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Thursday, September 2, 2010

My thoughts on the IEEE

 My first encounter with the acronym IEEE came when I saw it next to the numbers 1394. The more technically adept / computer-savvy among you might recognize the name Firewire - a common port available on so many PCs these days. The IEEE develops standards all over the world for technologies ranging from Firewire to USB to Wireless communication. Yes, the IEEE is ubiquitous and in a good way. Right from my school days, I've heard about the IEEE and looked upon it as this mythical group meant only for the engineering elite who are all knowing in matters of technology. The fact of the matter is that the organization comprises 395,000 members in around 150 countries, all working toward progress of any technology that is even distantly related to electricity. It was only recently, by the way, that I discovered that the logo of this organization was representative of the right-hand grip rule (a very well known rule relating to electricity and magnetism) .



The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers had its origins in the American Institute of Electrical Engineers which was founded way back in 1884. The latter merged with the Institute of Radio Engineers to form what we know of, today, as the IEEE. It has the most members of any technical professional organization in the world. It also publishes 30% of the world's electrical, electronics and computer science-related literature and has 38 societies that cover specialized technical domains. However, the IEEE also has different organizational units based on geography. For instance, IEEE India has 10 sections (like Madras Section, Bombay section, Calcutta section and Kharagpur section). It is almost mandatory (if your work lies in an electronic/ electrical/ computer engineering related area) to have your work published in an IEEE journal or accepted at an IEEE conference to add weight to your proposals and research these days.

Membership is available at a discounted rate to students and the benefits of the same are many. Since I took this route, I'll be looking at the IEEE more from a student's point of view. First and foremost, being an IEEE member entitles you to access to the Xplore digital library. This database contains nearly 2 million papers and full-text articles. As part of the membership, you also get IEEE Spectrum, a monthly print (and electronic if you'd rather read it online) magazine detailing the latest developments in vocations related to electrical, electronic and computer science engineering. You also get up to date notification about the latest IEEE sponsored conferences in your fields of interest, not to mention significant discounts in the conference fees for students.

The myIEEE portal is your gateway to this wonderful wealth of information once you are a member. If you do sign up, don't forget to complete your profile and state your areas of interest. Sometimes, you'll get lucky and be offered a free membership (along with digital magazine access) of societies in your field of interest. You'll also find a number of free webinar (that's an online seminar) offers coming your way - all opportunities to get up to speed on recent trends in the areas you've mentioned on your IEEE profile page. And to confirm the authenticity of an IEEE conference, just head over to the IEEE's website and click on the "conferences and events" link. Then use the search function to find the conference you desire. 



My own experience with the IEEE has been very good. I've become a member of a few societies too in addition to the basic IEEE student membership. One of my project ideas was shortlisted within the top 27 in the country for funding from the IEEE foundation via Bangalore section. Had a very fruitful correspondence with a professor of Osaka University from IEEE Japan, where one of my papers was sent (what with it being IEEE Region-10 HQ) after being selected among the top 3 student papers at the Madras Section. Access to IEEE Xplore was also very helpful during my internship at IIT Madras. A paper of mine was accepted at an international conference of the IEEE in Shanghai, China and will be published on IEEE Xplore and in the conference proceedings at the end of the year. International IEEE Conferences are a great way to meet and interact with the best researchers and experts in the dominion of the engineering, and to present your ideas to all these scholars who come from far and wide. All this would have certainly not been possible without a membership in the IEEE and access to its services.



Why I even got to help organize and volunteer (showing my talent as a pianist/keyboardist) at IEEE India's 125th anniversary celebrations! It's not all just about academics and research. Recently, the IEEE contributed a major amount towards flood relief in Pakistan. And if you think the focus on electronics is absolute, think again. To state an example, it was from IEEE's Spectrum that I learnt about Sikorsky's recent efforts to build a helicopter that could do 430km/hr+, the sole preserve of fixed wing aircraft. The IEEE even operates IEEE.tv - an internet based television network that delivers content about engineering and technology for the benefit of IEEE's members and the general public. I'd be much obliged if you could refer any of your friends who'd like a student's view on the IEEE to this page. Do retweet these 2 tweets - http://bit.ly/aPF9NG  and http://bit.ly/dAZguy - on twitter if you liked the article.  It would sure help convince some fence-sitters to take the plunge. 

To summarize, if you're in one of the disciplines that emphasizes a skill in electronics or electrical engineering or computer science, or if your work is vaguely related to these subjects, I think an IEEE membership would immensely benefit you. The IEEE's sphere of influence is vast. Be a part of it! 

33 comments:

Abdul Qadir said...

Amazingly Written.

Vasu Chaturvedi said...

Good write up mate. :)

Anonymous said...

Very Nice! Good Job..

Pushpraj R Pradhan said...

kewl

Anonymous said...

Very well written....Job well done!

Anonymous said...

Nice write up. All the best for your future efforts.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written

Anonymous said...

Apple rules! Android sucks!

The Lone Wolf said...

@All - Thank you!

@Anonymous Comment just above mine - Thank you for your very insightful, highly relevant comment too :P

jagadish kumaran said...

hey really superb da:)

Anonymous said...

@The Lone Wolf...The OP knows what i'm talking about...As for you, haven't u gotten over the whipping i gave you in IC2010?

Evo said...

Good Stuff =)

The Lone Wolf said...

What's IC 2010? Lol, I think you got the wrong Lone Wolf.

The Game said...

excellant article buddy..........

The Lone Wolf said...

Thank you! :)

Abhishek Murali said...

Thats a superbly drafted article that critically highlights the crucial things that need to be remembered.

Well done. Great job.

Sufyan said...

Great article mate.Very well Written.

Anonymous said...

LOL looks like i got the wrong Lonewolf...i meant the guy on IVG with the alias lonewolf...

The Lone Wolf said...

No problem bro.. yeah I understood that your post was in jest though, cos I am the OP :D

Anonymous said...

@Anon

Hate to disagree, but the article is clearly in favour of Android. How stupid can the Apple fanbots get!

Shantz said...

+1 to the above

f@tm@n said...

Cool article + fanboy wars in comments = WIN !!

Devil Angel said...

Excellent article... but I suck since I got a Bleach Avatar. :/

Anonymous said...

Oh please..an organization where you need to pay to become a member can't be in favor of Android..It's Apple FTW

Rishu said...

Brilliant article :)

jeetz said...

Not that nice an article, as I am still not convinced to pay for the IEEE membership. :P


@Fanboy
You forgot M$.

Chaztin said...

Nicely Written,

A Very nice read.

manas said...

makes me wonder if i should become a member.

thanks dude

The Lone Wolf said...

Thanks everyone! @jeetz and @manas Do take the plunge, worth it if you're a student of engineering. Cos student membership in the IEEE is only around $30 for a year. Also, like I said, you do tend to get a lot of free society memberships. And each time any magazine doesn't land up at your doorstep on time, all you have to do is shoot off an email and they'll send you another copy real quick.

@Fanboy warriors - ye be very welcome here :D

Vergilly said...

Nice article.Me like :)

Anonymous said...

Why should membership cost money? Its bad enough we finance guys are forced to pony up an exorbitant sum to the CFA institute every year.

The Lone Wolf said...

@Vergil - thanks

@Anon - I did feel the same way about paying for membership before, but think about. It's everywhere, no matter what organization you have to be a member of - it does cost money. Whether it be in fields like engineering or medicine or law or finance. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes it's just extortion.

In the case of the IEEE, your student membership is just $30. Think about it as a magazine subscription fee, cos you do get an excellent monthly magazine. Apart from this, you get up to date conference announcements, further digital subscriptions and access to a huge verified database of technical material. Plus substantial discounts on conference fees and such (though not for all conferences). In this case, I guess it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

Good article

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