IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE’s highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.
IEEE, pronounced “Eye-triple-E,” stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name and it is the full legal name. To learn more about the association’s name, for more information please read the History of IEEE. A brief summary is given below.
- INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
IEEE, an association dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for the benefit of humanity, is the world’s largest technical professional society. It is designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization.
IEEE’s roots, however, go back to 1884 when electricity was just beginning to become a major force in society. There was one major established electrical industry, the telegraph, which — beginning in the 1840s — had come to connect the world with a communications system faster than the speed of transportation. A second major area had only barely gotten underway — electric power and light.
- Meaning of “I-E-E-E”
IEEE, pronounced “Eye-triple-E”, stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name, and it is the full legal name.
However, IEEE’s membership has long been composed of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals. These include computer scientists, software developers, information technology professionals, physicists, medical doctors, and many others in addition to our electrical and electronics engineering core. For this reason the organization no longer goes by the full name, except on legal business documents, and is referred to simply as IEEE.
- The very beginning of the IEEE
In the spring of 1884, a small group of individuals in the electrical professions met in New York. They formed a new organization to support professionals in their nascent field and to aid them in their efforts to apply innovation for the betterment of humanity — the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, or AIEE for short. That October the AIEE held its first technical meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.
Some AIEE members, such as Thomas Edison, came from electric power engineering, while Alexander Graham Bell represented the newer telephone industry. As electric power spread rapidly across the world — enhanced by innovations such as Nikola Tesla’s AC Induction Motor, long distance AC transmission and large-scale power plants, and commercialized by industries — the AIEE became increasingly focused on electrical power and its ability to change people’s lives through the unprecedented products and services it could deliver. There was a secondary focus on wired communications, both the telegraph and the telephone. Through technical meetings, publications, and promotion of standards, the AIEE led the growth of the electrical engineering profession, while through local sections and student branches, it brought its benefits to engineers in widespread places.
- Foundation of the IRE
A new industry arose beginning with Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless telegraphy experiments at the turn of the century. What was originally called “wireless” became radio with the electrical amplification possibilities inherent in the vacuum tubes which evolved from John Fleming’s diode and Lee de Forest’s triode. With the new industry came a new society in 1912, the Institute of Radio Engineers.
The IRE was modeled on the AIEE, but was devoted to radio, and then increasingly to electronics. It, too, furthered its profession by linking its members through publications, standards and conferences, and encouraging them to advance their industries by promoting innovation and excellence in the emerging new products and services.
- The Societies converge and merge
Through the help of leadership from the two societies, and with the applications of its members’ innovations to industry, electricity wove its way — decade by decade — more deeply into every corner of life — television, radar, transistors, computers. Increasingly, the interests of the societies overlapped. Membership in both societies grew, but beginning in the 1940s, the IRE grew faster and in 1957 became the larger group. On January 1, 1963, The AIEE and the IRE merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE. At its formation, the IEEE had 150,000 members, 140,000 of whom were in the United States.
In the same year, 1963, the Norwegian Section was founded (see below).
- Growth and globalization
Over the decades that followed, with IEEE’s continued leadership, the societal roles of the technologies under its aegis continued to spread across the world, and reach into more and more areas of people’s lives. The professional groups and technical boards of the predecessor institutions evolved into IEEE Societies. By the early 21st Century, IEEE served its members and their interests with 38 societies; 130 journals, transactions and magazines; more 300 conferences annually; and 900 active standards.
Since that time, computers evolved from massive mainframes to desktop appliances to portable devices, all part of a global network connected by satellites and then by fiber optics. IEEE’s fields of interest expanded well beyond electrical/electronic engineering and computing into areas such as micro- and nanotechnology, ultrasonics, bioengineering, robotics, electronic materials, and many others. Electronics became ubiquitous—from jet cockpits to industrial robots to medical imaging.
As technologies and the industries that developed them increasingly transcended national boundaries, IEEE kept pace, becoming a truly global institution which used the innovations of the practitioners it represented in order to enhance its own excellence in delivering products and services to members, industries, and the public at large. Publications and educational programs were delivered online, as were member services such as renewal and elections. By 2010, IEEE had over 395,000 members in 160 countries. Through its worldwide network of geographical units, publications, web services, and conferences, IEEE remains the world’s largest technical professional association.
- IEEE Organization
IEEE has a dual complementary regional and technical structure – with organizational units based on geography and technical focus. 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.
IEEE is organized into:
- 333 local sections in 10 geographic regions;
- more than 2,080 chapters comprised of local members with similar technical interests;
- 38 societies and 7 technical councils that compose 10 technical divisions;
- nearly 2000 student branches at colleges and universities in 80 countries;
- more than 530 student branch chapters.
Regions 1 – 6 are different parts of the USA, Region 7 is Canada, Region 8 Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Region 9 is Latin America, and Region 10 is East and South Asia and the Pacific (incl. Australia).
The whole organization has a President on top who is elected by the members for one year (no re-election!). At the President’s disposal is a staff of full-time employees. The Vice-President is elected in the same way as the President. Every Region has a Director, elected for two years by the Members of this Region. (Being President is regarded as full-time work, the position as Director of a Region is not.)
Region 8 — to which Norway Section belongs — celebrated its 50th anniversity in 2013. It was originally founded on 24 April 1962 as Region 9 of the IRE (see above), and its inaugural meeting took place on 6 June 1963 in Geneva. Without changing its boundaries, IRE Region 9 was renamed IEEE Region 8 on 8 January 1963, and the first Region 8 Committee Meeting took place on 22 April 1963, again in Geneva.
- IEEE Quick Facts as of 31 December 2013. (This information is updated annually.)
- more than 430,000 members in more than 160 countries, more than 50 percent of whom are from outside the United States;
- more than 120,000 Student members;
- 333 sections in ten geographic regions worldwide;
- 2,231 chapters that unite local members with similar technical interests;
- 2,516 student branches at colleges and universities in 80 countries;
- 790 student branch chapters of IEEE technical societies;
- 432 affinity groups – IEEE Affinity Groups are non-technical sub-units of one or more Sections or a Council. The Affinity Group patent entities are the IEEE-USA Consultants’ Network, Graduates of the Last Decade Young Professionals (YP), Women in Engineering (WIE), and Life Members (LM).
- has 38 Societies and ten technical Councils representing the wide range of IEEE technical interests;
- has more than 3.5 million documents in the IEEEXplore Digital Library, with more than 8 million downloads each month;
- has more than 1,500 standards and projects under development;
- publishes approximately 170 transactions, journals, and magazines;
- sponsors more than 1,300 conferences in 92 countries while:
- partnering with more than 1,000 non-IEEE entities globally;
- attracting more than 419,000 conference attendees;
- publishing more than 1,200 conference proceedings via IEEE Xplore.
There are more than 430,000 IEEE members in over 160 countries around the world. IEEE members are engineers, scientists and allied professionals whose technical interests are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering and related disciplines.
The highest grade of membership – IEEE Fellow – is attained through nomination by peers and approval by the IEEE Board of Directors for distinction in the profession.
Membership in IEEE is open to individuals who by education or experience give evidence of competence in an IEEE designated field. The designated fields are: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, Law and Policy.
IEEE offers the following grades of membership: Student, Graduate Student, Associate, Member, Senior, and Fellow. The special categories of Life Member, GOLD Member, and Affiliate are also offered.
A Student Member must carry at least 50% of a normal full-time academic program as a registered ndergraduate or graduate student in a regular course of study in IEEE-designated fields. The total cumulative period for a member to hold the Student Member grade and/or the Graduate Student Member grade is limited to 8 years.
Student Members, upon graduation or upon reaching the 8-year limit (whichever occurs first), with at least a baccalaureate or higher degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution in an IEEE-designated field will be transferred automatically to Member grade. Student Members outside of the IEEE-designated fields, upon graduation or upon reaching the 8-year limit (whichever occurs first), will be transferred to Associate Member grade.
A Graduate Student Member must carry at least 50% of a normal full-time academic program as a registered graduate student in a regular course of study in IEEE- designated fields. The total cumulative period for a member to hold the Student Member grade and/or the Graduate Student Member grade is limited to 8 years.
Graduate Student Members, upon graduation or upon reaching the total cumulative 8-year limit as a Graduate Student Member (whichever occurs first), will be transferred automatically to Member grade.
Associate Member grade is designed for technical and non-technical individuals who do not meet the qualifications for Member grade, but who wish to benefit from membership and partnership in IEEE, and for those who are progressing, through continuing education and work experience, towards qualifications for Member grade.
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 may be either:
(a) An individual who has received a three-to-five year university-level or higher degree from an accredited institution or program and in an IEEE-designated field;
(b) An individual who has 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.
The grade of Senior Member is the highest for which application may be made and requires 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.
The candidate shall have been in professional practice for at least ten years and shall have shown significant performance over a period of at least five of those years, such performance including one or more of the following:
(a) Substantial responsibility or achievement in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(b) Publication of papers, books, or inventions in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(c) Technical direction or management of important work with evidence of accomplishment in one or more of IEEE-designated fields; or
(d) Recognized contributions to the welfare of the professions encompassed by one or more of the IEEE-designated fields; or
(e) Development or furtherance of important courses in one or more of the IEEE-designated fields at an institution in the REP list; or
(f) Contributions equivalent to those of (a) to (e) in areas related to IEEE-designated fields, provided these contributions serve to advance progress substantially in IEEE-designated fields.
The grade of Fellow recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and is conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of IEEE’s designated fields of interest. The year of election to the grade of Fellow is the year following affirmative action by the Board of Directors in conferring the grade of Fellow. The candidate shall hold Senior Member grade at the time the nomination is submitted. Normally, the candidate shall have been a member in any grade for a period of five years or more preceding January 1 of the year of election; however, the five-year membership requirement may be waived for a Fellow candidate who has been engaged in professional practice (as needed to qualify for Senior Member grade) in a geographical area where, in the judgment of the Board of Directors, it was difficult to become a member previously, as evidenced by the absence of a Section previously and the recent formation of a new Section to cover that geographical area. In such case, membership of five years or more in a recognized local electrical, electronics, or computer engineering society may substitute for the five-year IEEE membership requirement, when the nomination is submitted within four years after the formation of the new Section.
The designation Life Member is applicable only to a member who has reached the age of 65 years and who has been a member of IEEE (or one of its predecessor societies) for such a period that the sum of his/her age and his/her years of membership equals or exceeds 100 years. All members having the designation Life Member (or Member-for-Life in the predecessor societies) shall be designated as a Life Member in IEEE.
Any member who would have been qualified on or before 31 December 1963 to be a Member-for-Life of AIEE, under the rules of eligibility of AIEE, or to be a Life Member of IRE, under the rules of the IRE, shall be qualified to be a Life Member of IEEE. The Executive Director shall grant Life Membership status to any member who would qualify for Life Membership during the remainder of the transition period prior to 1998 under the previous IEEE Bylaw. Basic dues and assessments are waived for those achieving Life Member status.
IEEE members can access information on local events and activities by logging in to myIEEE, the members’ personalized gateway to IEEE membership. In addition, members can also:
- access individual Society memberships and subscriptions;
- connect with local IEEE Sections and volunteer leadership;
- find upcoming conferences;
- learn more about individual benefits;
- read the latest news from IEEE, IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Standards News, and The Institute.
IEEE publishes nearly a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science and electronics. This includes approximately 170 transactions, journals and magazines published annually. In cooperation with John Wiley and Sons, Inc., IEEE also produces technical books, monographs, guides and textbooks. All IEEE content since 1988 plus select content dating back to 1950 is available in digital format.
IEEE journals are consistently among the most highly cited in electrical and electronics engineering, telecommunications and other technical fields.
The IEEE Xplore® Digital Library contains more than 3.5 million documents from IEEE and IEEE journals, transactions, magazines, letters, conference proceedings and active IEEE standards.
Each year, over 100,000 technical professionals attend the more than 1,300 conferences sponsored or co-sponsored by the IEEE. From microelectronics and microwaves to sensors and security, IEEE conferences cover relevant topics that showcase the depth and breadth of members’ technical fields. IEEE members are eligible for reduced participation fees at these conferences.
IEEE is a leading developer of international standards that underpin many of today’s telecommunications, information technology, and power generation products and services.
Often the central source for standardization in a broad range of emerging technologies, the IEEE Standards Association has a portfolio of more than 1,500 standards and projects under development. This includes the prominent IEEE 802® standards for wireless networking.
1.12. Education and careers
By awarding continuing education units and professional development hours, IEEE helps its members meet their continuing education requirements and develops products and services in support of these efforts.
IEEE follows strict guidelines for the development and delivery of continuing education materials, conforming to the highest industry practices for awarding continuing education units, professional development hours, and certificates of completion.
At the pre-college level, IEEE works with industry, universities, and government to raise students’ literacy in science, math, engineering, and technology.
The IEEE Foundation relies on donations to award grants to new and innovative projects that support a variety of educational, humanitarian, historical preservation, and peer recognition programs of IEEE, such as:
- developing educational and public-information programs;
- sustaining historical research services;
- subsidizing workshops that facilitate the exchange of electronic information;
- propelling technological innovation;
- increasing public awareness about the vast impact of engineering on society.
Accomplishments in IEEE technical fields are recognized with annual awards for outstanding contributions to technology, society, and the engineering profession.
The IEEE Medal of Honor, IEEE’s highest award, recognizes an individual for an exceptional contribution or extraordinary career in the IEEE fields of interest. Past recipients have included such visionaries as:
- Guglielmo Marconi (1920, for radio telegraphy);
• William Shockley (1980, for junction, analog, and junction field-effect transistors);
• Andrew S. Grove (2000, for pioneering research in metal oxide semiconductor devices and technology).