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IEEE’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Par Toshio Fukuda
Illustration of a megaphone with announcement icons and the IEEE logo on the megaphone
Illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE As you are aware, on 11 March the World Health Organization officially declared the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a pandemic. This global health crisis is a unique challenge that has impacted many members of the IEEE family. We would like to express our concern and support for all the members of the IEEE community, our staff, our families, and all others affected by this outbreak.

Governments around the world are now issuing restrictions on travel, gatherings, and meetings in an effort to limit and slow the spread of the virus. The health and safety of the IEEE community is our first priority and IEEE is supporting these efforts.

We request that all members avoid conducting in-person activities in areas impacted by the coronavirus threat and instead maximize the use of our online and virtual alternatives. IEEE provides many tools to support our membership with virtual engagement, including our online collaboration space IEEE Collabratec.

Following the advice of local authorities, most IEEE conferences and meetings have already been postponed or replaced with virtual meetings.

IEEE publications continue to accept submissions and publish impactful cutting-edge research. Our online publications remain available to researchers and students around the world.

IEEE standards development also continues, using online collaboration to replace in-person working groups.

IEEE Educational Activities continues to offer online instruction and IEEE’s preuniversity educational resources may be of assistance to families of students whose classroom activities have been disrupted.

All IEEE operations are continuing. At many of our global offices, IEEE staff will support IEEE’s mission while teleworking from their homes to minimize risk. As of this time, on the advice of local authorities, IEEE offices in China remain open.

We know that many of you are directly and indirectly engaged in the fight against this disease: supporting biomedical research and applications, supporting data analysis and modeling, maintaining critical communications and power infrastructure and caring for each other.We are grateful for your work.

We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of our IEEE members for your understanding. These are difficult times, but we will get through them by working together. Thank you for your support of our shared mission to advance technology for humanity.

Please stay safe and well.

Toshio Fukuda is the 2020 IEEE president. Stephen Welby is the IEEE executive director.

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IEEE Standards Association Launches a Platform for Open Source Collaboration

Par IEEE
0s and 1s form a globe shape
Illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE After adopting a new visual identity last year to signal its growth beyond standards development, the IEEE Standards Association recently introduced a platform for new technical communities to collaborate on open-source projects. Called IEEE SA Open, the platform enables independent software developers, startups, industry, academic institutions, and others to create, test, manage, and deploy innovative projects in a collaborative, safe, and responsible environment.

The neutral platform is available to anyone developing open-source projects. It also will help developers increase their project’s visibility, drive adoption, and grow their community.

Many IEEE members from several technical societies and standards groups have already expressed interest in pursuing open-source collaboration within the organization.

WHY IEEE?

Today, much of the world’s infrastructure is run by software, and that software needs to comply with standards in communications networking, electrical grids, agriculture, and the like, IEEE Fellow Robert Fish, IEEE SA president, said during a recent interview with Radio Kan.

“A lot of standardization work winds up standardizing technologies that are implemented through software,” he said. “Our idea is that the next stage of standardization might include not just producing the documents that have the technical specifications in them, but also the software that implements it.”

As software becomes increasingly prevalent in the world today, ethical alignment, reliability, transparency, and democratic governance become must-haves. IEEE is uniquely positioned to endow open-source projects with these attributes. Indeed, with the addition of the new platform, the IEEE SA provides developers with proven mechanisms throughout the life cycle of incubating promising technologies—including research, open source development, standardization, and go-to-market services. The platform also exposes earlier-stage technology research from academia to industry for potential capitalization opportunities.

IEEE SA Open programs provide exceptional opportunities to all IEEE communities, especially to those members who are working on advanced solutions. It is a platform that exposes earlier stage technology research from academia to industry for potential capitalization opportunities.

To learn more, visit the IEEE SA Open page.

IEEE Plots a Path for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors Used in the Power Industry

Par Kathy Pretz
Illustration icons relating to semicondoctor production.
Illustration: Shutterstock

THE INSTITUTE There’s a lot of excitement in the power industry about devices made with wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN).

The materials’ bandgaps—the energy difference between insulating and conducting states—are significantly greater than that of silicon. As a result, WBG power devices use less energy, can handle higher voltages, can operate at higher temperatures and frequencies, and can produce more reliable forms of electricity from renewable energy. But their technology is also fairly new, and the devices cost more than silicon-based ones, which have a proven track record.

To encourage the use of WBG technology, the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) recently released the International Technology Roadmap for Wide Bandgap Power Semiconductors (ITRW).

“The road map is a strategic look at the long-term landscape of WBG, its future, what the trends are, and what the possibilities are,” says IEEE Fellow Braham Ferreira, chair of the ITRW steering committee. “The purpose of the document is to facilitate an acceleration in the R&D process to fulfill the potential this new technology has.”

The road map committee is divided into working groups that focus on four areas: substrates and devices, modules and packaging, GaN systems and applications, and SiC systems and applications. Experts from around the world are participating, including materials scientists and engineers, device specialists and researchers, policymakers, and representatives from industry and academia.

The road map identifies key trends, design challenges, and potential applications as well as a preview of future applications.

“We could not give marching orders for industry on the production and development of these devices,” Ferreira says. “By consensus and agreement, we identified what the potential new applications could be, and gave direction for investment in long-term R&D.”

BENEFITS APLENTY

There are several reasons for using WBG semiconductors for power electronics and other applications, according to the ITRW executive summary. SiC and GaN devices are becoming more affordable and widely available. They also offer performance that can’t be achieved with silicon.

The new generation of WBG semiconductor devices made from SiC and GaN power converters have the potential to switch 100 to 1,000 times faster than their silicon counterparts.

They also can save a lot of energy, Ferreira says: “With a typical silicon converter, you get about 95 percent efficiency. But using a WBG converter, the efficiency is closer to 99 percent.”

The road map summary lists the markets that could benefit most from the adoption of WBG technology, including ones for photovoltaic converters, hybrid and pure electric automotive drivetrains, and data centers.

The road map authors also foresee clear benefits for the technology in radiation-hardened electronic equipment used in space and other places where a lot of radiation is present, Ferreira says.

Markets that can benefit from WBG’s smaller converters and reduced losses and noise are power supplies for computers, laptops, televisions, and electric vehicles.

WHAT’S INSIDE

The road map identifies short- (5 years), mid- (5 to 15 years) and long-term time frames for commercialization. Short-term indicators are given for existing products and devices. The mid-term section explains what it would take for specific technologies to turn a profit. Longer-term trends highlight research that could lead to new devices.

Several case studies are included. One looks at integrated switching cells for modular wide-bandgap conversion. Another considers high-voltage packages for silicon carbide MOSFETs.

PELS members can download the road map for free. The cost is US $50 for other IEEE members and $250 for nonmembers.

The society also offers webinars about WBG semiconductors.

IEEE Updates Its 2020–2025 Strategic Plan

Par IEEE Corporate Activities Strategic Planning
Lightbulb with iconic images of business strategy
Photo-illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE Strategic Plan 2020–2025 focuses on innovation through collaboration, with five key goals for the organization. Together with IEEE’s steadfast mission, vision, and core values, the plan will guide the organization's priorities.

“Strategic planning is critical because it provides us with forward-looking goals and a sense of direction,” says 2020 IEEE President and CEO Toshio Fukuda. "This plan will help guide us and communicate our shared goals across IEEE.”

To gain input from stakeholders for the Strategic Plan, IEEE conducted surveys with IEEE members, volunteer leaders, and the IEEE Management Council. Qualitative, in-person focus groups were conducted around the world in order to identify the goals of IEEE as a member-focused global organization.

Delivering on this plan, IEEE will foster a collaborative environment that is open, inclusive, and free of bias and will continue to sustain the strength, reach, and vitality of our organization for future generations.

The five new goals state that IEEE will:

  • Drive global innovation through broad collaboration and the sharing of knowledge.
  • Enhance public understanding of engineering and technology and pursue standards for their practical application.
  • Be a trusted source of educational service and resources to support lifelong learning.
  • Provide opportunities for career and professional development.
  • Inspire a worldwide audience by building communities that advance technical interest, inform public policy, and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

Fuzzy-logic Pioneer Enrique Ruspini Dies at 79

Par The Institute’s Editorial Staff
Photo of Enrique H. Ruspini
Photo: Computational Intelligence Society

Enrique H. Ruspini

Fuzzy-logic pioneer

Life Fellow, 79; died 15 October

Ruspini was a pioneer of fuzzy logic and introduced its use to the treatment of numerical classification and clustering problems, according to a biography on the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.

He began working at Hewlett Packard Labs as a staff scientist in 1982. He left there in 1984 to join SRI International’s Artificial Intelligence Center, in Menlo Park, Calif., as a principal scientist. He worked there until he retired in 2009.

Ruspini received his bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences in 1965 from the University of Buenos Aires. Ten years later, he received a Ph.D. in system science from University of California, Los Angeles.

He was the 2001 president of the IEEE Neural Network Council, and he served as the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society’s vice president of finance from 2013 to 2018. He was a member of the IEEE Division X board in 2003–2004.

Ruspini received the 2004 IEEE Meritorious Service Citation and the 2018 IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award.


Photo of Rolf Buchanan Dyce
Photo: Dyce Family

Rolf Buchanan Dyce

Radar engineer

Life member, 89; died 11 March 2019

Dyce earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1951 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering four years later from Cornell. He experimented with the reflection of UHF radio waves from the aurora borealis for his graduate work. After he received his doctorate, he served for two years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at the Griffiss base, in Rome, N.Y.

After leaving the military, he joined the Stanford Research Institute, in Menlo Park, Calif., as a senior scientist. He worked in the communications and radio physics lab, where he researched satellite radar echoes, high-altitude nuclear weapons effects on the ionosphere, and the electromagnetic effects of missile flight. He joined Cornell in 1964 as associate director of the Cornell-built National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

There he conducted radar experiments and studied the behavior of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. He built two major antenna systems for the observatory—one of which was for an ionospheric heating facility.

Dyce left his position at the observatory in 1978 and began working at Equatorial Communications, a satellite data startup in Sunnyvale, Calif. He worked for Equatorial until he retired 15 years later.

He coauthored scientific papers that were published in Nature and the Journal of Geophysical Research.


Frederick Harold Maltz
Photo: Wendy Maltz

Frederick Harold Maltz

Signal processing engineer

Senior member, 88; died 31 March 2019

After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1953, Maltz joined the U.S. Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., to work on long-range and high-resolution sonar. In 1962 he received a master’s degree in mathematical statistics from Stanford University.

Maltz was hired as a research scientist in 1962 at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Systems Development Center, in Palo Alto, Calif. While there, he received an award from NASA in recognition of his work on electromagnetic scattering and remote sensing in the early development of Seasat, a satellite program that tested oceanographic sensors.

In 1985 he joined Westinghouse in Pittsburgh as a principal engineer. There he developed sonar systems and acoustic signal processing for surface-ship and anti-submarine combat systems.

Two years later he rejoined Lockheed Martin to lead a development project to analyze high-frequency sonar and acoustic signal processing systems onboard autonomous underwater vehicles.

Maltz was a member of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society. He received the 2000 IEEE OES Distinguished Service Award and the 2016 IEEE OES Emeritus Award.


Herbert R. Carleton

Physicist

Life senior member, 90; died 24 August

Carleton joined the U.S. Navy after graduating high school and completed basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes, in Illinois. He then served at the Santa Ana Naval Lighter-Than-Air Base, in Tustin, Calif., where he developed systems for unmanned craft.

After Carleton left the military in 1949, he returned to his New York home on Long Island and worked for electronics and equipment manufacturer Sperry Rand in Lake Success. At night he pursued a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

He moved in 1954 with his family to California, where he worked for equipment manufacturer Bendix. He continued his studies and, in 1958, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

He moved back to the East Coast in 1958 and received a Ph.D. in physics in 1964 from Cornell.

Carleton was hired in 1967 as a professor by the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he taught until he retired more than 20 years later. During his tenure, he researched how to use ultrasound to examine coal waste in artificial reefs. He also studied the development of parallel processors in computing.


Photo of Thomas Blue McCaskill
Photo: Computational Intelligence Society

Thomas Blue McCaskill

Mathematician

Senior member, 81; died 1 November

McCaskill joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., in 1960 as a mathematician and physicist. He worked for the NRL for 42 years and made key contributions toward the development of the Global Positioning System.

He received an associate degree in art in 1958 from Wingate University, in North Carolina. He went on to study at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

McCaskill participated in the NRL Edison Memorial Training Program, which provided employees with the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree from a local university. He received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park.

Nominations Sought for Marconi Society’s Young Scholar Award

Par Vint Cerf
Photo of the Young Scholars of the Marconi Society
Photo: Marconi Society
Past recipients of the Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award.

THE INSTITUTE IEEE and the Marconi Society share deep roots. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the latter organization, let me make a quick introduction. The Marconi Society, which I chair, is a foundation that celebrates, inspires, and connects innovators who are building tomorrow’s technologies in service of a digitally inclusive world.

IEEE and the Marconi Society each honor luminaries who have made today’s connected world possible. The Marconi Society’s cadre of Marconi Fellows and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include such innovators as IEEE Fellows David Forney, Tom Kailath, and Andy Viterbi as well as Jacob Ziv and Guglielmo Marconi himself. In fact, 15 IEEE Medal of Honor recipients—including David, Tom, and Andy—and nine IEEE Claude E. Shannon Award recipients also have been honored by the Marconi Society.

We have another common bond: our shared passion for supporting and developing the next generation of engineers who will create the technology for a better tomorrow.

IEEE does that through its honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and the society’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.

The Marconi Society demonstrates our commitment through the Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, for which we are seeking nominations through 15 May. I invite you to nominate the best and brightest young researchers you know. The Young Scholar award is honestly one of my favorite things about the Marconi Society, because it offers the opportunity to positively impact promising young careers.

YOUNG SCHOLARS

As is the case with the awards for established scientists, IEEE and the Marconi Society also share younger honorees. They include 2012 Young Scholar Guilhem de Valicourt and 2013 Young Scholar Salvatore Campione—both recipients of IEEE-HKN’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.

This common interest means that a number of IEEE members are likely to know qualified researchers who would be excellent candidates for the Marconi Society’s Young Scholar awards.

CREATIVE RESEARCHERS

Our Young Scholars are 41 of the world’s most creative, entrepreneurial, and technically savvy young researchers. Hailing from every continent except for Antarctica, they are in tenure-track positions at the world’s leading universities and push the frontiers of new technology at top companies and research organizations.

Because the Marconi Society was conceived as a fellowship, the Young Scholars enjoy particularly close relationships with Marconi Society luminaries such as Marty Cooper, Arogyaswami Paulraj, and Sir David Payne.

I believe I speak on behalf of our Fellows and our board when I say how much I enjoy meeting and sharing ideas with our Young Scholars.

I hope they find those interactions as beneficial as I do—I learn so much every time I am with them. It is an honor to offer career guidance and introductions to further research or entrepreneurial pursuits, or to simply talk about the future.

I am particularly proud of the Celestini Program, founded and led by our Young Scholars. The program offers experiential learning opportunities to aspiring undergraduate engineering students in emerging countries by providing mentorship, community-based design training, student stipends, and equipment. Students select problems that are critical in their local area and create network-based proofs of concept to solve them. Projects have included reducing maternal mortality in Uganda, improving air quality in India, increasing government transparency in Rwanda, and delivering more crops through better irrigation in Colombia.

NOMINATION DETAILS

In addition to outstanding relationship building and social impact opportunities, Young Scholars also receive global recognition for their work, as well as a US $5,000 stipend. Candidates must be 27 or younger (born in 1992 or later). That’s the age when Marconi completed the first transatlantic transmission in 1901.

We seek diversity in gender, geography, and discipline.

Nominators are typically professors, mentors, and managers. If you believe you are a candidate for the award, ask your professor, manager, or mentor to nominate you.

Candidates are evaluated based on technical excellence, contributions to digital inclusivity and entrepreneurial spirit—criteria that we believe will help us recognize the next Guglielmo Marconi, Marconi Fellow or IEEE Medal of Honor recipient.

To nominate a person, complete this form.

IEEE Fellow Vint Cerf is the chair of the Marconi Society.

Countdown to the 2020 IEEE Annual Election

Par Carrie Loh
Photo of a clock that says "deadline."
Photo: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE On 1 May the IEEE Board of Directors is scheduled to announce the candidates to be placed on this year’s ballot for the annual election of officers—which begins on 17 August. Those elected take office next year.

The ballot includes IEEE president-elect candidates, who are nominated by the Board, as well as nominees for delegate-elect/director-elect openings submitted by division and region nominating committees.

The ballot also includes nominees for IEEE Standards Association members-at-large, IEEE Technical Activities vice president-elect, and IEEE-USA president-elect.

IEEE members who want to run for an office but have not been nominated need to submit a petition to the IEEE Board of Directors. The petition must include the required number of valid voting members’ signatures, and the petitioner must meet other requirements as well. Petitions should be sent to the IEEE Corporate Governance staff in Piscataway, N.J.

For more information about the offices up for election, the process of getting on the ballot, and election deadlines, visit the IEEE annual election Web page or write to elections@ieee.org.

Le Motu Proprio à Saint Germain en Laye (78)

Par Summorum Pontificum
Le Motu Proprio à Saint Germain en Laye (78)
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Paix Liturgique revient sur la demande d’application du Motu Proprio à Saint Germain en Laye (lettre n°736 du 10 mars). Alors que les messes célébrées par les chanoines de l’Institut du Christ Roi à la chapelle des Franciscaines vont prendre fin ces jours-ci avec le retour de la Chapellenie Notre-Dame de France à l’église de Port-Marly, Paix Liturgique s’interroge sur la demande d’application du Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum à Saint Germain en Laye à laquelle il n’est toujours pas apporté de réponse.

Paix Liturgique – Mais néanmoins il semblerait que le père Marc Boulle, actuel administrateur de la paroisse de Saint-Germain, ait fini par accepter une rencontre avec les demandeurs de Saint-Germain ?

Louis Renaudin – Le Père Marc Boule est une bonne personne. Il est bien connu pour son respect des groupes attachés à la liturgie traditionnelle. Je crains cependant qu’il soit aujourd’hui instrumentalisé par son évêque contre les fidèles de Saint-Germain qui ne peuvent pas voir en lui un adversaire de la paix. En fait, on nous refait à Saint-Germain en 2020 le coup tordu – passez-mois l’expression – qu’on a fait en 1986 aux paroissiens de Port-Marly en leur donnant comme interlocuteur un prêtre modéré, et même conservateur, presque « tradi », qui pourrait plus facilement parvenir à les faire céder. Rien que de très classique. Pauvre Père Pierre Caro, pauvre Père Marc Boulle, manipulateurs manipulés, qui sont les vraies victimes de ces horribles manipulations.

Paix Liturgique – N’exagérez-vous pas ?

Louis Renaudin – Oh, non. Hier le Père Pierre Caro, au nom de la sainte obéissance, avait tenté d’être le fossoyeur de la communauté de Port-Marly, et aujourd’hui le père Marc Boulle, toujours au nom de l’obéissance, est envoyé au charbon, dans les pires conditions, alors que ses prudents supérieurs ne se risquent pas à se frotter aux gens qu’ils ont exaspérés.

Paix Liturgique – Le Père Marc Boulle veut enterrer la demande de Saint-Germain ?

Louis Renaudin – Lorsque le père Marc Boulle écrit, après des mois de silence, qu’il accepte de recevoir les demandeurs… dans 2 semaines, mais qu’il faudra à ce moment vérifier la réalité d’un groupe stable à Saint-Germain, convenez que c’est très injurieux, ou qu’il ignore totalement le dossier, 12 ANS APRES QUE LA DEMANDE AIT ÉTÉ PRÉSENTÉE ET DIX FOIS RENOUVELÉE !!!! Nous connaissons malheureusement tout cela par cœur : on nous refait les procédés dilatoires habituels. Vraiment, ce n’est pas honnête. Ajoutons que nous avons réalisé en 2018 un sondage d’opinion sur la ville de Saint-Germain-en-Laye et que les résultats de celui-ci nous indiquent que 32 % des catholiques de cette ville souhaiteraient participer à une liturgie traditionnelle dans LEUR VILLE. Et la preuve tangible de la véracité de ce sondage est que les chanoines de l’Institut du Christ-Roi, disant la messe à Saint-Germain avant de retrouver leur église de Port-Marly, ont vu participer à leurs offices de nombreuses familles de Saint-Germanois qu’ils ne connaissaient pas auparavant… Que ce serait-il passé s’ils avaient eu l’autorisation de faire une large publicité de leur présence dans cette ville ?

Paix Liturgique – Mais alors que va-t-il arriver à Saint-Germain ?

Louis Renaudin – Ce que nous annonçons depuis des mois : qui sème le vent, l’injustice et la haine – je pense aux applaudissements déclenchés par nos pasteurs ! – NE PEUT QUE RÉCOLTER UNE TEMPÊTE DONT IL DEVRA ASSUMER LA TOTALE RESPONSABILITÉ.

Paix Liturgique – Et comment vous en sortirez-vous ?

Louis Renaudin – Comment nous en sortirons-nous, plutôt. Et bien seulement par l’instauration d’un vrai dialogue et non par des menteries. Cela va prendre du temps, alors que la paix et la charité aurait pu être au rendez-vous depuis des années à Saint-Germain. Mais nous sommes patients : « Frappez, et l’on vous ouvrira… Demandez, et vous obtiendrez… ».

Paix Liturgique – Mais ne pensez-vous pas que votre juste colère ne braque encore plus vos pasteurs ?

Louis Renaudin – Le pire n’est jamais sûr… Et de ce pire, il faudrait qu’ils assument les conséquences, comme jadis à Port-Marly. Peut-être en effet que Mgr Aumonier, déjà sur le départ, est prêt aux actions inconséquentes dont il n’aura pas à gérer la suite. Mais que fera son auxiliaire Mgr. Bruno Valentin, déjà bien échaudé ? Que feront les prêtres du diocèse, qui savant comment les fidèles attachés à la messe traditionnelle ont été traités depuis dix ans ?

Paix Liturgique – Tout de même, Mgr. Aumônier a bien accueilli trois communautés Ecclesia Dei dans son diocèse ?

Louis Renaudin – C’est une des manières de contenir le phénomène traditionnel à Versailles. On pense qu’elles sont peut-être mieux contrôlables et phagocytables. Ne leur a-t-on pas déclaré, comme me l’a raconté un prêtre du diocèse : « Si la situation ne vous plait pas, quittez le diocèse ». Nous comprenons bien que ces bons abbés et chanoines n’aient guère de marge de manœuvre. Il en est tout autrement pour nous…

NB : A notre connaissance l’abbé Marc Boulle n’est pas administrateur de la paroisse (Le curé est le Père Thierry Faure) mais vicaire général du diocèse de Versailles.

IEEE Leads Effort to Improve Protection of Your Employee Data

Par Kathy Pretz
Office security concept shown with a lock and key on a desk with a keyboard.
Photo: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE Most privacy laws that give consumers control over how their personal data is being used don’t cover employees. It’s up to the employer to protect the personal information they’ve collected about their workers, some of which is sensitive. That can create problems, not just because an employer might mishandle the information but also because it could be sold by third-party vendors that administer workplace programs.

As more technology that uses personal data is adopted in the workplace—such as biometric authentication tools to verify worker identities and GPS apps that track their whereabouts—there are even more reasons to protect the records.

Employees are becoming concerned that their data is used in an ethical, transparent way.

The IEEE Standards Association in 2017 initiated the IEEE P7005 Standard for Transparent Employer Data Governance. The project is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.

The IEEE P7005 working group is currently defining specific methods for employers to certify how they collect, access, use, share, store, and destroy employee data. The group also is working on recommendations for how to provide a safe, trustworthy environment for employees to share their information.

The working group’s 30 members include representatives from large multinational companies, trade unions, and human resource departments, as well as self-employed workers.

The standard considers existing data privacy laws, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, says IEEE Member Ulf Bengtsson, chair of the working group. The GDPR, which took effect in 2018, aims to protect individual privacy and empower people to have greater control over their online presence and personal information, including how their data is shared and used.

Bengtsson says a draft of the standard is undergoing a legal review and will be released later this year. In the meantime, he says, there are certain basic rights and best practices that employers can keep in mind when considering how to handle employee data.

• Employers should not collect and store data unless they have a specific purpose for it. “The employer, of course, has autonomy over the data on its employees,” Bengtsson says. “But that information should only be used for a particular reason.”

• Collection of data should always be with the consent of the employee, who is the one who actually owns the information.

• Data should not be kept longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it’s intended.

• When an employee leaves the company, the business should destroy its copy of the worker’s information.

• Employee information should not be shared with a third party without the employee’s consent. Bengtsson says the standard will call for third-party vendors to comply with privacy protections recommended in the standard.

IEEE P7005 is part of a growing portfolio of more than 30 technical and impact standards that promote innovation, foster interoperability, and recognize human values. The standards are part of the AI systems portfolio of work in the IEEE SA, including the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, an IEEE SA Industry Connections activity that produced the Ethically Aligned Design document published last March.

Une ordination diaconale pour l’Institut du Christ Roi

Par Summorum Pontificum
Une ordination diaconale pour l’Institut du Christ Roi
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Fin février, Mgr Mathieu Madega, évêque de Moulia (Gabon), a ordonné diacre l’abbé Sean Kenney pour l’Institut du Christ Roi Souverain Prêtre en la chapelle Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur de Moulia.

Institut du Christ Roi

💾

Mobile App Is Your Gateway to IEEE

Par IEEE
Image of the IEEE app.
Photo: IEEE

THE INSTITUTE Discover an experience that’s personalized with content tailored to your needs through the IEEE Mobile App.

The app lets IEEE leaders, volunteers, and members engage and connect with all things IEEE. It can be personalized, allowing users to choose how they want to engage and connect with not only the organization but also with other members.

Through the app you can:

  • Get geographical and interest-based recommendations
  • Schedule, manage, or join meetups
  • Read and download IEEE magazines
  • Stay up to date with the latest organizational news
  • Locate IEEE members by affiliations, interests, and location

The app is free to download on Android and iOS.

Ray Liu and S.K. Ramesh Run for 2021 IEEE President-Elect

Par Joanna Goodrich

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE Board of Directors has nominated Fellows Ray Liu and S.K. Ramesh as candidates for IEEE president-elect. The candidate elected in this year’s election will serve as IEEE president in 2022.

Photo of Ray Liu
Photo: Ray Liu

Liu is an engineering professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. He leads the university’s Signal and Information Group, which researches signal processing and communications.

He has founded several startups including Origin Wireless, which pioneered AI for wireless sensing and indoor tracking. Under Liu’s leadership as chief executive, the company invented the world’s first centimeter-accuracy indoor positioning and tracking system using the principle of “time reversal.” The invention is now available in more than 150 countries.

Liu has held many volunteer positions. He was the 2019 vice president of IEEE Technical Activities. As 2012–2013 president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he established a new membership board to offer more benefits to society members—which resulted in increased membership. In 2005 he cofounded the IEEE Signal Processing chapter in Washington, D.C. From 2003 to 2005, he was editor-in-chief of IEEE Signal Processing magazine.

He was also the 2016–2017 Division IX director.

Liu was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2003 “for contributions to algorithms, architectures, and implementations for signal processing.”

He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008 and of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors last year.

He has received numerous IEEE honors and recognitions including the 2009 IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, the 2014 IEEE Signal Processing Society Award, and the 2016 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award.

Photo of S.K. Ramesh
Photo: S.K. Ramesh

Ramesh is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at California State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science in Northridge, where he served as dean from 2006 to 2017. While dean, he created an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in assistive technology engineering to meet emerging workforce needs.

Ramesh is the founding director of the university’s nationally recognized Attract, Inspire, Mentor, and Support Students program, which enhances the graduation of underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science.

He has served on the IEEE Board of Directors, Awards Board, and Fellows Committee. As the 2016–2017 vice president of IEEE Educational Activities, he championed several successful programs including the IEEE Learning Network and the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute.

He expanded chapters globally to serve all 10 regions and increased industry support as the 2016 president of IEEE’s honor society, IEEE-HKN.

Ramesh was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2015 for “contributions to entrepreneurship in engineering education.”

He serves on the ABET Board of Directors, the global accrediting organization for academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, and is an experienced program evaluator.

Ramesh has served Region 6 at the section, chapter, and area levels. His many recognitions include the 2004 Region 6 Community Service award, and the 2012 John Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year award from the Engineers Council.

IEEE Medal of Honor Goes to Transistor Pioneer Chenming Hu

Par Joanna Goodrich
Photo of Chenming Hu
Photo: Chenming Hu

THE INSTITUTE IEEE Life Fellow Chenming Hu will receive this year’s IEEE Medal of Honor “for a distinguished career of developing and putting into practice semiconductor models, particularly 3D device structures, that have helped keep Moore’s Law going over many decades.”

Hu has been called the Father of the 3D Transistor due to his development of the Fin Field Effect Transistor in 1999. Intel, the first company to implement FinFETs in its products, called the invention the most radical shift in semiconductor technology in more than 50 years.

Hu received the 2014 U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation “for pioneering innovations in microelectronics including reliability technologies, the first industry-standard model for circuit design, and the first 3D transistors—which radically advanced semiconductor technology.”

He was awarded the 2009 IEEE Nishizawa Medal “for achievements critical to producing smaller yet more reliable and higher-performance integrated circuits.”

Hu has been a professor of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1976. He is a member of the board of semiconductor manufacturers Ambarella and Inphi.

He was chair of Friends of Children with Special Needs, a nonprofit in Fremont, Calif., that supports developmentally delayed children and adults, and also was a chair of the East Bay Chinese School in Oakland, Calif., where children and adults learn Mandarin.

He is also the founding chair of Celestry Design Technologies, creator of analysis programs for the semiconductor industry. Celestry was acquired in 2002 by Cadence.

From 2001 to 2004 he was chief technology officer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world’s largest IC manufacturing company, based in Hsinchu.

Hu has authored five books, written 900 research papers and holds more than 100 U.S. patents.

Hu received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1968 from the National Taiwan University, in Taipei. He received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1970 and 1973, respectively.

The IEEE Foundation sponsors the IEEE Medal of Honor.

The award is scheduled to be presented at the annual IEEE Honors Ceremony during the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit, to be held on 15 May at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver.

This article appears in the March 2020 print issue as “Medal of Honor Goes to Transistor Pioneer.”

IEEE President: Let’s Focus on Continuing Education

Par Toshio Fukuda
Photo of Toshio Fukuda
Photo: Christie’s Photographic Solutions

THE INSTITUTE Our shared vision is for IEEE to be essential to the global technical community and to technical professionals everywhere. Our organization also strives to be universally recognized for the role that technology and technical professionals play in improving global social conditions.

During the past two years, the IEEE Board of Directors has worked with members around the world to create the IEEE Strategic Plan for 2020 through 2025, providing a clear picture of the vision and goals that will guide IEEE as we move forward.

For the next five years, we are committed to continuing to drive global innovation through broad collaboration and the sharing of knowledge. A key element of the new strategic plan is a renewed focus on continuing education and professional development programs, which will enhance the value of IEEE for our members and which will be vital to the future growth of the organization. The plan commits IEEE to be a trusted source of educational services and resources to support lifelong learning and to provide new opportunities for career and professional development.

A GLOBAL ORGANIZATION

Our international membership is the heart of IEEE. As president, I am interested in exploring new opportunities to leverage technology to empower us to collaborate, communicate, and connect globally.

It is also important for IEEE to engage diverse audiences to attract and retain new members. Today, young professionals, students, women in engineering, entrepreneurs, and engineers and technologists working across a wide variety of industries are looking for new ways to engage with IEEE through networking and learning opportunities. We will need to continue to engage and welcome a growing member community for IEEE as membership expands in China, India, and across Africa and South America.

EMPHASIZING EDUCATION

I believe education at all levels is a fundamental activity for IEEE. Education underpins everything: the disciplines we immerse ourselves in; the desire to inspire the next generation of scientists and technologists; the need to excite young people about science, technology, engineering, and math early in their education; the role we play in shaping university-level education and research; and the support we provide to our members in maintaining their technical currency and proficiency across their careers.

Continuing education has long been one of the top five reasons members give when asked why they joined IEEE. Member surveys and my own conversations with members have reinforced my belief that enhancing IEEE’s continuing education offerings must be a critical new pillar of member value.

As the existing body of technical knowledge continues to grow exponentially, engineers and technology professionals are working hard to stay current, competent, and informed. Today, technologists are seeking trusted sources to support their long-term and just-in-time learning needs, and this demand will continue to grow in the future. IEEE has a vital role to play in delivering “educational value” to our members. I believe a high-quality continuing education program can significantly increase the “value” of IEEE membership.

Because IEEE’s technical scope covers a broad range of scientific and technical areas, our robust education program must address the needs of members working in dynamic industries such as computers, power and energy, telecommunications, robotics, consumer electronics, biomedical systems, software development and engineering, and semiconductors.

We must also address emerging and cross-disciplinary technical opportunities, as we do in our successful Future Directions initiatives.

During the strategic discussions held by the IEEE Board of Directors in January, we focused on rethinking the way we address the lifelong educational needs of technical professionals and
engineers and, in particular, on expanding opportunities to provide continuing education as a unique member value proposition.

All of IEEE can play a part in elevating the role that our continuing education programs play in delivering value to our members. This is an opportunity for our major operating units—Member and Geographic Activities, Technical Activities, IEEE-USA, Publication Services and Products, Standards Association, and Educational Activities — to work together around the goal of improving the value of membership through education.

I believe that the best scientists and engineers working today are those who recognize that education is a lifelong journey. No matter how much they learn or how much they contribute to the advancement of science and technology, there will always be a need to acquire more knowledge and sharper skills to make the next innovation even more beneficial to our world. IEEE should be a trusted partner for our members in their journey of lifelong learning.

Share your thoughts with me at president@ieee.org.

This article appears in the March 2020 print issue as “Engage Globally, Empower Locally.”

Mark Humayun Builds Bionic Eyes

Par Joanna Goodrich
Photo of Mark Humayun
Photo: USC Roski Eye
IEEE Fellow Mark Humayun in his lab at the University of Southern California’s Ginsburg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics in Los Angeles.

THE INSTITUTE While Mark Humayun was attending medical school in the 1980s at Duke University, in Durham, N.C., his grandmother began to lose her eyesight because of complications from diabetes. After deciding to research how he could use technology to help her retain her eyesight, he spent the next 20 years looking for a solution.

That journey ultimately led Humayun, an IEEE Fellow, to help invent the Argus II, a retinal prosthesis system approved in 2013 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The first implantable device for people with retinal neurodegenerative diseases, it has helped more than 300 patients worldwide for whom there was no foreseeable cure.

Humayun, a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, built the Argus II with three other faculty members, after working on the original Argus. He also is director of the university’s Ginsburg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics.

For his work, Humayun is the recipient of this year’s IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology. The award, which is sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, is scheduled to be presented at the annual IEEE Honors Ceremony, during the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit, to be held on 15 May in Vancouver.

Humayun received his medical degree in 1989 from Duke and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 1994 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He is the only ophthalmologist ever to have been elected as a member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering.

Photo of Humayun Argus II Implant
Photo: USC Roski Eye
The 60-electrode array, part of the implant, is surgically placed in the back of the patient’s eye, connecting it to the retina’s remaining neurons.

The IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology is not the first honor Humayun has received for the Argus II. In 2016 he received a U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, presented by President Barack Obama.

“It’s very gratifying when peers acknowledge you,” Humayun says. “Certainly, it rises to a different level when the president of the United States gives you a national award. It was one of the highlights of my career.”

The path to developing the Argus II wasn’t easy.

“No one believed in the project at first,” Humayun says. “It took over a decade to build the team to what it is now and to increase the faith physicians and engineers have in the technology.”

FINDING INSPIRATION

Two research projects that experimented with electrodes inspired the technology behind the Argus II.

While investigating how technology could help his grandmother’s vision, Humayun discovered research that was being conducted into the causes of epileptic seizures. Physicians were stimulating the patient’s occipital lobe—the brain’s vision center—with electrodes, hoping to determine whether that part of the brain caused seizures.

“When the surgeon touched the occipital lobe, the patient would see a spot of light even though there was no light,” Humayun says. “That discovery made me think: Could electrical stimulation be used to restore eyesight?”

During the same period, another innovation was being developed: cochlear implants, surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to people who are deaf or severely hard of hearing. The implants use electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve.

Illustration of Humayun Argus II Wearable
Photo: USC Roski Eye
A digital representation of the Argus II, including the wearable component and the implant.

The Argus II is not able to restore full vision, but it can offer a person some functional sight: the ability to see boundaries and outlines of objects and people—which can help them navigate their environment.

HELPING PATIENTS SEE

The Argus II is made up of wearable components and an implant. The device, which bypasses the light-sensing cells in the eye, can be used by patients age 25 and older who don’t have damaged optic nerves. If an optic nerve is damaged, as occurs with glaucoma and other conditions, the implant can’t stimulate it.

The implant includes a receiving coil; an antenna, which is placed under the muscles around the eye; and a 60-electrode array. The array is surgically placed in the back of the patient’s eye, connecting it to the retina’s remaining neurons. It sends information to the brain’s visual center via the optic nerve.

To create information the implant can use, the patient wears eyeglasses containing a miniature camera, which captures video of the scene in front of the wearer. That information is then sent wirelessly to a processor, which is about the size of a cellphone and can be worn on a belt or carried in a pocket. The processor converts the video into instructions that are sent wirelessly to the implant. The implant’s electrodes then stimulate the retina, allowing the patient to decipher the image the camera captured as flashes of light.

“The electrode array electrically stimulates and jump-starts the otherwise blind eye,” Humayun says.

Each patient meets with an occupational therapist or low-vision therapist to relearn how to function with sight. Patients also are required to return periodically to their ophthalmologist to get the software and the system’s electronics adjusted to meet their changing needs.

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

When Humayun and his team first began the Argus project, they had to resolve several issues with hardware and software. How, they wondered, do you make a device that doesn’t deteriorate in the eye? And what kind of electrical pulses could be viewed as an image?

After working on the device for more than 15 years, the team began clinical trials in 2007, testing the technology on patients for 30 minutes without implanting it. The first patient was able to see for the first time in the very first test session after having been blind for 50 years.

“Witnessing the first patient see a spot of light for the first time was a defining moment for me and the project,” Humayun says.

After news spread that the test was successful, more engineers, physicians, and scientists sought to join Humayun’s team, which now includes more than 200 people.

Humayun says his IEEE membership helped him raise awareness of his work. “The organization helped me connect with engineers from many different fields, such as biomedical, electrical, industrial, and mechanical.”

Two IEEE Fellows who joined Humayun’s team were instrumental in its success: Gianluca Lazzi and James Weiland. Lazzi is an engineering professor at USC who specializes in antennas and wireless communication. Weiland is a professor of bioengineering and ophthalmology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Mark has accomplished extraordinary things at the intersection of engineering and medicine in his career,” Lazzi says. “His pioneering contributions to the field of artificial sight are so unique, fundamental, and visionary that they have created a paradigm shift in entire fields. I am incredibly excited about what lies ahead.”

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