News Archive


Old issues of IEEE Region 8 News

Digital versions of IEEE Region 8 News from 2002 onward can be found in the Region 8 News archive of back issues; all older issues of IEEE Region 8 News and its predecessors — IEEE Region 8 newsletter (1967-1986; issues 1-76) and IEEE Region EIGHT News (1987-1989; issues 77-85) — have been scanned and are available here. Note that volume numbers were introduced in Region 8 News in 1998 with the August issue (Volume 1, Number 1); until then, the numbering was consecutively from 1 till 122. Warning: Although the November 1989 issue is actually number 88, it carries the number 87 instead of 88.

The scanned versions can be downloaded by clicking on the link in the table below. In addition to news about the IEEE and the activities that took place on the Region level, these old issues contain lots of information about our Sections and may thus form a valuable source of information, especially for those Sections who want to fill the gaps in their history.

  1. 001
  2. 002 003 004 005
  3. 006 007 008 009
  4. 010 011 012 013
  5. 014 015 016 017
  6. 018 019
  7. 020 021 022 023
  8. 024 025 026 027 028 
  9. 029 030 031 032
  10. 033 034 035 036
  11. 037 038 039 040
  12. 041 042 043 044
  13. 045 046 047 048
  14. 049 050 051 052
  15. 053 054 055 056
  16. 057 058 059 060
  17. 061 062 063 064
  18. 065 066 067 068
  19. 069 070 071 072
  20. 073 074 075 076
  21. 077 078 079 080
  22. 081 082 083 084
  23. 085 086 087 088
  24. 089 090 091 092
  25. 093 094 095 096
  26. 097 098 099 100
  27. 101 102 103 104
  28. 105 106 107 108
  29. 109 110 111 112
  30. 113 114 115 116
  31. 117 118 119 120
  32. 121 122 v11 v12
  33. v21 v22 v23 v24
  34. v31 v32 v33 v34
  35. v41 v42 v43 v44

IEEE Section Naming

About IEEE Section Naming

Tony Davies, 9th June 2014

As a non-political organisation, there is some dislike in IEEE about using words like ‘kingdom’ and ‘republic’ in Section names.  Likewise, few would consider it appropriate to include such phrases as ‘people’s republic of …..’ in a Section name.
On this basis, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Section, despite being one of the oldest in R8, and having a large number of members, clearly scores badly!  Moreover the usual abbreviation of ‘UKRI’ has occasionally been the sources of congratulations for the good spoken English of a member, by someone who assumes that it is the Ukraine Section.
Long ago, when the formation of the Section was under discussion, it was proposed and expected that it would be called the ‘United Kingdom and Eire Section’.   However, at that time the Irish members indicated their preference for ‘Republic of Ireland’ instead of ‘Eire’.   While the reasons may not have been clear, hindsight shows it to have been correct.  We do not speak of the IEEE Deutschland Section or the IEEE Espana Section, etc.   We normally use the English-language equivalent (e.g. Germany, Spain, etc).   Likewise, ‘Éire’ is the translation into Irish of ‘Ireland’, and ‘Republic of Ireland’ would be ‘Poblacht na h-Éireann’.
The postage stamps of the Republic of Ireland normally have the word ‘Éire’ on them, often with an indication that the name applies to the whole island and not only to the Republic (see the example illustrated in Fig.1), although some do include ‘Republic’ and are bilingual (English/Irish) as illustrated by another example (Fig.2).
By contrast, the postage stamps of Northern Ireland follow the United Kingdom custom of not including any country-name at all (see Fig.3).
Recently it was decided to prefer the abbreviation ‘UK&RI’ to ‘UKRI’ (which at least, should eliminate the Ukraine connection), and a further step has now been taken.  Subject to MGA approval, the name will just become ‘United Kingdom and Ireland’.
Unfortunately this still has some potential for misunderstanding.  Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and so appears to be ‘counted twice’ in the name.  This should present no difficulty to mathematicians and software engineers, who know that if A = {x,y,z} and B = {v,w,x} then A ∩ B = {v,w,x,y,z}.   E.g. in Boolean Algebra and in set theory, the logical AND (∩) allows x to be in both.
However, in everyday English, and especially among those with a political agenda, there will be a risk of an assumption that United Kingdom excludes Northern Ireland (and there are some who wish that was the case).   The alternative name of ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ overcomes this difficulty, but no doubt some would object to the adjective ‘Great’ in an IEEE Section name, especially for a geographically-small place.
There are some IEEE members whose geographical expertise is limited (including some in Regions 1 to 6) who may suppose that Scotland and Wales are parts of England;  they might become even more confused by the planned Section name change, especially if, at future time, Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom.   The Section might then be renamed the IEEE Wales, England and Ireland (WEI) Section, but could that lead to demands from the somewhat independent Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Sark asking to be included in the name, perhaps as the ‘WEIIoMGJAS’ Section.
In Regions 1 to 7, it is common for Section names to be names of large towns or a city or perhaps a group of associated towns.   For a large city there could be several Sections.   This is very different from Region 8, where the norm is ‘one country = one Section’.  Rules made in Regions 1 to 7 are therefore not invariably directly applicable to Region 8, needing care to prevent possible misunderstandings.
Names are important in human societies, and are particularly linked to politics, in which IEEE should not become involved.   Thus, name changes (for example, from St. Petersburg to Leningrad and back to St. Petersburg) are very important, and may lead to difficulties and anomalies.  We have, in Region 8, the IEEE Czechoslovakia Section, even though there is no longer a country with that name. If split into two, one part would presumably have to be called the IEEE Czech Republic Section, so bringing in the unwelcome ‘republic’ word.
Remember the many cities which have ‘people’s palaces’ (sometimes buildings where the ‘people’ were forbidden to go) and ‘streets of unity’ (when sometimes there was little or no unity).
Those who attended the recent Region 8 Committee meeting may have walked along Andrássy Street, and perhaps few knew that it used to be called Népköztársaság street, which if nothing else, was a good test of the pronunciation skills of visiting foreigners.  This street has had other names, including Stalin street.  So these issues are often very important and emotive, but are ones which IEEE is wise to steer clear of, and IEEE should take care not to risk creating unintended animosities.

                                          Copy of DSCF5319

Fig 1: Republic of Ireland stamp showing the whole island, and name ‘éire’

                   Copy of DSCF5318

Fig.2:  Bilingual stamp, including the ‘Republic’ designation.

                               Northern Ireland

Fig. 3:  Northern Ireland stamp, with no country name.

 

 

 


History Milestones Beginner’s Guide

A Region 8 Beginner’s Guide to IEEE History Milestones

Holography Plaque - Copy

The IEEE GHN website is now a part of ethw.org (engineering+technology wiki) and has an explanation of the process of submitting a proposal for an IEEE History Milestone, and provides a list of answers to some FAQs.  However it seems that there is not a good understanding of the procedure among members and even active volunteers across Region 8.  This document is therefore provided as an introduction and supplement to the available information.

What they are

The IEEE Historic Milestones are recognitions of significant inventions or achievements in the field of interest of IEEE which is considered to have had an important impact.  The invention or achievement must have taken place at least 25 years ago.  There is no upper limit, e.g. it can be, and often is, long before the origin of IEEE (or its AIEE and IRE predecessors).

The Milestones are not a recognition of or award to a person, although often the particular invention or achievement is inseparably associated with a specific person (for example, Holography with Dennis Gabor, the Poulsen Arc with Valdemar Poulsen or Maxwell’s Equations with James Clerk Maxwell).

The Poulson-Arc Oscillator       Used  for Radio Transmitters,      Denmark, 1902  Poulsen-Arc_Radio_transmitter

Evaluation and Approval

It is inevitable that in some cases there are differences of opinion among historians about the originator of something important, for example the answers to such questions as ‘”Who invented radio?”, “Who invented the telephone?”, “Which was the first computer?”   Answers provided may depend upon nationalistic or political influences.

A rigorous evaluation of proposals for IEEE History Milestones is therefore important, and as a result the time between an initial proposal and the final approval by the IEEE Board of Directors takes typically a couple of years.  Adjustment of the proposed title or citation may be necessary and there is then an additional time needed to order, cast in bronze and ship the plaque to the destination in readiness for the installation and dedication ceremony (at which it is usual for the IEEE President or other senior IEEE volunteers to be invited).

Consequently, to see the process through from the first idea to a successful conclusion needs patience and at least one enthusiastic ‘champion’ who will oversee the activity.

The Process:  access to the GHN Website

Proposals for IEEE History Milestones are submitted via the IEEE Global History Network (GHN) website within the ETHW website.   The champion must therefore have Login permission.  All IEEE members can easily get this, by clicking on ‘create an account’ on the Home Page, and choosing an ID name and password, which should be activated within one business day.  Note that this is NOT the name/password which is used for the member’s IEEE web account. They are completely independent (though a particular user might choose to use the same name and or password for both).    Non-members of IEEE can normally also get Login permission, after a review process which may take about a week.

Submission and assessment

The usual procedure is for the champion to enter the proposed title and initial factual data about the proposed Milestone.  The information may be entered in stages, with some required data added later as it becomes available.  For example, it is necessary to have a letter from the owner of the location where the Milestone plaque is to be installed, confirming their willingness to accept it, and to keep it available and accessible to visitors who wish to view it and from the Chair of the Section which will take long term responsibility for it.

Once the proposal has been entered , it will be monitored by IEEE History Center staff, who can provide advice to the proposer(s).   An advocate (often a present or past member of the IEEE History Committee) will be appointed to monitor the progress, seek opinions about its validity, and in due course, make a recommendation about it to the History Committee.  Anyone with login access may contribute to the ‘Discussion’ topics about a proposal, which are open for all to see and to comment upon.  This is strongly encouraged to ensure the widest possible assessment.

The History Committee normally meets face-to-face twice per year, with the Milestone proposals which are ready for a decision on the agenda.   They are then each discussed, and if possible, approved, including the title and citation.   The approved proposal then goes to the next meeting of the Board of Directors for endorsement.   It is unlikely but not impossible that the Board would not approve or ask for changes, but in case this occurs the order for casting the plaque is not normally placed until after the Board of Directors meeting.

 

Costs and responsibilities                                    .

The plaque is normally regarded as the responsibility of the Section in which it is located.   It might be proposed in the framework of a Society or other IEEE OU, but since it has a geographical location, it is natural that the Section at that location should take the long term responsibility for it.  Any exception to this would have to be strongly justified.  The Section therefore has to pay the cost of the casting and shipping of the plaque, although naturally there is encouragement to obtain sponsorship both for these costs and for the cost of the installation and dedication ceremony.

It is often appropriate to have some kind of technical lecture or seminar associated with the ceremony and it is an opportunity to seek good publicity for IEEE and its activities.

The location of the plaque may be in a public place or on private property, but it is expected that the owner of the location will provide written assurances that the plaque will remain in place and that bona-fide visitors will be allowed access to see it.   Some arrangements for long-term insurance against damage might be needed in some locations.

The location should be as close as possible to the place where the invention or achievement being recognised took place.  Because of the passage of time and the possible change of the buildings and activities in the vicinity, this is sometimes impossible and some reasonable alternative has to be devised.

When the milestone has been installed and the dedication taken place, the basic information about it should be readily accessible on the ETHW website, and it should be included on the interactive map of IEEE Milestones.  The material submitted during the proposal process remains on the website as a permanent record.   It is wise to check the map for possible errors from time to time.

 Version 1.3

Prepared  by Prof Tony Davies, UK&I Section, in 2013, and then updated on19th February 2017.

 


History of the Region 8 Committee

Work-in-progress — Tony Davies (23 Aug 2007 to 29 November 2014)

Please check for accuracy!

 

Once upon a time, very long ago, the USA comprised seven Regions, Region 8 was Canada, and Region 9 consisted of several other countries, including seven Sections in Europe. This was all part of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). Then, IRE merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) to form IEEE in January 1963. The number of Regions in USA was reduced from seven to six, and Canada became Region 7.

 

IEEE Region 8 was formed on 8th January 1963. At that time it comprised Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The ‘rest of the world’ was all Region 9 at that time, until in 1966, Region 9 was limited to South America and the ‘rest of the world’ became Region 10. The rest of Africa was transferred from Region 10 to Region 8 in 1981.

 

Some recollections of the Eastward spread of IEEE Sections in Region 8

See also Section 2.2 in the Region 8 history book.

 

In the days before the end of the Berlin Wall, and the associated political changes in Eastern and Central Europe, IEEE activity in the countries east of the ‘Iron Curtain’ was limited. There was a Poland Section in Region 8, formed in 1972, and occasional IEEE related conferences had taken place there. Other International Organisations such as IFAC and IFIP were rather more successful in organising conferences in this part of the world, because of the way that they had ‘representatives’ of each country in their management bodies.

 

The Hungary Section was formed in 1987, and the Region 8 Committee held a meeting in Budapest in April 1989.

 

After the changes, there was a rapid development of IEEE activity and formation of new Sections. A Region 8 Committee meeting was held in Warsaw, Poland, in Spring 1991 during what were still difficult economic times for Poland.

 

However, growth in membership numbers was (and still is) slow. The economic changes meant that IEEE membership was unaffordable for many professional engineers and academics. Senior members of national research institutes were often able to join using other than personal funds, but in a few cases, they regarded IEEE membership as something of a privilege which they were reluctant to share with junior colleagues.

 

Somewhat later, the R8 Committee held several more of its meetings in the Central and Eastern European areas: Prague, Czech Republic, in 1994, Berlin, Germany in 1999, in what had been East Berlin (part of the former GDR), then at Budapest, Hungary in 2002 and at Kraków, Poland in 2004. The Czechoslovakia Section was formed in 1992 and despite the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech and Slovakian Republics, a single Section for both has been retained, although that may not be sustainable in the long term.

 

Russia was something of a special case – a huge country with many locations which have extensive Scientific and Engineering activity at a high level – where one might expect, in the long term, to see many IEEE activities develop. However after the IEEE Russia Section was formed in 1990, membership growth was very slow, mainly for economic reasons, although many Chapters were formed, partly with the aid of a financial support initiative from some IEEE Societies, especially from Electron Devices, and who paid for initial memberships so that Chapter formation petitions could be created, and there were a number of IEEE conferences held. Chapter Chairs meetings were held in various places in Region 8 with financial support from Societies in Division I and IV and from Region 8, generally alongside the major conferences of one of the Societies, and the support was enough to pay for the attendance of Chapter Chairs from many of the Central and Eastern European locations. The Microwave Theory and Techniques Society was also very active in this initiative and still is. This led to several similar Chapter Chairs meetings for other Societies being initiated by the Region 8 Committee (for example, one for Signal Processing Chapter Chairs alongside the ICASSP in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2000).

 

However, Chapters in parts of Russia remote from Moscow sometimes complained of lack of support from their Section, and after a while moves to provide some independence for activities in St. Petersburg and Siberia arose. After some suggestions to form a Russia Council were abandoned, there was finally agreement to form three Russia Sections, one to be called ‘North West’ and one ‘Siberia’ – while the original Russia Section retained responsibility for all other parts of the country. Existing Chapters were transferred to the newly formed Sections where the location of their principal activities justified it.

 

Another “problem” with some of the new Chapters was an unwillingness of the initial Chapter Chairs to hold elections and be replaced by other volunteers, resulting in some very long-serving Chairs. This also happened with a few of the new Sections. In the Ukraine Section, there were strong ‘differences of opinion’ between a Chapter in the East part and another in the West part!

 

When the three Baltic Republics (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) gained their independence from Russia, there was a suggestion from the Region 8 Committee management to try to form a single ‘Baltic’ IEEE Section, combining the three countries. There was a mistaken belief that they were all rather similar, with languages incorrectly assumed to be Slavic! It took some persuasion to convince some senior R8 IEEE volunteers that this was not the case, and that each had a very different language and culture.

 

An early step was the formation of a Chapter in Estonia, which was affiliated with Finland since there was no Estonia Section. I had the pleasure of announcing the formation of this Chapter to the Region 8 Committee when they met in Piscataway in Spring 1998. To the puzzlement of all except the IEEE Finland Chair, I preceded my announcement by asking the Committee to listen to some music played over the audio system – this was a recording of the Estonian National Anthem, to celebrate the formation of the first IEEE unit in Estonia. It was immediately recognised by the Finland Section Chair because both countries share the same tune for their National Anthems, even though the words are quite different. During the time of the Soviet Union, playing the Estonian National Anthem or showing the Estonian flag were serious offences. Some time passed before the three Baltic countries had their own Sections, with the Latvia Section having only recently been established (in 2008).

 

As mentioned in the September 1995 interview by Bob Winton (archived at the IEEE History Center at Rutgers University, with a link from the Region 8 website), initial attempts to form a Lithuanian Section involved Prof. Raimundas Jasinevicius, from Kaunas University of Technology, who had established links with Universities in London, England many years before, for the exchange of junior academics, etc. Progress with Section formation was very slow and made slower by his absence in Denmark for six years as Lithuanian Ambassador. However, the Section was finally established in 2005, based mainly in Vilnius. This was followed by the Estonia Section formation in 2006 and the Latvia Section formation in 2008.

 

IEEE activities in the former Yugoslavia were another special case. The Yugoslav Section was formed in 1971, based in Ljubljana and became moderately active in holding conferences and in providing IEEE volunteers. Because of a ‘blocked currency’ situation, membership dues could generally not be sent to USA as dollars, but an arrangement was made to keep the funds in Yugoslavia as Dinars, where they could be utilised for organisation of local IEEE conferences and also could be used to pay the local costs of conference attendance there by visitors from Western countries, who could then reimburse IEEE in USA. Following the wars in Yugoslavia, three Sections were formed in 1992 by petition:  Slovenia and Croatia and a ‘residue’ called the Yugoslavia Section, and each of them now designates its origin date as 1971 (e.g. the date of the initial Section).   Later, a Section was formed for Macedonia, and later still Bosnia and Herzegovina formed a separate Section. Calling the remnant of the original Section by the name Yugoslavia became an increasing anomaly, and in 2005, it was renamed the Serbia and Montenegro Section (but still regards its formation date as 1971).

 

Because of a number of rather new Sections wanting to host the R8 Committee, and because the R8 Committee management was glad of the opportunities to welcome these new Sections by meeting on their territory, the Committee meetings were held in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2006 and in Sofia, Bulgaria and Bucharest, Romania, in 2007, and later, Riga, Latvia.

 

The next few meetings of the R8 Committee included venues in Western Europe (for example, Paris, Berlin), and so the long term average is more balanced.

 

Prof. Tony Davies 8 June 2008 (minor updating April 2012)


Miscellaneous news items 2013-2017

GHN became part of ETHW

The absorption of the IEEE’s Global History Network (GHN) into the Engineering Technology History Wiki (ETHW) http://ethw.org broadened the coverage but made finding some of the IEEE-relevant material (especially the pages and procedures related to History Milestone Proposals) more difficult. The eight other organisations in ETHW are mostly far more ‘USA centred’ than IEEE, half of them having “American” as part of their title. Their presence therefore unfortunately makes ETHW look much more of a USA operation than was the case with the GHN. It is clear that despite some failings in that respect, IEEE has a long tradition going right back to the early days of IRE of aiming to be a transnational organization with a worldwide membership all having equal rights and involvement in governance and elections.

Clearly any organisation with a name commencing with ‘American …….’ cannot be expected to have credibility as a transnational organisation with equivalent status of members in all countries.

Tony Davies, 2017 Aug 17th

History of IEEE Sections and of Region 8

IEEE History

As part of the IEEE Jubilee Year, Sections in Region 8 were encouraged to create their Section Histories and make these available.  Some Sections have produced detailed histories while some have done very little.

To ensure the log-term preservation of these Section Histories, they should generally be hosted on the IEEE Global History Network (GHN) website, now a part of ETHW.ORG, which makes them available to all.

In addition to Section Histories, there has been a project (still underway) to record Oral Histories of past Region 8 Directors, and to put the text transcripts of these on the GHN website.  The audio recordings are preserved and access may be requested from the IEEE History Center staff.

History Milestones in R8

Technology History

Region 8 has been the location of many important engineering and scientific achievements and inventions in the subject-fields and areas of interest of IEEE.

These may be recognised by IEEE History Milestones, which take the form of a bronze plaque in a publicly accessible location at or near where the achievement or invention took place.  The installed Milestones can be found from an interactive map and a searchable list in the Global History Network (GHN) website.

The submission of proposals for more Milestones in the Sections of Region 8 is  encouraged:  from the date of submitting an initial proposal to the installation ceremony in successful cases typically takes at least two years, because of the need to evaluate the proposal, which is done by the IEEE History Committee with the collaboration of the IEEE History Center.  Final approval is given by the IEEE Board of Directors.   The cost of a Milestone Plaque is normally borne by the Section, although sponsorship is often possible.

Examples of possible topics for future Historic Milestones in Region 8

Hungary Section:  (A)  Budapest ‘Metro no 1’.  The first electrical underground metro train in continental Europe.  (B)  Electrical Energy meter for alternating current:   measuring kilowatt-hours.   Ottó Bláthy, in 1889.   (C) Invention of toroidal transformer and transformer distribution system for electrical supply.   Zipernowsky, Déri and Bláthy, 1878.  (D) Electrical Locomotive traction system with 3-phase rotating transformer, about 1894,  used later in 1930 using a single phase alternating current supply converted to three-phase.  Kalman Kando.

Benelux Section:    In 1924 Willem Einthoven was awarded the Nobel Prize for his important contributions to society, including the development of the first cardiograph (somewhere between 1893 and 1906) in the Netherlands.

France Section: Invention of Pulse Code Modulation by Alec Reeves in Paris, 1938.

UK and Ireland Section:  (B) 1901 invention of vacuum cleaner by Hubert Cecil Booth in London.  (C) 1970s invention of CT scanner by Godfrey Hounsfield (later received Nobel Prize for this). (D) Leo Computer – first use of digital computer for commercial data processing, by Lyons company at their premises at Cadby Hall in west London.   Site no longer exists. (E) Dolby method for sound recording and reproduction, which made the Compact Cassette feasible for music recording (F) Harrison’s clock.

There are,  of course, many more examples of possible Historic Milestones in other Sections of Region 8.

There could be History Milestones for Euler’s invention of Graph Theory, and for Kirchhoff’s Laws, both of which had a huge impact on many topics within the scope of IEEE.   The location in this case is clear:  the town of Königsberg – now Kaliningrad.  A complication is that at the time, it was part of Germany and now is part of Russia – so whose Milestones would they be?

Tony Davies,   History Activities Coordination, 25 Jan 2015, updated 19 Feb 2017

[tab: Assessment of Milestone Proposals]

Assessment of Milestone Proposals

When a Milestone Proposal is submitted, it will be seen on the Global History Network, and ANY IEEE Member may made comments via the Discussion Tab, if they have login-access to the Global History Network.  To get this access, see the Home Page, on the right hand side, where the Login process is explained.  Normally, any IEEE member may obtain login-access, which gives the permission to edit material, enter new material, etc.   Without login-access, you have only read-access and not write-access.

The assessment of Milestones is important and relies on the input of knowledgeable people, to improve the quality of the proposal, and to draw attention to errors and inaccurate claims.

R8 Committee members and all other IEEE members in Region 8 are encouraged to look at the Milestone Proposals in progress and to make suggestions and comments to assist the IEEE History Committee in reaching a good decision about each one.

Tony Davies,

R8 History Activities Coordination

UK & Republic of Ireland Section (now UK and Ireland Section, from 2014).

2013 September 2nd