. Using the index, members were able to order from their computer copies of articles published within a 12-month period. The CDs held about 200,000 documents including journal papers and conference proceedings.

Membership in IEEE also evolved during the period. Before 1989, IEEE’s membership was mostly composed of engineers from the United States. But in the 1990s, the popularity of computers and their impact on society and the strong economy fueled global expansion. Today the organization has more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries.

The IEEE Standards Association made great strides in developing standards worldwide, according to the report. Its most well-known standard is IEEE 802.11, developed in 1997. It’s the official international standard for wireless LANs, operating at 2 megabits per second. Popular Mechanics magazine recognized the standard with its 2003 Grand Prize for Computing.

Although the document’s main focus is IEEE after 1984, its first chapter covers the merger in 1963 of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers—which formed IEEE.

The history of IEEE previously was documented in two books that covered the organization’s first 100years. The Making of a Profession: A Century of Electrical Engineering in America was written by historian A.Michal McMahon. Engineers and Electrons: A Century of Electrical Progress was written by IEEE Fellow John D.Ryder and past IRE president Donald G.Fink. PDFs of the books are available on the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.

COMMENTS AND MEMORIES WELCOME

“History of IEEE Since 1984” is a living document. Readers with an account on the Wiki can make comments and suggest edits. IEEE History Center staff members will review the comments and, if deemed appropriate, will include them. Individual memoirs of IEEE’s history can be added in the first-hand histories section.

The project was funded by the following IEEE societies: Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Circuits and Systems, Communications, Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Industrial Electronics, Nuclear and Plasma Sciences, Power & Energy, Robotics and Automation, Signal Processing, Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, and Vehicular Technology, as well as the IEEE Council on Superconductivity and Sensors Council.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

How the Financial Industry Can Apply AI Responsibly

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-products-services/how-the-financial-industry-can-apply-ai-responsibly

THE INSTITUTE Artificial intelligence is transforming the financial services industry. The technology is being used to determine creditworthiness, identify money laundering, and detect fraud.

AI also is helping to personalize services and recommend new offerings by developing a better understanding of customers. Chatbots and other AI assistants have made it easier for clients to get answers to their questions, 24/7.

Although confidence in financial institutions is high, according to the Banking Exchange, that’s not the case with AI. Many people have raised concerns about bias, discrimination, privacy, surveillance, and transparency.

Regulations are starting to take shape to address such concerns. In April the European Commission released the first legal framework to govern use of the technology, as reported in IEEE Spectrum. The proposed European regulations cover a variety of AI applications including credit checks, chatbots, and social credit scoring, which assesses an individual’s creditworthiness based on behavior. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in April said it expects AI to be used truthfully, fairly, and equitably when it comes to decisions about credit, insurance, and other services.

To ensure the financial industry is addressing such issues, IEEE recently launched a free guide, “Trusted Data and Artificial Intelligence Systems (AIS) for Financial Services.” The authors of the nearly 100-page playbook want to ensure that those involved in developing the technologies are not neglecting human well-being and ethical considerations.

More than 50 representatives from major banks, credit unions, pension funds, and legal and compliance groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States provided input, as did AI experts from academia and technology companies.

“We are in the business of trust. A primary goal of financial services organizations is to use client and member data to generate new products and services that deliver value,” Sami Ahmed says. He is a member of IEEE industry executive steering committee that oversaw the playbook’s creation.

Ahmed is senior vice president of data and advanced analytics of OMERS, Ontario’s municipal government employees’ pension fund and one of the largest institutional investors in Canada.

“Best-in-class guidance assembled from industry experts in IEEE’s finance playbook,” he says, “addresses emerging risks such as bias, fairness, explainability, and privacy in our data and algorithms to inform smarter business decisions and uphold that trust.”

The playbook includes a road map to help organizations develop their systems. To provide a theoretical framework, the document incorporates IEEE’s “Ethically Aligned Design” report, the IEEE 7000 series of AI standards and projects, and the Ethics Certification Program for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.

“Design looks completely different when a product has already been developed or is in prototype form,” says John C.Havens, executive director of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. “The primary message of ethically aligned design is to use the methodology outlined in the document to address these issues at the outset.”

Havens adds that although IEEE isn’t well known by financial services regulatory bodies, it does have a lot of credibility in harnessing the technical community and creating consensus-based material.

“That is why IEEE is the right place to publish this playbook, which sets the groundwork for standards development in the future,” he says.

IEEE Member Pavel Abdur-Rahman, chair of the IEEE industry executive steering committee, says the document was necessary to accomplish three things. One was to “verticalize the discussion within financial services for a very industry-specific capability building dialog. Another was to involve industry participants in the cocreation of this playbook, not only to curate best practices but also to develop and drive adoption of the IEEE standards into their organizations.” Lastly, he says, “it’s the first step toward creating recommended practices for MLOps [machine-learning operations], data cooperatives, and data products and marketplaces.

Abdur-Rahman is the head of trusted data and AI at IBM Canada.

ROAD MAP AND RESOURCES

The playbook has two sections, a road map for how to build trusted AI systems and resources from experts.

The road map helps organizations identify where they are in the process of adopting responsible ethically aligned design: early, developing, advanced, or mature stage. This section also outlines 20 ways that trusted data and AI can provide value to operating units within a financial organization. Called use cases, the examples include cybersecurity, loan and deposit pricing, improving operational efficiency, and talent acquisition. Graphs are used to break down potential ethical concerns for each use case.

The key resources section includes best practices, educational videos, guidelines, and reports on codes of conduct, ethical challenges, building bots responsibly, and other topics. Among the groups contributing resources are the European Commission, IBM, the IEEE Standards Association, Microsoft, and the World Economic Forum. Also included is a report on the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the financial services industry in Canada. Supplemental information includes a list of 84 documents on ethical guidelines.

“We are at a critical junction of industrial-scale AI adoption and acceleration,” says Amy Shi-Nash, a member of the steering committee and the global head of analytics and data science for HSBC. “This IEEE finance playbook is a milestone achievement and provides a much-needed practical road map for organizations globally to develop their trusted data and ethical AI systems.”

To get an evaluation of the readiness of your organization’s AI system, you can anonymously take a 20-minute survey.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Developer of Handheld Cable Tester for U.S. Army Dies at 80

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/developer-of-handheld-cable-tester-for-us-army-dies-at-80

Martin Rosenzweig

Developed a handheld cable tester for the U.S. Army

Life member, 80; died 28 September

When Rosenzweig was working as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Center for Command, Control, and Communications Systems, he and a colleague developed a tool that could test a cable’s strength and connectivity. The Army used the tester during Operation Desert Storm.

While serving as a first lieutenant, Rosenzweig received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Clarkson College of Technology, in Potsdam, N.Y. He was honorably discharged in 1964 and went on to earn a master’s degree in EE in 1969 from New York University.

After graduating, Rosenzweig joined the Army Communications R&D Laboratory at Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he worked to improve tactical switch systems. He helped develop several control switch programs including AN/TTC-25, used by U.S. Army Europe; AN/TTC-38, the Army’s first standard stored program; and AN/TTC-39 (TRI-TAC), for secure switching systems.

In 1991 he joined CECOM. The handheld cable tester he and his colleague developed there consisted of two parts—a power unit that houses long-life batteries and resistors and a 26-LED display unit. The test sets were more rugged and reliable, and lower in cost, than the cable testers the Army had been using. Twenty of the sets were shipped to Saudi Arabia for use in Operation Desert Storm.


John Clemens Deinlein

Safety systems expert

Life member, 70; died 25 January

Deinlein was an expert in safety systems who worked as a principal engineer at power, control, and information systems developer Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. He helped develop firmware at the company.

Deinlein enjoyed photographing his family during gatherings, according to his obituary. He also liked skiing, cycling, and skydiving.


Walter A. Johnson

Potomac Electric Power vice president

Fellow, 83; died 31 December

Johnson spent nearly his entire career working for the Potomac Electric Power Co., now Pepco Holdings, in Washington, D.C. He retired in 2010.

He was featured in the 1996 Washington Post article “When a Storm Blows Through, He’s Pepco’s Man in Charge.”

Johnson served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1961 to 1969 before joining Pepco as a drafting room supervisor. He eventually was promoted to manager of the utility’s control center.

He gave seminars and speeches about the concept of central control for electric power companies.

In 1975 he became Pepco’s representative to the Electric Power Research Institute, in Palo Alto, Calif.

After a year, he returned to Pepco as manager of a control center in Maryland. He moved up the ranks at the company and eventually became vice president of special projects, a title he held when he retired.

He also held high-level positions on committees that served the electric power industry, such as the American Power Systems Interconnection Committee, now the North American Reliability Corp.; and PJM, the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland Interconnection.

Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1960 from Duke University, in Durham, N.C.

He enjoyed cooking, doing crossword puzzles, and gardening.


Chalmers F. Sechrist Jr.

Professor of electrical engineering

Life Fellow, 90; died 29 October

Before Sechrist began his career in academia, he worked as a staff engineer in 1959 in the research department of defense contractor HRB-Singer, in State College, Penn.

In 1965 he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. He was promoted to professor in the same subjects. He also served as associate head of the university’s electrical and computer engineering department. As assistant dean of engineering, he helped create a student exchange program with universities in China, Japan, and Russia.

He conducted research in the school’s Aeronomy Laboratory. His research focused on the lower ionospheric D region, which differs from other ionosphere regions because its free electrons almost completely disappear during the night.

Sechrist took a leave of absence from the university in 1992 to serve a four-year appointment as program manager in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the U.S. National Science Foundation, in Washington, D.C.

In 1996 he left the university and joined Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, as an adjunct professor of engineering. While there, he created and taught several courses in engineering and technology. He was appointed to the university’s advisory board in 2005 and assisted with the formation of its engineering school.

He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1952 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in EE from Pennsylvania State University in State College.

Chalmers enjoyed amateur radio, golf, and photography.


William John McElroy

Flight instructor and electrical engineer

Member, 69; died 4 August 

McElroy, a senior project electrical engineer, retired from Pacific Gas and Electric in 2019. At the time of his retirement he was a licensed electrical engineer in 11 states.

He worked for several companies and organizations during his 40-year career, including America’s Car Museum, Bechtel, and the U.S. Navy.

McElroy earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York and a master’s degree in business from California Coast College, in Santa Ana.

He enjoyed flying planes and was a flight instructor even though he was afraid of heights, according to his wife.


Peter Kirstein

Father of the European Internet

Fellow, 86; died 8 January 2020

Kirstein was considered the “father of the European Internet,” according to his New York Times obituary. He was the first person to connect a computer outside of the United States to the ARPANET—an Internet predecessor—in 1973. He set up Queen Elizabeth’s first official email account in 1976, according to his obituary.

He helped define and implement computer network standards in the United Kingdom alongside Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn.

His family, which was Jewish, moved from Germany to Britain in 1937 to escape persecution by the Nazis.

Kirstein joined the European Council for Nuclear Research in Geneva in 1959 and worked there until 1963. He then began working for General Electric in Zurich.

In 1970 he returned to Britain and became a professor at the University of London Institute of Computer Science, which was dissolved in 1974. He joined the faculty at University College London in 1973 and served as head of its computer science department from 1980 to 1994.

In 1973 Kirstein built the university’s email gateway to the United States, making his lab one of the first international connections on the ARPANET, according to the obituary.

The research group he led adopted TCP/IP in 1982, and it was the first group to do so in Europe. Without Kirstein, TCP/IP might have never been introduced on the continent, according to the obituary.

Kirstein received a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Cambridge. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford, in 1955 and 1958. He also received a doctorate in engineering from the University of London in 1970.


Edward James Lewis

Electrical engineer

Member, 90; died 20 November 2017

After graduating from Hendrick Hudson High School, in Montrose, N.Y., Lewis served in the U.S. Army as a mechanic while stationed in Guam.

He worked for several U.S. companies as an engineer before retiring from Consumer Reports.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1950 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

In his free time, Lewis enjoyed sailing his boat on the Hudson River.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

IEEE President’s Note: Personalize Your Membership

Post Syndicated from Susan K. (Kathy) Land original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/ieee-presidents-note-personalize-your-membership

THE INSTITUTE IEEE membership means something different to each individual. For some, being a member means coordinating a conference. To others it is chairing a standards working group or editing a publication. Some individuals become members because they want to show the world the “boots on the ground” vision of IEEE’s mission: advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

When people join, they are looking for IEEE to fulfill a need. Over the years, we have conducted a number of membership surveys. I have looked carefully at the data from those conducted from 2015 to 2020. What I found is consistent. Our members want IEEE to help them remain technically current, engage and network with others, and enhance their careers.

One of the best choices I made more than 20 years ago was to become involved in IEEE. It helped define who I am both personally and technically. Once you become involved with the organization, you see how collaborative and how effective each individual can be. When I saw how I could empower other members and volunteers and how together we could make positive changes to our profession, I was hooked! This is what I want to share with every individual working in technology. This is an essential point. It is important to understand that IEEE brings together and welcomes to its membership not only engineers but also technologists from a variety of fields, including computer sciences, information technology, physical science, biological and medical science, mathematics, technical communications, education, management, law, and policy.

IEEE is home to some of the highest caliber individuals with whom I have ever been associated. It also has always been a place where my ideas are welcome and participation encouraged. My desire is to see IEEE continue to be a place where future members, particularly those from underprivileged or underrepresented groups including women, students, and young professionals as well as those in less advanced economies, seeking professional growth can participate and contribute. I would like to help these colleagues in their quest. As never before, they need guidance and support navigating expanding markets and gaining the necessary knowledge to become more competitive across the broad expanse of technical careers.

We live in a diverse world full of complex problems. Solving them requires an environment of collaboration with active and open engagement. IEEE can uniquely provide this environment where every individual’s passion and commitment is represented and respected, where they feel engaged and empowered, and where we can all work together to support IEEE’s mission.

I believe that it is vital that IEEE live up to the ideals expressed in our Code of Ethics: that IEEE be a place where people feel respected and included. We should welcome new and challenging ideas from everyone. It is my hope that we work together to ensure that IEEE continues to support robust diversity of thought and build a community where differences of opinion can be discussed and resolved collegially and where we can find consensus in expanding and furthering IEEE’s mission. I hope that we can work together to create safe and supportive environments, free from bullying, that attract and nurture individuals who strive for professional and technical growth.

Let’s work together to accelerate and nurture innovation, helping to make IEEE the technical professional’s lifelong network of choice and the first place people go for the highest quality technical information.

I encourage all our members to get involved, use your membership to its fullest, and be part of the drive toward fulfilling our mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. It is remarkable what we can accomplish working together!

Please share your thoughts with me at [email protected]

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Under 30 and This Young Professional Already Has Five Startups Under His Belt

Post Syndicated from Prachi Patel original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/under-30-and-this-young-professional-already-has-five-startups-under-his-belt

THE INSTITUTE When Mohamed El Dallal was 16, he probably would not have described himself as an entrepreneur. But the shy, self-described “software and technology geek” was already running a small business from his home in Alexandria, Egypt.

That was in the 2000s, when Egypt had a closed economy. Access to computers wasn’t easy. El Dallal, now an IEEE member, sold and maintained cellphones as well as personal computers that he built by wiring together processors, hard drives, monitors, and other components. His bedroom resembled a warehouse. “I didn’t have a business model or strategy,” he says, “but I was good at it.”

Now almost 30, he has founded five startups in Alexandria. He runs a series of international business conferences, and he has given hundreds of talks on entrepreneurship and marketing in 28 countries. He is also an avid volunteer and has been a part of several nongovernmental organizations and active with local youth initiatives.

He volunteers for IEEE as well, serving as a member of several groups in IEEE Region 8 including its Action for Industry program, Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Professional and Educational Activities subcommittee. He was vice chair of IEEE Young Professionals and sat on the steering committee for IEEE N3XT, which seeks out ventures with engineering-driven innovation at their core that align with IEEE’s mission to advance technology for humanity. The program aims to help founders take their venture to the next level by connecting them with technical experts, funding sources, strategic partners, and news media exposure.

An early brush with IEEE as an undergraduate at Alexandria University changed his life, he says, setting him on an entrepreneurial path. He says it gave him confidence and taught him the public speaking, communication, leadership, and negotiation skills that have been vital to his success.

“I believe in the IEEE, and I believe in giving back,” he says. “It’s a cycle.” Knowledge increases by sharing, he says: “You learn more when you give.”

THINGS JUST CLICKED

El Dallal comes from a family of engineers. His father and most of his uncles and cousins are engineers. “Engineering was a natural career path,” he says. He studied both computer engineering and communications at Alexandria University while running his computer business on the side.

With the money he was earning, he decided to indulge in his other passion, photography, and bought himself a professional-grade camera. After trying his hand at photographing weddings and other events, he turned to photojournalism. He documented the 2011 Egyptian political revolution. His images were used by international news outlets and have been exhibited around the world.

His zeal for photography introduced him to IEEE. At the end of 2010, the university’s IEEE student branch approached him to photograph the speaker at a session being held by the IEEE Entrepreneurship group. The branch couldn’t pay El Dallal, but he decided to accept the assignment anyway.

“I believe in coincidences,” he says, “and this was meant to happen.”

Instead of leaving after the photo shoot as he usually did, he stuck around to listen to the talk, and he became fascinated.

“This was a tipping point in my life,” he says. “I started to see myself as an entrepreneur.” Even though he had been making money at his business for about seven years, he says, he didn’t really understand how to run a business.

El Dallal became an IEEE student member and then a volunteer for the branch. In 2012 he founded his first official startup, View Finders, a club that teaches the art of photography and videography. The venture is still in business, but El Dallal moved on.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 2014, he helped to create Innovideas, a marketing consulting company that does branding, marketing campaigns, event and content management, and media production. His clients include embassies, governmental departments, and multinational companies in the Middle East and Europe.

El Dallal went on to enroll in an MBA program at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), also in Alexandria. While going to school, he helped to found another company, DCodes, which provided software solutions for Web development and mobile apps. It has since become part of Innovideas, where El Dallal is CEO.

He is a cofounder and board member of Techne Summit, a large, international entrepreneurship event that brings together technology innovators and business leaders.

“Imagine academics, local investors, startups, early-stage and mature companies, multinationals, government representatives sitting at the same table, networking, and learning from each other to build a better business ecosystem,” El Dallal says.

SKILLS FOR SUCCESS

El Dallal says he has learned just as much from his successes as he has from his failures. So, what does he think it takes to launch a successful startup?

“The team, the team, the team,” he says. “Investors pay for the team. Ideas are worthless on their own. I can give you a ton of ideas right now, but it’s all about implementation and presentation.”

In addition to a strong team of founders, another key to success is finding good employees—which can be difficult for startups because they are competing with large companies for the same talent.

“You might not get the best talent, but you need to get good talent and develop them,” he says.

El Dallal’s relentless focus on work took a toll on the high school swimmer and taekwondo champion. He fell ill and recuperation required months of bed rest and treatment. He recently started playing sports again and is training for a triathlon.

The serial entrepreneur has no intention of stopping. In January he started his doctor of business administration program at AASTMT. He says he is a planner and regularly establishes five- and 10-year goals. Pinned on his bedroom wall is a sheet of paper outlining his ultimate dream: to start a foundation that betters people’s lives by providing them with the knowledge, education, and financial help to pursue their dreams.

El Dallal says he owes a lot to what he learns by volunteering for IEEE, and paying that forward is just as important as fulfilling his dream. By contributing his time and knowledge about business with budding engineers, he says, he hopes to impact lives, just as IEEE impacted him.

He says that even if you have to travel many miles to give a talk, and you impact only a couple of people that day, you’ve made a difference.

“This is the best thing you can do in your entire life,” he says.

Nominate an Innovator for a Marconi Society Award

Post Syndicated from Andrea Goldsmith original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/nominate-an-innovator-for-a-marconi-society-award

THE INSTITUTE When I was a student, I fell in love with the discipline of engineering and the power it gave me to understand problems and build solutions that improve people’s lives. Throughout my career in academia and business, IEEE has been my professional home, a source of cherished friendships and collaborations, and a vehicle that has enabled me and other volunteers to enact positive change in the profession.

As a proud recipient of several IEEE awards, including the 2021 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award, and head of the IEEE ad hoc committee on diversity, inclusion, and ethics, I am keenly aware of the important role that awards programs play in the engineering field. They elevate and celebrate the leaders who have enabled unprecedented advancement of technology and expanded its practical impact. They also provide young people with role models.

That is why I am proud to share the open call for nominations for two prestigious Marconi Society awards with my IEEE colleagues. I urge you to nominate worthy candidates. I especially encourage you to consider nominating people who represent the geographic, ethnic, and gender diversity that reflects the richness of the populations that we, as engineers, serve.

The Marconi Society envisions a world in which everyone can benefit from the opportunities of connectivity. Our awards honor both distinguished luminaries and rising stars in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) and welcome them into a diverse community dedicated to digital inclusion through advanced technology.

Thank you for considering your colleagues and students for the prestigious Marconi honors. We look forward to your nominations. Please contact us with any questions: [email protected].

IEEE Fellow Andrea Goldsmith is the dean of engineering and applied science at Princeton, where she is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

How IEEE Conferences Thrived Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

Post Syndicated from Elizabeth Kurzawa original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/how-ieee-conferences-thrived-despite-the-covid19-pandemic

IEEE COVID-19 coverage logo, link to landing page

THE INSTITUTE If you have enjoyed attending any of the thousands of IEEE virtual conferences and events held around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have a dedicated team of IEEE volunteers and staff to thank. The IEEE conferences committee and the organization’s global Meetings, Conferences, and Events team, in collaboration with IEEE organizational unit partners, worked behind the scenes to make sure the gatherings went off without a hitch.

By keeping the customer as their North Star and taking quick action, the MCE team was able to support the community, helping organizers hold more than 1,600 conferences. And it was able to sustain IEEE’s conference business, which generates more than US $204 million for the organization and makes up about 40 percent of its revenue, according to the 2019 annual report.

If IEEE had lost that revenue, it would have had a devastating effect on the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Researchers would have lost an important outlet to present their work and have their papers published. In addition, attendees would not have been able to learn about cutting-edge research. More than 200,000 papers were added last year to the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, an increase of 10 percent over 2019.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what actions the group took to ensure conferences succeeded.  

SWIFT ACTION

During a strategic planning session held in December 2019, IEEE Fellow Bin Zhao, chair of the IEEE conference committee, asked the attendees to rededicate themselves to serving consumers of IEEE’s conferences. That includes organizers, authors, presenters, attendees, and sponsors.

By putting those groups first, Zhao said, it would strengthen the conference business. He outlined the many challenges the business faced, including competition from new technology conferences, growth opportunities from globalization, intersections of audiences, and new publishing models. Although the committee could not foresee the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, Zhao’s customer-centric strategy would be key to weathering its impact.

In January 2020, as word that a new coronavirus was spreading around the world, MCE head Marie Hunter saw the need for decisive action. She directed the IEEE event emergency response team, which she formed in 2012, to activate a business continuity emergency response plan to what was then an epidemic. With her expertise in the global events business, Hunter knew early intervention and response was essential.

“The MCE team has deep expertise in managing emergencies in a variety of event situations,” she says. “In fact, the theme of our 2019 annual meeting for customers was emergency preparedness. We were well prepared, but the pervasive disruption of the coronavirus was daunting even to our highly experienced and professional team.”

By mid-February the pandemic was beginning to affect the planning of hundreds of IEEE conferences, and by early April the number had soared. Already in full response mode, the MCE team sought advice on how to handle the impact of the virus from other professionals within the hospitality industry, local health agencies, and global authorities such as the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University.

As the pandemic set in during the course of 2020, Zhao and members of the IEEE conference committee stayed at the epicenter of discussions.

“I was hearing daily from conference organizers looking for guidance, options, and the best course of action,” he says. “Their world was severely disrupted, and we needed to respond.”

With health and safety of the community as their top priority, the MCE team began working closely with OU partners to support IEEE conference organizers, who were struggling to understand their options for canceling conferences, rewriting contracts, reviewing finances, and exploring virtual conference platforms. Every organizer of IEEE’s more than 2,000 events had to make a choice: cancel, postpone, relocate to another venue, or change the format to a virtual conference.

The IEEE emergency response team, led by the director of IEEE Event Operations, Sherry Russ Sills, worked one-on-one with event organizers to provide guidance on negotiating contracts with hotels and suppliers. Millions of dollars in conference cancellation penalties were avoided through strong contracts and the use of force majeure clauses, which relieved IEEE from its obligation because the coronavirus was beyond its control.

In 2012 Hunter had championed and implemented event insurance for the line of business—which mitigated our losses through partnership with IEEE risk-management experts. The MCE team also assisted organizers with preparing new budgets, publishing protocols and programs, and pivoting to virtual.

A small number of the events were canceled, but most organizers embraced the virtual conference technology. Fortunately the small-but-mighty Virtual Events Center of Excellence was able to assist organizers with holding such meetings. It already had retained certified producers of digital events.

The MCE digital events team was able to produce more than 50 conferences on a pro bono basis in support of conferences in need. It also provided platforms and training materials for organizers to produce another 50 events, again at no charge.

Instructions for how to hold a virtual event were posted on the MCE website.

A Going Virtual town hall held in July by the IEEE conference committee and MCE attracted hundreds of participants. Topics included how to pivot to a virtual platform, setting up an online registration model for attendees, and vetting new platforms and services.

“Almost everything about virtual events is different than those held face to face,” Hunter says. “These include technical programs, registering attendees, and handling sponsorships and exhibits. But this new way of holding an event offers new opportunities to serve our community by engaging with attendees, attracting a broader audience, and providing a wider exchange of information.”

The conference world has been forever transformed, Hunter says.

“New ways of exchanging information, research, and networking are being experimented with every day,” she says. “Minds have opened up to the opportunities, and there is still much to learn and much to innovate.”

THE FUTURE

During the pandemic, quick decisions and actions enabled IEEE conference publishing activity to remain strong. IEEE helped hundreds of thousands of researchers publish their work.

“In many ways,” Zhao says, “face-to-face, virtual, and hybrid meetings are just different ways an attendee can choose to engage with an IEEE conference, and so all are likely to be popular in the future.” Hybrid models are meetings that combine in-person and virtual sessions.

“We anticipate that the ways to make connections, to engage with others, to exchange information, and to demonstrate technologies and products will be more diversified,” he says. “This diversity, along with the supporting technologies, will enrich attendees’ experiences and provide more value to all parties associated with meetings, conferences, and events.

“With preparedness and safety top of mind, we look forward to providing engaging virtual event experiences and flexing our muscles with hybrid formats. As we venture into the world of hybrid events, we can begin to cautiously embrace the joy of coming back together—the friendships, the laughter, and the rich exchanges that are an essential part of meeting face-to-face.”

Elizabeth Kurzawa is the senior program manager for IEEE Meetings, Conferences and Events

How Lasers and Mirrors Proved Gravitational Waves Existed

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-history/how-lasers-and-mirrors-proved-gravitational-waves-existed

THE INSTITUTE In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves—ripples in space-time (a conceptual model of how the universe works)—in his general theory of relativity. But it wasn’t until 2015 that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, using a specialized interferometer in observatories in Hanford, Wash., and Livingston, La., proved the waves exist. The device merges two or more sources of light to create a measurable interference pattern, according to the LIGO website

The interferometer was designed in 1972 by Rainer Weiss, a physics professor at MIT and a LIGO cofounder. LIGO worked in collaboration with the Virgo observatory in Pisa, Italy—which used a similar interferometer design. Since that first detection, LIGO and Virgo have recorded gravitational wave events generated by 10 pairs of merging black holes and two pairs of colliding neutron stars, according to the LIGO website.

On 3 February, Weiss’s interferometer design was commemorated with an IEEE Milestone in IEEE regions 5, 6, and 8. It is the first time a Milestone has been installed in three different regions. The IEEE Baton Rouge (Louisiana), Richland (Washington), and Italy sections sponsored the nomination.

Administered by the IEEE History Center and supported by donors, the Milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments around the world.

“LIGO’s research on gravitational waves provided a completely new window in observing the universe,” Miriam Luizink, director of the Institutes Organization of the Dutch Research Council (NWO), said during the dedication ceremony on 3 February. “It brings deep and significant answers to the fundamental questions of space-time, our universe, its origin, and its destiny.” 

The NWO is one of the European funders of Virgo. In 2015 the Netherlands National Institute for Subatomic Physics, an NWO body, joined the European Gravitational Observatory, a private consortium that runs the Virgo interferometer.

 The virtual IEEE Milestone dedication ceremony is available on IEEE.tv.

A DIFFICULT QUESTION

When Weiss joined MIT in 1967 as an assistant professor of physics, the department asked him to teach an introductory course on general relativity. But he knew little about the subject, according to a 2017 article about the physicist in MIT News. When his students asked him to explain how physicist Joseph Weber supposedly detected gravitational waves using aluminum cylinders, Weiss found that he couldn’t.

Weber’s device consisted of cylinders that were 2 meters long and 1 meter in diameter, as well as several antennae. He claimed that when the device detected gravitational waves, the cylinders would vibrate. No one in the scientific community had been able to replicate Weber’s results, which have since been discredited, according to a 2020 article about Weber on the American Physical Society website.

Weiss, along with his students, designed their own machines to detect gravitational waves. His L-shaped interferometer eventually became the one that detected the waves for the first time.

His design called for a device that had two arms. Mirrors were suspended at the arm ends. When a laser was aimed down the length of the arms, it would bounce off the mirrors and back up each arm. The laser beams would take the same amount of time to arrive back where they started. Weiss’s theory was that if a gravitational wave passed through the interferometer, it should move the position of the mirrors slightly—which would change the amount of time it took for the laser beams to arrive back up the arms.

Weiss refined the design and built a 1.5-meter prototype to test his theory. He found the longer the interferometer’s arms, the more sensitive its optics were, leading him to believe his design would work if built to large enough dimensions.

THE BIRTH OF LIGO

It wasn’t until 1976 that Weiss’s theory started to become a reality. He teamed up with physicist Kip S. Thorne, who started his own gravitational wave experiment research group at Caltech. The two schools formed a collaboration.

Weiss, Thorn, and physicist Ronald Drever, who was a member of the team at Caltech, founded LIGO in the early 1980s. With the help of experimental physicist Barry C. Barish, the three men refined the dimensions and scientific requirements for an interferometer sensitive enough to detect a gravitational wave. Barish, who worked at LIGO as a principal investigator, was promoted to director of the project in 1994.

In the mid-1990s, LIGO received financial backing from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and erected its interferometers in Hanford and Livingston.

The interferometers—the largest ever built—had two 4-kilometer-long arms with a suspended mirror at the end of each that was 25 centimeters tall and 10 cm thick. 

In 1997, under Barish’s guidance, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration was established. It brought together international institutes and research groups to search for gravitational waves. During the IEEE Milestone dedication ceremony, Barish said that “scientific expertise is not in a single place in the world” and that LIGO “leaned heavily on international collaboration and contributions.”

The two LIGO observatories detected the first gravitational waves on 14 September 2015, at 5:51 a.m. EST. The scientists picked up a faint wobble in the observatories and confirmed that the interferometers had been microscopically stretched by “just one 10,000th the diameter of a proton,” according to the 2017 MIT News article. The distortion happened because of passing gravitational waves, which travel at the speed of light.

The signal was the first direct detection of a gravitational wave by an instrument on Earth. Virgo discovered the waves were produced by the merger of two black holes—an event that occurred 1.3 billion years ago, according to the MIT News article. 

Weiss, Thorne, and Barish received the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics for their work.

Reflecting on the achievement during the Milestone dedication ceremony, Thorne said the project helped him “understand the power of collaboration and appreciate the different skills everyone brought to the project.”

“I hope our work inspires young people to pursue science,” he said. “I think that’s one of the most important things we can do as scientists.”

IEEE Fellow Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the NSF, said at the virtual dedication ceremony, “The strong partnerships between the LIGO facilities, academic institutions, and the states of Louisiana and Washington were central to this endeavor.”  

This article was written with assistance from the IEEE History Center, which is funded by donations to the IEEE Foundation.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

How Microsoft Could Redefine the Power Industry with Quantum Computing

Post Syndicated from Qusi Alqarqaz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/how-microsoft-could-redefine-the-power-industry-with-quantum-computing

THE INSTITUTE Governments and tech companies have been investing heavily in quantum computing in the hopes that it will revolutionize cryptography, machine learning, chemistry, communication, and other fields. But it surprised me to learn that the much-talked-about technology also could have a great impact on energy, leading to cleaner fuel, lower emissions, and more efficient electrical power systems.

In November I spoke with Krysta M. Svore, general manager for Microsoft Quantum, to learn more about the impact of quantum computing on the energy sector. Svore was named in August to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee, which advises the president and the energy secretary.

Like other companies, Microsoft is working to scale up its quantum hardware to enable computers with a broad range of capabilities and a big speedup over classical computers. Svore says the company is working with others around the world to build a full quantum “stack”—from applications and software down to control and devices. Some researchers are working to see if quantum-inspired code, run for the moment on conventional computers, might give the energy industry a leg up.

Microsoft recently announced that Azure Quantum, a public ecosystem, is available to the public. In a blog post by Svore, Microsoft Quantum invited applications developers and researchers to start using the platform—a step that is expected to accelerate many quantum applications.

“It’s an exciting time to be in quantum information science,” Svore says. “Quantum computing is redefining what is possible with technology—creating unprecedented possibilities to solve some of humanity’s most complex challenges.”

A BIG ADVANTAGE

The new breed of computers is expected to excel at simulating quantum systems, like molecules. That should have a big impact on the energy sector.

“We see huge potential in areas leading to cleaner fuel, emissions reduction, and energy efficiency,” Svore says.

Among other things, quantum computers are expected to aid in chemistry and materials development far beyond the capacity of present-day supercomputers. The simulation capabilities could help researchers create batteries with greater storage capacity; and high-temperature superconductors, which could be used for new catalysts that could convert and optimize alternative fuel sources. Quantum computing could be used for climate modeling, for example, to find potential locations of wind flow that would help in designing new wind-energy sources. It would require collecting historical data and implementing it into certain models.

Quantum computing applications are ideal for such processes, and give high-resolution and calibrated results with real data. Also, such applications can upload the data into geographic information systems for the best wind-turbine locations.

An even bigger and more immediate impact might be seen in today’s smart grids. Optimizing the best reliable and available electrical source with high efficiency in power generation and transmission systems in large power grids using today’s computers is costly and almost impossible. Grid operators today are struggling to figure out the best way to handle the influx of renewable energy. Currently, utilities settle for solutions that are not optimal.

Hybrid systems that combine multiple renewable energy sources are especially difficult to optimize. For example, a grid that includes both wind and solar energy generation has the advantage of supplying less expensive energy as long as the sun shines and the wind blows. But to meet customers’ energy demands at night or during calm days, the grid needs to pull from stored power or ramp up energy production from other resources. An automated intelligent system that could track demand, predict peaks in consumption, coordinate energy storage, and manage resources could dramatically boost efficiency and so pave the way for cheaper, more reliable power.

Unlike today’s state-of-art supercomputers, quantum computers promise to be able to perform that optimization in real time. Microsoft researchers are already tackling grid applications by creating quantum-inspired code, Stove says. Such code is mapped onto conventional computing hardware, but it could ultimately run on scaled-up quantum hardware.

In June 2018 researchers announced they had devised a quantum-inspired algorithm for unit commitment, an optimization problem that seeks to identify the best generating resources to run based upon forecasted loads as well as power generation efficiencies and capacity limitations. Unit commitment remains one of the most significant problems in power system management.

The Microsoft team demonstrated its algorithm, which outperforms more powerful classical solvers. When scaled-up quantum computers become available and the algorithm runs on them, there will be an even bigger advantage.

EXPLORING SOLUTIONS IN DUBAI

In 2019 the company formalized its quantum network, a coalition of groups and individuals working on the technology. One member is the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which is working closely with Microsoft to explore quantum-inspired solutions for energy applications.

DEWA has access to new quantum-inspired services on the Azure Quantum cloud and can use it to program and test algorithms. The utility will then apply the solutions to achieve real-world impacts even before scaled-up quantum hardware is available, Svore says. Qubit Engineering, a startup in Knoxville, Tenn., is using Azure Quantum to simulate air turbulence around windmill rotors. Windmills that are not properly placed can disrupt airflow. Qubit is using quantum-inspired code to calculate optimum placement.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Quantum computing still has many hurdles to overcome.

Svore says the ability to run quantum-inspired solutions on quantum hardware exists today through Microsoft’s hardware partners. Honeywell Quantum Solutions, for example, offers access to its trapped-ion quantum systems, which leverage midcircuit measurement and qubit reuse, allowing developers to write algorithms in impactful ways.

Startup IonQ is developing a trapped-ion quantum computer and software to generate, optimize, and execute quantum circuits. With cloud-based access through Azure Quantum, the IonQ system can be used to accelerate research into solving problems in chemistry, medicine, finance, and logistics.

Quantum-inspired optimization solutions can be used to increase speed and accuracy to algorithms running on classical computers, Svore says. Canadian company 1QBit builds hardware-agnostic software that allows applications to continually benefit from advances in both quantum and classical hardware, especially in the area of material sciences.

Microsoft’s David Reilly is leading a team of researchers—including some from the University of Sydney—that has developed a novel approach to solving the quantum computer hardware side, Svore says. Rather than employing a rack of room-temperature electronics to generate voltage pulses to control qubits in a special-purpose refrigerator whose base temperature is 20 times colder than interstellar space, they invented Gooseberry, a control chip. It sits next to the quantum device and operates in the extreme conditions prevalent at the base of the fridge.

The team also has developed a general-purpose cryo-compute core that operates at the slightly warmer temperatures comparable to that of interstellar space—which can be achieved by immersion in liquid helium. The core performs the classical computations needed to determine the instructions that are sent to Gooseberry which, in turn, feeds voltage pulses to the qubits. The novel classical computing technologies solve the I/O nightmares associated with controlling thousands of qubits, Svore says.

Quantum leap

Quantum computing applications hold the promise of greatly impacting power systems computing. When will it happen? It depends on the progress of research, which eventually is expected to allow power systems to function and operate in an entirely different fashion. The way we generate electricity will be cheaper, and cleaner. Also, the way we distribute power will be faster and easier.

If we want to see a bright future and mass adaptation of quantum computers in the next 20 years, it is important to keep investing heavily in the field, as Microsoft has done, to make the technology accessible to those who are planning our future.

IEEE Senior Member Qusi Alqarqaz is an electrical engineer with more than 28 years of experience in the power industry. He is a contributor to The Institute and serves on its editorial advisory board.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Ohio State President Makes Increasing Interdisciplinary Research and Diversity Her Priorities

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/ohio-state-president-makes-increasing-interdisciplinary-research-and-diversity-her-priorities

THE INSTITUTE Kristina M. Johnson has broken through barriers during her career. She became the first female dean of Duke University’s engineering school, the first female provost at Johns Hopkins University, and the first woman to receive the John Fritz Medal—in 2008—from the American Association of Engineering Societies.

This year the IEEE Fellow added another distinction: first recipient of the IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal. Johnson received the recognition “for leadership and technical contributions spanning academia, government, and business.” The Dresselhaus Medal, introduced last year, recognizes outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering of great impact to IEEE fields of interest.

Dresselhaus, like Johnson, had a few firsts in her career. The life Fellow, who was a pioneer of the electronic properties of materials, in 2015 became the first woman to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor.

Johnson is an expert in photonics, specializing in optoelectronic processing systems. She holds more than 100 U.S. and international patents in the field.

She also founded several companies, but Johnson, who is president of the Ohio State University, in Columbus, says her true passion is academia.

“I just love teaching,” she says. “Seeing the light bulb go off in students’ heads is super exciting.”

She is an advocate for having a diverse faculty and student body, erasing student debt, and increasing interdisciplinary research.

MAKING HER MARK

Johnson grew up in Denver in a family of seven. When her older siblings were doing algebra homework, they would teach her how to do the math, Johnson says: “It was really fun to learn [algebra] when I was a preschooler. I loved it.”

Johnson went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees—all in electrical engineering—at Stanford.

She began her academic career in 1985 at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. She was the university’s first female tenure-track faculty member.

While there she made sure to make her mark. In 1987 she and engineering professor W. Thomas Cathey, who died in 2016, received a U.S. National Science Foundation grant to establish the Engineering Research Center for optoelectronic computing systems at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, in Fort Collins. The center focuses on creating optoelectronic devices and systems for computing signal processing and artificial intelligence. In its cross-disciplinary environment, students and professors collaborate with faculty from chemistry, mathematics, physics, and other fields.

It was at the engineering center that she and a team of researchers and graduate students developed the technology behind the RealD 3D projection system, which has been used in more than 300 movies including Avatar. RealD uses stereoscopic projection technology and polarization optics to create three-dimensional images.

Her work at the engineering center reinforced her commitment to increasing cross-disciplinary research in academia. It was a point of focus when in 1999 she became dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, in Durham, N.C.

While at Duke, Johnson tripled research funding and increased the university’s endowment tenfold. Some of the money was used to establish the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences. The center supports cross-disciplinary research in bioengineering, communications, materials science, materials engineering, and photonics.

“When you take on really big problems that are important to society, they’re going to require understanding from multiple disciplines,” she says.

During her time at Duke, she increased the percentage of women faculty from 6 percent to 19 percent, according to her Ohio State biography.

“I love engineering, and I want everybody to be an engineer,” Johnson says. “We should be welcoming to anyone and everyone and ensure that anybody can maximize their inherent talent.”

She took her desire to advance cross-disciplinary research and diversity with her when she moved to Baltimore in 2007 to become provost and senior vice president at Johns Hopkins, and to the State University of New York, where she became chancellor in 2017.

Johnson launched Promoting Recruiting Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth, a SUNY program that aims to increase the number of faculty members from underrepresented groups and female teachers in STEM fields at the university’s 64 campuses.

Another initiative, SUNY Achieve, increased the graduation rate at the system’s two-year community colleges by 22 percent, according to Johnson’s biography.

Johnson was appointed president of Ohio State in June. While aiming to increase diversity and cross-disciplinary research at the university, she hopes to improve academic performance and reduce student debt.

“Dr. Johnson is committed to increasing the diversity on campus—not just racially but schools of thought,” Janice M. Bonsu, a fourth-year medical student at Ohio State told the university’s newspaper, The Lantern, in June.

SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT

Johnson took a break from academia in 2009, when she was appointed undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Energy by President Barack Obama.

“It was challenging,” she says of the position. “But it was great to be able to fund important clean-energy research, and support technology for the secretary [Steven Chu], the president, and the people.”

In April 2010, Johnson dealt with one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The government struggled to determine how much oil was being discharged into the ocean.

Johnson came up with the idea to use particle image velocimetry, a laser optical measurement technique, to estimate at what rate the oil was spilling into the sea.

“PIV allows you to measure fluid velocity using particles in the [water] flow, using a double-exposure hologram,” she says. “Once you determine the velocity, then you know how much oil is coming out.”

She quickly emailed Marcia McNutt, then head of the U.S. Geological Survey, who told Johnson that the USGS had the world’s best PIV system. It was deployed that week.

“That was one of the most exciting—maybe a little too exciting, but fun—things to do: be able to draw on my background and come up with a solution for at least part of the problem,” Johnson says.

After her term ended in 2010, Johnson tried her hand at being an entrepreneur. In 2011 she founded Enduring Hydro, which worked to build and support the hydropower industry. In 2014 the startup partnered with I Squared Capital—an investment firm that specializes in energy—to build, buy, and operate hydroelectric power plants in North America with the goal of producing enough clean energy to fully power 150,000 homes. She served as CEO of the joint venture—Cube Hydro Partners—until 2017, when she joined SUNY.

CONNECTING THROUGH IEEE

Johnson’s father and grandfather were IEEE members. She joined the organization while she was an undergraduate at Stanford.

“We used to have IEEE social hours once a week,” she recalls. “That was great because you could meet other students, and if you were having trouble in a class, you could find somebody that could help you.”

Johnson says IEEE is a great way “to bring people together around common interests and common goals,” and she values “being part of the largest professional society in the world.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Find Out Who Received a 2021 IEEE Major Award

Post Syndicated from Lynn Frassetti original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/find-out-who-received-a-2021-ieee-major-award

THE INSTITUTE Here are the recipients of the 2021 IEEE medals, service awards, honorary membership, corporate recognition, and technical field awards. The awards are presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

MEDALS AND RECOGNITIONS

IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

JACOB ZIV

Israel Institute of Technology, retired
Haifa, Israel

“For fundamental contributions to information theory and data compression technology, and for distinguished research leadership.”

IEEE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MEDAL

Sponsor: Nokia Bell Labs

NICK MCKEOWN

Stanford

“For contributions to internet router architecture and software-defined networking.”

IEEE MILDRED DRESSELHAUS MEDAL

Sponsor: Google

KRISTINA M. JOHNSON

The Ohio State University
Columbus

“For leadership and technical contributions spanning academia, government, and business.”

IEEE EDISON MEDAL

Sponsor: Samsung Electronics Co.

KENICHI IGA

Tokyo Institute of Technology, retired

“For pioneering contributions to the concept, physics, and development of the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corp.

KAUSHIK RAJASHEKARA

University of Houston
Texas

“For contributions to the advancement of transportation electrification technologies for the reduction of emissions and for improving energy efficiency.”

IEEE FOUNDERS MEDAL

Sponsor: IEEE Richard and Mary Jo Stanley Memorial Fund of the IEEE Foundation

HENRY SAMUELI

Broadcom, retired
Irvine, Calif.

“For leadership in research, development, and commercialization of broadband communication and networking technology with global impact.”

IEEE RICHARD W. HAMMING MEDAL

Sponsor: Qualcomm

RAYMOND W. YEUNG

The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, Hong Kong

“For fundamental contributions to information theory and pioneering network coding and its applications.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY

Sponsor: IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

RUZENA BAJCSY
University of California, Berkeley

“For pioneering and sustained contributions to healthcare technology fundamental to computer vision, medical imaging, and computational anatomy.”

IEEE THEODORE W. HISSEY OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Young Professionals, Photonics Society, Power & Energy Society

KARTIK KULKARNI
Oracle Corp.
Redwood City, Calif.

“For contributions to the technical fields of transactions and in-memory databases, as well as for enabling young professionals working on technologies for sustainable development.”

IEEE JACK S. KILBY SIGNAL PROCESSING MEDAL

Sponsor: Texas Instruments

Corecipients:

EMMANUEL CANDÈS

Stanford

TERENCE CHI-SHEN TAO

University of California, Los Angeles

JUSTIN ROMBERG

Georgia Institute of Technology

“For groundbreaking contributions to compressed sensing.”

IEEE/RSE JAMES CLERK MAXWELL MEDAL

Funder: ARM

EVELYN L. HU

Harvard

“For leadership in nanoscale science and engineering, and for seminal contributions at the intersection of semiconductor electronics and photonics.”

IEEE JAMES H. MULLIGAN, JR. EDUCATION MEDAL

Sponsor: MathWorks, Pearson, Lockheed Martin Corp., and the IEEE Life Members Fund

JOHN D. CRESSLER

Georgia Institute of Technology

“For inspirational teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.”

IEEE JUN-ICHI NISHIZAWA MEDAL

Sponsor: The Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan

JAMES J. COLEMAN

University of Texas at Arlington

“For contributions to the development of strained-layer semiconductor lasers.”

IEEE ROBERT N. NOYCE MEDAL

Sponsor: Intel Corp.

LISA T. SU

Advanced Micro Devices
Austin, Texas

“For leadership in ground-breaking semiconductor products and successful business strategies that contributed to the strength of the microelectronics industry.”

IEEE DENNIS J. PICARD MEDAL FOR RADAR TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS

Sponsor: Raytheon Technologies

SIMON HAYKIN

McMaster University, retired
Hamilton, Ont., Canada

“For contributions to the development of the theory and practice of radar, especially cognitive radar and adaptive filtering.”

IEEE MEDAL IN POWER ENGINEERING

Sponsors: IEEE Industry Applications, Industrial Electronics, Power Electronics, and Power & Energy societies

PRAVEEN K. JAIN

Queen’s University
Kingston, Ont., Canada

“For contributions to the theory and practice of high-frequency power-conversion systems.”

IEEE SIMON RAMO MEDAL

Sponsor: Northrop Grumman Corp.

ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL

Stanford

“For sustained leadership in developing theory and applications of probability risk analysis for the design and evaluation of complex engineering systems.”

IEEE JOHN VON NEUMANN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM Corp.

JEFFREY DEAN

Google
Mountain View, Calif.

“For contributions to the science and engineering of large-scale distributed computer systems and artificial intelligence systems.”

IEEE CORPORATE INNOVATION AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE

TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING COMPANY, LIMITED

Hsinchu, Taiwan

“For leadership in 7 nanometer semiconductor foundry technology, enabling customers’ innovations in widespread applications.”

IEEE RICHARD M. EMBERSON AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Technical Activities Board

LEWIS M. TERMAN

IBM, retired
South Salem, N.Y.

“For contributions to and leadership of multiple IEEE technical Societies, the Technical Activities Board, and the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Activities.”

IEEE HARADEN PRATT AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

EVELYN H. HIRT

Battelle
Richland, Wash.

“For steadfast service and leadership dedicated to the IEEE mission and members across all corporate, geographic, technical, and educational levels.”

IEEE HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

Sponsor: IEEE

EDWARD C. STONE

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena

“For decades of exceptional scientific and engineering achievements that have profoundly impacted the world’s progress in space exploration.”

TECHNICAL FIELD AWARDS

IEEE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AWARD

Sponsors: IEEE Circuits and Systems and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology societies

KATHERINE WHITTAKER FERRARA

Stanford

“For the integration of ultrasound and engineered vesicles in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

IEEE CLEDO BRUNETTI AWARD

Sponsor: Brunetti Bequest

JESUS DEL ALAMO

MIT

“For leadership in and contributions to InGaAs- and GaN-based field-effect transistor technology.”

IEEE ELECTRONIC PACKAGING AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Electronic Packaging Society

CHIN C. LEE

University of California, Irvine

“For contributions to new silver alloys, new bonding methods, flip-chip interconnect, and education for electronics packaging.”

IEEE CONTROL SYSTEMS AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Control Systems Society

HIDENORI KIMURA

Systems Innovation Center
Tokyo

“For contributions to synthesis theory of control systems and its applications to manufacturing devices and systems.”

IEEE ELECTROMAGNETICS AWARD

Sponsors: IEEE Antennas and Propagation, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Microwave Theory and Techniques, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing societies

CONSTANTINE A. BALANIS

Arizona State University
Tempe

“For contributions to electromagnetics through excellence in book authorship, teaching, and antenna research.”

IEEE JAMES L. FLANAGAN SPEECH AND AUDIO PROCESSING AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Signal Processing Society

DAVID NAHAMOO

Pryon Inc.
Raleigh, N.C.

“For contributions to and leadership in research and deployment of spoken-language technologies.”

IEEE FOURIER AWARD FOR SIGNAL PROCESSING

Sponsors: IEEE Circuits and Systems and the IEEE Signal Processing societies

K. J. RAY LIU

University of Maryland
College Park

“For outstanding leadership in and pioneering contributions to signal processing for wireless sensing and communications.”

IEEE ANDREW S. GROVE AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Electron Devices Society

Corecipients:

HIDEAKI AOCHI

Kioxia Corp.
Kanagawa, Japan

RYOTA KATSUMATA

Kioxia Corp.
Mie, Japan

MASARU KITO

Kioxia Corp.
Mie, Japan

“For pioneering and sustained contributions to high-density, three-dimensional flash memory.”

IEEE HERMAN HALPERIN ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION AWARD

Sponsor: The Robert and Ruth Halperin Foundation, in memory of Herman and Edna Halperin, and the IEEE Power & Energy Society

BRIAN STOTT

Stott, Inc.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

“For contributions to the development and application of power flow and optimal power flow analysis.”

IEEE MASARU IBUKA CONSUMER ELECTRONICS AWARD

Sponsor: Sony Corp.

STEVE WOZNIAK

Woz Speaks
Los Gatos, Calif.

“For pioneering the design of consumer-friendly personal computers.”

IEEE RICHARD HAROLD KAUFMANN AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Industry Applications Society

STEPHEN MCARTHUR

University of Strathclyde
Glasgow, Scotland

“For innovative contributions to the advancement of intelligent systems for power engineering applications.”

IEEE JOSEPH F. KEITHLEY AWARD IN INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT

Sponsors: Keithley Instruments, a Tektronix Co., and the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society

Corecipients:

ERIC W. STRID

Board of Directors of Power Oregon, retired
White Salmon, Wash.

K. REED GLEASON

Form Factor, Inc.
Livermore, Calif.

“For contributions to RF microprobing measurement techniques enabling accurate on-wafer circuit testing.”

IEEE GUSTAV ROBERT KIRCHHOFF AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Circuits and Systems Society

THOMAS H. LEE

Stanford

“For pioneering CMOS technology for high-performance wireless circuits and systems.”

IEEE LEON K. KIRCHMAYER GRADUATE TEACHING AWARD

Sponsor: Leon K. Kirchmayer Memorial Fund

ANDREA GOLDSMITH

Princeton

“For educating, developing, guiding, and energizing generations of highly successful students and postdoctoral fellows.”

IEEE KOJI KOBAYASHI COMPUTERS AND COMMUNICATIONS AWARD

Sponsor: NEC Corp.

HARI BALAKRISHNAN

MIT

“For broad contributions to computer networking and mobile and wireless systems.”

IEEE WILLIAM E. NEWELL POWER ELECTRONICS AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Power Electronics Society

ROBERT W. ERICKSON

University of Colorado at Boulder

“For contributions to power electronics education and analysis, modeling, and design of power converters.”

IEEE DONALD O. PEDERSON AWARD IN SOLID-STATE CIRCUITS

Sponsor: IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society

A. PAUL BROKAW

Analog Devices, Inc., retired
Tucson, Ariz.

“For leadership in the design of voltage references, amplifiers, and power management, and for contributions to the principles of analog circuit design.”

IEEE PHOTONICS AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Photonics Society

JACK JEWELL

Consultant
Boulder, Colo.

“For seminal and sustained contributions to the development and commercialization of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL).”

IEEE ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Robotics and Automation Society

Co-recipients:

TOMAS LOZANO-PEREZ

MIT

JEAN-CLAUDE LATOMBE

Stanford

“For foundational contributions to robot motion planning and visionary leadership of the field.”

IEEE FRANK ROSENBLATT AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Computational Intelligence Society

JIM KELLER

University of Missouri, retired
Columbia

“For fundamental work on fuzzy pattern recognition, fuzzy clustering, and fuzzy technologies in computer vision.”

IEEE MARIE SKLODOWSKA-CURIE AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society

MICHEL DEFRISE

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, retired
Belgium

“For key developments in image reconstruction for positron emission tomography and x-ray computed tomography.”

IEEE INNOVATION IN SOCIETAL INFRASTRUCTURE AWARD

Sponsors: Hitachi and the IEEE Computer Society

ELISA BERTINO

Purdue University
West Lafayette, Ind.

“For advancing the security and privacy of new-generation cellular networks.”

IEEE CHARLES PROTEUS STEINMETZ AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Standards Association

HARAN KARMAKER

TECO Westinghouse Motor Co.
Round Rock, Texas

“For leadership in and contributions to the development of standards for electrical machines.”

IEEE ERIC E. SUMNER AWARD

Sponsor: Nokia Bell Labs

EN-HUI YANG

University of Waterloo
Ont., Canada

“For contributions to the theory and practice of source coding.”

IEEE NIKOLA TESLA AWARD

Sponsors: Wolong Electric Group, IEEE Industry Applications and the IEEE Power & Energy societies

ZI-QIANG ZHU

University of Sheffield
South Yorkshire, England

“For contributions to the design, modeling, control, and application of ac permanent magnet machines and drives.”

IEEE KIYO TOMIYASU AWARD

Sponsors: The late Dr. Kiyo Tomiyasu and the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing and the Microwave Theory and Techniques societies

ZHU HAN

University of Houston

“For contributions to game theory and distributed management of autonomous communication networks.”

IEEE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGIES AWARD

Sponsors: IEEE Industry Applications, Industrial Electronics, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Microwave Theory and Techniques, Power Electronics, Power & Energy, and Vehicular Technology societies

PHILIP T. KREIN

Zhejiang University
Haining, Zhejiang, China

“For contributions to electric vehicle battery management and hybrid system optimization.”

IEEE UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Education Society

CRISTIANE A. PIMENTEL

Federal University of Recôncavo da Bahia
Feira de Santana, Brazil

“For encouraging women to pursue STEM careers, and developing industry-based projects for social justice.”

For additional information on the recipients and the awards process, visit the IEEE Awards website.

Lynn Frassetti is the senior awards presentation and communications specialist for IEEE Awards Activities.

This Startup’s Software Programs Industrial Robots, Not Coders

Post Syndicated from Prachi Patel original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/this-startups-software-programs-industrial-robots-not-coders

THE INSTITUTE Robots are excellent at repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming jobs—which makes them beneficial in manufacturing. But training industrial robots requires substantial coding skills and knowledge.

Singapore-based startup Augmentus, founded by IEEE Member Daryl Lim, Yong Shin Leong, and Chong Voon Foo, is trying to make automation more accessible with its intuitive robot-programming platform.

The platform’s software has a graphical interface that allows nontechnical users to program industrial robots in minutes, says Lim, the startup’s chief operating officer. It also has an integrated artificial intelligence model that lets clients train the software to identify objects such as car parts. The model uses computer-vision algorithms, like the ones used for object and facial recognition in digital images.

Augmentus in December was named one of four IEEE Entrepreneurship Stars at Slingshot 2020, one of the biggest startup competition events in the Asia Pacific region. The award recognizes budding ventures driven by engineering innovations that align with IEEE’s core mission. Awardees become honorary IEEE members for a year, and they receive mentorship and support from the IEEE network.

Most Augmentus clients are advanced industrial manufacturing companies that produce automotive or machinery parts. The companies use robots for quality inspections, spray-coating or polishing parts, or loading and unloading inventory.

By making industrial robots easier to program, Lim says, the software can help businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs—which would in turn help retain local manufacturing jobs.

“We want to lower the time, skill, and cost barriers for companies to adopt robotic automation,” Lim says.

INCREASING EFFICIENCY

Industrial robots can be costly beasts to tame. Teaching a robotic arm to do a seemingly simple task, like sorting objects or moving them from a bin to a conveyor belt, typically requires thousands of lines of code, Lim says. The arduous coding process has to be repeated every time the arm must be reprogrammed for a different task.

To add to the problem, robots made by different manufacturers often use different programing languages. And programmers with the requisite coding skills are in short supply.

It all translates to higher expenses.

“Close to 70 percent of the cost of an industrial robot is software- and programming-related,” Lim says.

Augmentus software does not require the user to create any code. Instead, factory technicians can program robots or robotic parts with an iPad and an Apple Pencil stylus.

The technician selects its robot and equipment from the software’s menu, uses the iPad’s camera to scan the area in which the robot works, and then—with the stylus—plots points on the screen to map out the path the robotic arm will take for its task. The software, which runs in the cloud, then automatically generates code to create the optimal path for the bot. Users can test and verify the code via virtual simulations before deploying it on a factory floor. They can edit it if need be.

Compared with the traditional coding route, the startup’s technology allows companies to develop and deploy robots 10 times faster and for a 10th of the cost, Lim says.

The software is mostly being used now by manufacturing companies for spraying and inspecting parts, but the team is updating it for new applications such as welding and sanding.

OVERCOMING BARRIERS

Lim met Leong and Foo at an industrial networking event in 2019. They got to talking about their first-hand experiences with the barriers that high technical requirements and skill sets had created in the adoption of technology, especially robot programming.

“This is particularly the case for industrial automation, where users can spend countless hours doing simple robot movement and integration work,” Lim says. “This inspired us to build an intuitive, graphical robotics platform that simplifies and unifies the development and operation of industrial robots.”

When the three engineers met, Lim was chief executive of Edge Neo, a company in Singapore he launched in 2015 after earning a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance from Singapore Polytechnic. The company provides encryption algorithms for blockchain technology to clients across Southeast Asia.

Leong and Foo were both working at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, developing robotic solutions for multinational companies, and had spent countless hours programming and integrating robots.

The trio launched Augmentus in December 2019. Now, a little more than a year later, the venture-capital-funded seed-stage startup has 15 employees.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Launching at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic presented some challenges, Lim says. It became difficult to give prospective clients physical demonstrations and hands-on experience with the company’s product. Instead, the startup conducted virtual demonstrations that involved product videos and Zoom information sessions.

But the pandemic also has brought the startup several clients from different industries. A handful of large medical companies are interested in automating processes such as pipetting, which involves moving small, precise volumes of liquid using narrow tubes. And with international trade and travel becoming more difficult, there has been a growing demand from large agricultural companies, as well as small urban farmers, who want to automate processes such as crop harvesting and packaging.

“The concern with agriculture in developed countries is always manpower and labor shortages,” Lim says.

But what of the concern that automation and AI will take away jobs? That is true to some extent, Lim says, but at the current pace of development, the scenario of robots replacing humans in most occupations is still distant. Besides, he says, AI also can create jobs.

Although conventional wisdom is that the new AI economy will generate jobs that require high technical skills, Augmentus’s technology can level the field for nontech workers who can program robots, Lim says.

That would help countries retain manufacturing jobs instead of outsourcing them to places with less expensive labor, he says.

“Robotic manufacturing paves the way for reshoring of jobs and increasing employee productivity,” he says.

IEEE AWARD

Lim says winning the entrepreneurship award is “incredibly humbling and validates the work we have been doing so far.”

IEEE has been a great avenue to meet like-minded companies and people, he says.

“Being part of a unique ecosystem of entrepreneurs and engineers,” he says, “IEEE provides invaluable connections across the globe.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.