The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE (pronounced as eye-triple-e) is an international non-profit, professional organization for the advancement of technology related to electricity. It has the most members of any technical professional organization in the world, with more than 360,000 members in around 175 countries.
The IEEE is incorporated in the State of New York, United States. It was formed in 1963 by the merger of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE, founded 1912) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE, founded 1884).
The major interests of the AIEE were wire communications (telegraph and telephony) and light and power systems. The IRE concerned mostly radio engineering, and was formed from two smaller organizations, the Society of Wireless and Telegraph Engineers and the Wireless Institute. With the rise of electronics in the 1930s, electronics engineers usually became members of the IRE, but the applications of electron tube technology became so extensive that the technical boundaries differentiating the IRE and the AIEE became difficult to distinguish. After World War II, the two organizations became increasingly competitive, and in 1961, the leadership of both the IRE and the AIEE resolved to consolidate the two organizations. The two organizations formally merged as the IEEE on January 1, 1963.
Notable Presidents of IEEE and its founding organizations include Elihu Thomson (AIEE, 1889-1890), Alexander Graham Bell (AIEE, 1891-1892), Charles Proteus Steinmetz (AIEE, 1901-1902), Lee De Forest (IRE, 1930), Frederick E. Terman (IRE, 1941), William R. Hewlett (IRE, 1954), Ernst Weber (IRE, 1959; IEEE, 1963), and Ivan Getting (IEEE, 1978).
IEEE's Constitution defines the purposes of the organization as "scientific and educational, directed toward the advancement of the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences." In pursuing these goals, the IEEE serves as a major publisher of scientific journals and a conference organizer. It is also a leading developer of industrial standards (having developed over 900 active industry standards) in a broad range of disciplines, including electric power and energy, biomedical technology and healthcare, information technology, information assurance, telecommunications, consumer electronics, transportation, aerospace, and nanotechnology. IEEE develops and participates in educational activities such as accreditation of electrical engineering programs in institutes of higher learning. The IEEE logo is a diamond-shaped design which illustrates the right hand grip rule. It also sponsors or cosponsors more than 300 international technical conferences each year .
IEEE has a dual complementary regional and technical structure - with organizational units based on geography (e.g., the IEEE Philadelphia Section) and technical focus (e.g., the IEEE Computer Society). It manages a separate organizational unit (IEEE-USA) which recommends policies and implements programs specifically intended to benefit the members, the profession and the public in the United States.
The IEEE consists of 39 societies, organized around specialized technical fields, with more than 300 local organizations that hold regular meetings.
The IEEE Standards Association is in charge of the standardization activities of the IEEE. There are seven steps to its standard setting process, which typically takes 18 months to complete: 1. Securing Sponsorship, 2. Requesting Project Authorization, 3. Assembling a Working Group, 4. Drafting the Standard, 5. Balloting (75% approval required), 6. Review Committee, and 7. Final Vote.
The current (2007) president of IEEE is Leah H. Jamieson. The current (2007) president of IEEE-USA is John W. Meredith.
Membership and member grades
Most IEEE members are electrical engineers, computer engineers, and computer scientists, but the organization's wide scope of interests has attracted engineers in other disciplines (e.g., mechanical and civil) as well as biologists, physicists, and mathematicians.
Member Grade is limited to those who have satisfied IEEE-specified educational requirements and/or who have demonstrated professional competence in IEEE-designated fields of interest. For admission or transfer to the grade of Member, a candidate shall be either:
(a) An individual who shall have received a three-to-five year university-level or higher degree (i) from an accredited institution or program and (ii) in an IEEE-designated field
(b) An individual who shall have received a three-to-five year university-level or higher degree from an accredited institution or program and who has at least three years of professional work experience engaged in teaching, creating, developing, practicing or managing in IEEE-designated fields; or
(c) An individual who, through at least six years of professional work experience, has demonstrated competence in teaching, creating, developing, practicing or managing within IEEE-designated fields.
Associates are members of the IEEE who do not otherwise qualify for Member Grade. They receive all rights and privileges of Members, but they generally can not participate in the governance of IEEE (e.g., vote in IEEE elections, or hold offices that are restricted to Member Grade and above).
Student Member (S'MIEEE)
Special pricing is available for students seeking association with the IEEE. You must be a full time student studying one of the IEEE disciplines.
Senior Member Grade (SMIEEE)
The grade of Senior Member is the highest for which application may be made and shall require experience reflecting professional maturity. For admission or transfer to the grade of Senior Member, a candidate shall be an engineer, scientist, educator, technical executive, or originator in IEEE-designated fields for a total of 10 years.
Fellow Grade (FIEEE)
The grade of Fellow recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and shall be conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon a person of outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in IEEE-designated fields, and who has made important individual contributions to one or more of these fields. Fellow recommendations in any one year must not exceed one-tenth percent of the voting membership on record. An IEEE Fellow may use the distinction "FIEEE".
As of this year there were 5,777 IEEE Fellows
These members include Fellow candidates that are selected by the IEEE Fellow committee
In 2007, 268 "Senior Members" were promoted to Fellows
Society Affiliates are a vital part of the IEEE community; however, they are not IEEE members and are not entitled to any IEEE benefits or services that are reserved solely for IEEE members. Society Affiliates are encouraged to elevate their status to full IEEE membership in order to take advantage of the array of benefits.
The IEEE provides learning opportunities within the engineering sciences, research, and technology. The goal of the IEEE education programs is to ensure the growth of skill and knowledge in the electricity-related technical professions and to foster individual commitment to continuing education among IEEE members, the engineering and scientific communities, and the general public.
IEEE offers educational opportunities such as Expert Now IEEE , the Education Partners Program, Standards in Education and Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Expert Now IEEE is a collection of online educational courses designed for self-paced learning. Education Partners, exclusive for IEEE members, offers on-line degree programs, certifications and courses at a 10% discount. The Standards in Education website explains what standards are and the importance of developing and using them. The site includes tutorial modules and case illustrations to introduce the history of standards, the basic terminology, their applications and impact on products, as well as news related to standards, book reviews and links to other sites that contain information on standards. Currently, twenty-nine states require Professional Development Hours (PDH) to maintain P.E. licensure, encouraging engineers to seek Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for their participation in continuing education programs. CEUs readily translate into Professional Development Hours (PDHs) (1 CEU is equivalent to 10 PDHs).
IEEE also sponsors a website designed to help young people understand better what engineering means, and how an engineering career can be made part of their future. Students (ages 8-18), parents, and teachers can explore the site to prepare for an engineering career, ask experts engineering-related questions, play interactive games, explore curriculum links, and review lesson plans. This website also allows students to search for accredited engineering degree programs in Canada and the United States; visitors are able to search by state/province/territory, country, degree field, tuition ranges, room and board ranges, size of student body, and location (rural, suburban, or urban).
The IEEE has been accused of abusing its near monopolistic position in some scientific domains. When publishing with the IEEE, the author is forced to transfer his copyright to the IEEE who then sells the paper in journals as well as online without paying anything to the authors or the reviewers. Attendance fees to conference meetings are also notoriously high. This has prompted the appearance of new, more open scientific publishers. However, publishing in IEEE journals is almost mandatory to get some recognition in certain scientific communities.
Standards and the IEEE Standards Development Process
IEEE is one of the leading standards-making organizations in the world. IEEE performs its standards making and maintaining functions through the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). IEEE standards affect a wide range of industries including: power and energy, biomedical and healthcare, Information Technology (IT), telecommunications, transportation, nanotechnology, information assurance, and many more. In 2005, IEEE had close to 900 active standards, with 500 standards under development. One of the more notable IEEE standards is the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN group of standards which includes the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard and the IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networking standard.
The IEEE standards development process can be broken down into seven basic steps, as follows:
1. Securing Sponsorship: An IEEE-approved organization must sponsor a standard. A sponsoring organization is in charge of coordinating and supervising the standard development from inception to completion. The professional societies within IEEE serve as the natural sponsor for many standards.
2. Requesting Project Authorization: To gain authorization for the standard a Project Authorization Request (PAR) is submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board. The New Standards Committee (NesCom) of the IEEE-SA Standards Board reviews the PAR and makes a recommendation to the Standards Board about whether to approve the PAR.
3. Assembling a Working Group: After the PAR is approved, a "working group" of individuals affected by, or interested in, the standard is organized to develop the standard. IEEE-SA rules ensure that all Working Group meetings are open and that anyone has the right to attend and contribute to the meetings
4. Drafting the Standard: The Working Group prepares a draft of the proposed standard. Generally, the draft follows the IEEE Standards Style Manual that sets “guidelines” for the clauses and format of the standards document.
5. Balloting: Once a draft of the standard is finalized in the Working Group, the draft is submitted for Balloting approval. The IEEE Standards Department sends an invitation-to-ballot to any individual who has expressed an interest in the subject matter of the standard. Anyone who responds positively to the invitation-to-ballot becomes a member of the balloting group, as long as the individual is an IEEE member or has paid a balloting fee. The IEEE requires that a proposed draft of the standard receive a response rate of 75% (i.e., at least 75% of potential ballots are returned) and that, of the responding ballots, at least 75% approve the proposed draft of the standard. If the standard is not approved, the process returns to the drafting of the standard step in order to modify the standard document to gain approval of the balloting group.
6. Review Committee: After getting 75% approval, the draft standard, along with the balloting comments, are submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board Review Committee (RevCom). The RevCom reviews the proposed draft of the standard against the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and the stipulations set forth in the IEEE-SA Standards Board Operations Manual. The RevCom then makes a recommendation about whether to approve the submitted draft of the standard document.
7. Final Vote: Each member of the IEEE-SA Standards Board places a final vote on the submitted standard document. It takes a majority vote of the Standards Board to gain final approval of the standard. In general, if the RevCom recommends approval, the Standards Board will vote to approve the standard.