Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

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IEEE logo.svg
Type Professional Organization
Founded January 1, 1963
Origins Merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers
Key people Roberto Boisson de Marca, President and CEO
Area served Worldwide
Focus(es) Electrical, Electronics, Communications, Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology[1]
Method(s) Industry standards, Conferences, Publications
Revenue US$330 million
Members 429,000+

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, on lowercase letters: ieee, read I-Triple-E) is a professional association with its Corporate Office in New York City and its Operations Center in Piscataway, New Jersey and is dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence. It has about 425,000 members in about 160 countries, slightly less than half of whom reside in the United States.[2][3]


The IEEE corporate office is on the 17th floor of 3 Park Avenue in New York City

The IEEE is incorporated under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the state of New York in the United States.[4] It was formed in 1963 by the merger of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE, founded 1912) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE, founded 1884).

The major interests of the AIEE were wire communications (telegraphy and telephony) and light and power systems. The IRE concerned mostly radio engineering, and was formed from two smaller organizations, the Society of Wireless and Telegraph Engineers and the Wireless Institute. With the rise of electronics in the 1930s, electronics engineers usually became members of the IRE, but the applications of electron tube technology became so extensive that the technical boundaries differentiating the IRE and the AIEE became difficult to distinguish. After World War II, the two organizations became increasingly competitive, and in 1961, the leadership of both the IRE and the AIEE resolved to consolidate the two organizations. The two organizations formally merged as the IEEE on January 1, 1963.

Notable presidents of IEEE and its founding organizations include Elihu Thomson (AIEE, 1889–1890), Alexander Graham Bell (AIEE, 1891–1892), Charles Proteus Steinmetz (AIEE, 1901–1902), Lee De Forest (IRE, 1930), Frederick E. Terman (IRE, 1941), William R. Hewlett (IRE, 1954), Ernst Weber (IRE, 1959; IEEE, 1963), and Ivan Getting (IEEE, 1978).

IEEE's Constitution defines the purposes of the organization as "scientific and educational, directed toward the advancement of the theory and practice of Electrical, Electronics, Communications and Computer Engineering, as well as Computer Science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences."[1] In pursuing these goals, the IEEE serves as a major publisher of scientific journals and organizer of conferences, workshops, and symposia (many of which have associated published proceedings). It is also a leading standards development organization for the development of industrial standards (having developed over 900 active industry technical standards) in a broad range of disciplines, including electric power and energy, biomedical technology and healthcare, information technology, information assurance, telecommunications, consumer electronics, transportation, aerospace, and nanotechnology. IEEE develops and participates in educational activities such as accreditation of electrical engineering programs in institutes of higher learning. The IEEE logo is a diamond-shaped design which illustrates the right hand grip rule embedded in Benjamin Franklin's kite, and it was created at the time of the 1963 merger.[5]

IEEE has a dual complementary regional and technical structure – with organizational units based on geography (e.g., the IEEE Philadelphia Section, IEEE South Africa Section [1]) and technical focus (e.g., the IEEE Computer Society). It manages a separate organizational unit (IEEE-USA) which recommends policies and implements programs specifically intended to benefit the members, the profession and the public in the United States.

The IEEE includes 38 technical Societies, organized around specialized technical fields, with more than 300 local organizations that hold regular meetings.

The IEEE Standards Association is in charge of the standardization activities of the IEEE.


IEEE produces over 30% of the world's literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, publishing well over 100 peer-reviewed journals.[6]

The published content in these journals as well as the content from several hundred annual conferences sponsored by the IEEE are available in the IEEE online digital library, IEEE Xplore, for subscription-based access and individual publication purchases.[7]

In addition to journals and conference proceedings, the IEEE also publishes tutorials and the standards that are produced by its standardization committees.

Refereeing performed on behalf of the IEEE has been subject to criticisms by exposés purportedly uncovering incompetence.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

As a result of the Schlangemann hoaxes, the IEEE hid evidence that it had been duped: "A search in the IEEE Computer Society Library says: "This paper has been deleted" without any further comment".[14]

The IEEE maintained this policy of obscuration following the exposé of other IEEE conferences by Labbé and Labbé: "In December 2013, Labbé informed the IEEE of another batch of apparent SCIgen articles he had found. Last week, those were also taken down, but the web pages for the removed articles give no explanation for their absence."[15]

Documentation of hoaxes published by the IEEE was censored by the Wikipedia user Seppi333 on an earlier version of this entry. Seppi333 alleged "Publications: cut sketchy WP:PAYWALLed source + misleading statement".[16]

Educational activities[edit]

The IEEE provides learning opportunities within the engineering sciences, research, and technology. The goal of the IEEE education programs is to ensure the growth of skill and knowledge in the electricity-related technical professions and to foster individual commitment to continuing education among IEEE members, the engineering and scientific communities, and the general public.

IEEE offers educational opportunities such as IEEE e Learning Library,[17] the Education Partners Program,[18] Standards in Education[19] and Continuing Education Units (CEUs).[20]

IEEE eLearning Library is a collection of online educational courses designed for self-paced learning. Education Partners, exclusive for IEEE members, offers on-line degree programs, certifications and courses at a 10% discount. The Standards in Education website explains what standards are and the importance of developing and using them. The site includes tutorial modules and case illustrations to introduce the history of standards, the basic terminology, their applications and impact on products, as well as news related to standards, book reviews and links to other sites that contain information on standards. Currently, twenty-nine states in the United States require Professional Development Hours (PDH) to maintain a Professional Engineering license, encouraging engineers to seek Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for their participation in continuing education programs. CEUs readily translate into Professional Development Hours (PDHs), with 1 CEU being equivalent to 10 PDHs. Countries outside the United States, such as South Africa, similarly require continuing professional development (CPD) credits, and it is anticipated that IEEE Expert Now courses will feature in the CPD listing for South Africa.

IEEE also sponsors a website[21] designed to help young people understand better what engineering means, and how an engineering career can be made part of their future. Students of age 8–18, parents, and teachers can explore the site to prepare for an engineering career, ask experts engineering-related questions, play interactive games, explore curriculum links, and review lesson plans. This website also allows students to search for accredited engineering degree programs in Canada and the United States; visitors are able to search by state/province/territory, country, degree field, tuition ranges, room and board ranges, size of student body, and location (rural, suburban, or urban).

Standards and development process[edit]

IEEE is one of the leading standards-making organizations in the world. IEEE performs its standards making and maintaining functions through the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). IEEE standards affect a wide range of industries including: power and energy, biomedical and healthcare, Information Technology (IT), telecommunications, transportation, nanotechnology, information assurance, and many more. In 2013, IEEE had over 900 active standards, with over 500 standards under development. One of the more notable IEEE standards is the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN group of standards which includes the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard and the IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networking standard.

Membership and member grades[edit]

Most IEEE members are electrical and electronics engineers, but the organization's wide scope of interests has attracted people in other disciplines as well (e.g., computer science, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, biology, physics, and mathematics).

An individual can join the IEEE as a student member, professional member, or associate member. In order to qualify for membership, the individual must fulfill certain academic or professional criteria and abide to the code of ethics and bylaws of the organization. There are several categories and levels of IEEE membership and affiliation:

  • Student Members: Student membership is available for a reduced fee to those who are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education as undergraduate or graduate students in technology or engineering.
  • Members: Ordinary or professional Membership requires that the individual have graduated from a technology or engineering program of an appropriately accredited institution of higher education or have demonstrated professional competence in technology or engineering through at least six years of professional work experience. An associate membership is available to an individual whose area of expertise falls outside the scope of the IEEE or who does not, at the time of enrollment, meet all the requirements for full membership. Students and Associates have all the privileges of members, except the right to vote and hold certain offices.
  • Society Affiliates: Some IEEE Societies also allow a person who is not an IEEE member to become a Society Affiliate of a particular Society within the IEEE, which allows a limited form of participation in the work of a particular IEEE Society.
  • Senior Members: Upon meeting certain requirements, a professional member can apply for Senior Membership, which is the highest level of recognition that a professional member can directly apply for. Applicants for Senior Member must have at least three letters of recommendation from Senior, Fellow, or Honorary members and fulfill other rigorous requirements of education, achievement, remarkable contribution, and experience in the field. The Senior Members are a selected group, and certain IEEE officer positions are available only to Senior (and Fellow) Members. Senior Membership is also one of the requirements for those who are nominated and elevated to the grade IEEE Fellow, a distinctive honor.
  • Fellow Members: The Fellow grade of membership is the highest level of membership, and cannot be applied for directly by the member – instead the candidate must be nominated by others. This grade of membership is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors in recognition of a high level of demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment.
  • Honorary Members: Individuals who are not IEEE members but have demonstrated exceptional contributions, such as being a recipient of an IEEE Medal of Honor, may receive Honorary Membership from the IEEE Board of Directors.
  • Life Members and Life Fellows: Members who have reached the age of 65 and whose number of years of membership plus their age in years adds up to at least 100 are recognized as Life Members – and, in the case of Fellow members, as Life Fellows.


Through its awards program, the IEEE recognizes contributions that advance the fields of interest to the IEEE. For nearly a century, the IEEE Awards Program has paid tribute to technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society and the engineering profession.

Funds for the awards program, other than those provided by corporate sponsors for some awards, are administered by the IEEE Foundation.


Technical field awards[edit]


Prize paper awards[edit]


  • IEEE Life Members Graduate Study Fellowship in Electrical Engineering was established by the IEEE in 2000. The fellowship is awarded annually to a first year, full-time graduate student obtaining their masters for work in the area of electrical engineering, at an engineering school/program of recognized standing worldwide.[22]
  • IEEE Charles LeGeyt Fortescue Graduate Scholarship was established by the IRE in 1939 to commemorate Charles Legeyt Fortescue's contributions to electrical engineering. The scholarship is awarded for one year of full-time graduate work obtaining their masters in electrical engineering an ANE engineering school of recognized standing in the United States.[23]


IEEE is supported by 38 societies, each one focused on a certain knowledge area. They provide specialized publications, conferences, business networking and sometimes other services.[24][25]

Technical councils[edit]

IEEE technical councils are collaborations of several IEEE societies on a broader knowledge area. There are currently seven technical councils:[24][26]

Technical committees[edit]

To allow a quick response to new innovations, IEEE can also organize technical committees on top of their societies and technical councils. There are currently two such technical committees:[24]

Organizational units[edit]

IEEE Foundation[edit]

The IEEE Foundation is a charitable foundation established in 1973 to support and promote technology education, innovation and excellence.[27] It is incorporated separately from the IEEE, although it has a close relationship to it. Members of the Board of Directors of the foundation are required to be active members of IEEE, and one third of them must be current or former members of the IEEE Board of Directors.

Initially, the IEEE Foundation's role was to accept and administer donations for the IEEE Awards program, but donations increased beyond what was necessary for this purpose, and the scope was broadened. In addition to soliciting and administering unrestricted funds, the foundation also administers donor-designated funds supporting particular educational, humanitarian, historical preservation, and peer recognition programs of the IEEE.[27] As of the end of 2012, the foundation's total assets were nearly $37 million, split equally between unrestricted and donor-designated funds.[28]

Copyright policy[edit]

The IEEE generally does not create its own research. It is a professional organization that coordinates journal peer-review activities and holds subject-specific conferences in which authors present their research. The IEEE then publishes the authors' papers in journals and other proceedings, and authors are required to transfer their copyright for works they submit for publication.[29][30]

Section 6.3.1 IEEE Copyright Policies – subsections 7 and 8 – states that "all authors…shall transfer to the IEEE in writing any copyright they hold for their individual papers", but that the IEEE will grant the authors permission to make copies and use the papers they originally authored, so long as such use is permitted by the Board of Directors. The guidelines for what the Board considers a "permitted" use are not entirely clear, although posting a copy on a personally controlled website is allowed. The author is also not allowed to change the work absent explicit approval from the organization. The IEEE justifies this practice in the first paragraph of that section, by stating that they will "serve and protect the interests of its authors and their employers".[29][30]

The IEEE places research papers and other publications such as IEEE standards behind a "paywall",[29] although the IEEE explicitly allows authors to make a copy of the papers that they authored freely available on their own website. As of September 2011, the IEEE also provides authors for most new journal papers with the option to pay to allow free download of their papers by the public from the IEEE publication website.[31]

IEEE publications have received a Green[32] rating from the SHERPA/RoMEO guide[33] for affirming "authors and/or their companies shall have the right to post their IEEE-copyrighted material on their own servers without permission" (IEEE Publication Policy 8.1.9.C[34]). This open access policy effectively allows authors, at their choice, to make their article openly available. Roughly 1/3 of the IEEE authors take this route[citation needed].

Some other professional associations use different copyright policies. For example, the USENIX association[29] requires that the author only give up the right to publish the paper elsewhere for 12 months (in addition to allowing authors to post copies of the paper on their own website during that time). The organization operates successfully even though all of its publications are freely available online.[29]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "IEEE Technical Activities Board Operations Manual". IEEE. Retrieved December 7, 2010. , section 1.3 Technical activities objectives
  2. ^ "IEEE at a Glance > IEEE Quick Facts". IEEE. December 31, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ "IEEE 2012 Annual Report". IEEE. March 2014 (2014-03). Retrieved March 24, 2014 (2014-03-24). 
  4. ^ "IEEE Technical Activities Board Operations Manual". IEEE. Retrieved November 10, 2010. , section 1.1 IEEE Incorporation
  5. ^ "IEEE – Master Brand and Logos". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  6. ^ About IEEE
  7. ^ IEEE's online digital library
  8. ^ Cyril Labbé & Dominique Labbé, Duplicate and fake publications in the scientific literature: how many SCIgen papers in computer science?, Scientometrics 94, 379 (2013).
  9. ^ Oransky, Ivan (February 24th, 2014). "Springer, IEEE withdrawing more than 120 nonsense papers". Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  10. ^ Paul Colin de Gloucester, Referees Often Miss Obvious Errors in Computer and Electronic Publications, Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance 20, 143 (2013).
  11. ^ Dawson, K. (December 23rd, 2008). "Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference". Dice. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  12. ^ Hatta, Masayuki (December 24th, 2008). "IEEEカンファレンス、自動生成のニセ論文をアクセプト". OSDN Corporation. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ziegler, Peter-Michael (December 26th, 2008). "Dr. Herbert Schlangemann - oder die Geschichte eines pseudowissenschaftlichen Nonsens-Papiers". Heise Zeitschriften Verlag. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  14. ^ Schlangemann, Herbert (May 1st, 2008). "The official Herbert Schlangemann Blog". Google. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  15. ^ Van Noorden, Richard (February 24th, 2014). "Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers". Nature Publishing Group. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  16. ^ Seppi333, Seppi333 (April 8th, 2014). "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Difference between revisions". Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved April 17th, 2014. 
  17. ^ IEEE – IEEE Expert Now
  18. ^ IEEE – IEEE Education Partners Program
  19. ^ IEEE – The IEEE Standards Education pages have moved
  20. ^ IEEE – IEEE Continuing Education Units
  21. ^ Welcome to
  22. ^ IEEE Life Member Graduate Study Fellowship. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  23. ^ Charles LeGeyt Fortescue Graduate Scholarship. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  24. ^ a b c "IEEE Societies & Communities". IEEE. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ "IEEE Society Memberships". IEEE. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  26. ^ "IEEE Technical Councils". IEEE. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  27. ^ a b IEEE Foundation Home page
  28. ^ IEEE Foundation Overview page
  29. ^ a b c d e Johns, Chris (March 12, 2011). "Matt Blaze’s criticism of the ACM and the IEEE". Washington College of Law Intellectual Property Brief (American University). Retrieved 2011-04-17.  This section uses content available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License.
  30. ^ a b "6.3.1 IEEE Copyright Policies" (Available online). IEEE. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  31. ^ Davis, Amanda, Most IEEE Journals are now Open Access, The Institute, October 7, 2011.
  32. ^ Sherpa Romeo color code
  33. ^ Sherpa Romeo site
  34. ^ IEEE Publication Policy 8.1.9.C

External links[edit]

  • Official IEEE website
  • IEEE Global History Network – a wiki-based website containing information about the history of IEEE, its members, their professions, and their technologies.
  • IEEE Xplore – the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, with over 2.6 million technical documents available online for purchase.
  • – a video content website operated by the IEEE.
  • IEEE Fellows Directory – A comprehensive online directory of IEEE Fellows.
  • IEEE eLearning Library – an online library of more than 200 self-study multimedia short courses and tutorials in technical fields of interest to the IEEE.