Unemployment Rate for U.S. Engineering and Computer
Occupations Jumps Significantly in First Quarter

WASHINGTON (6 April 2009) — The unemployment rate for U.S. engineering and computer occupations is increasing more rapidly than for professional occupations in general, according to data released Friday by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).”Engineers create jobs, so these data are very discouraging,” IEEE-USA President Gordon Day said. “Engineers strengthen companies and start new ones, leveraging the economy upwards. The fundamental need is for capital to support engineering activity. That’s why the government’s investments in technology and its efforts to restore the banking system are so important.”

The unemployment rate for all engineers jumped from 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2009. For all computer occupations, the rate went from 3.3 percent to 5.4 percent. In comparison, the quarter-to-quarter rate for all professional workers increased from 3 percent to 3.7 percent.
For electrical and electronics engineers the jobless rate rose from 2.4 percent to 4.1 percent, quarter to quarter. For mechanical engineers, it went from 2.1 percent to 4.2 percent. Aerospace engineers suffered less, with an increase from 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent.

In computer occupations, the rate for software engineers went from 1.9 percent to 4.2 percent. For computer scientists and systems analysts the change was from 3 percent to 5.7 percent.

High-tech managers also experienced unemployment increases. For computer and information systems managers, the rate rose from 2.7 percent to 4 percent. For engineering managers it went from 1 percent to 1.8 percent.
“We at IEEE-USA are concerned about how rapidly engineering and computer-related unemployment is trending upwards,” Day said. “In 2007 the overall engineering unemployment rate was only 1.2 percent.”

IEEE members can find career enhancement resources at http://www.ieeeusa.org/careers/. Help for unemployed and at-risk members is available at http://www.ieeeusa.org/careers/help/

IEEE Green Technology Conference Kicks off with Wind Energy Tutorial

WASHINGTON (9 April 2009) — Interested in learning more about the role of wind energy in our nation’s renewable energy portfolio?The first IEEE Green Technology Conference will begin with an introduction to wind power systems tutorial on 16 April at the Holiday Inn Hotel Towers in Lubbock, Texas. Following a half-day lecture, attendees will travel to a producing wind farm in Fluvanna, Texas.The tutorial is designed to provide an overview of wind power technology, from its technical aspects to operational, geographic and economic issues. Attendees will learn about the design, architecture, configuration, operation, site placement and economics of wind turbines, wind farms and wind-driven power plants.

The IEEE Green Technology Conference (http://www.ieeegreentech.org/) continues on 17 April and will highlight additional renewable energy sources such as solar, nuclear, geothermal, hydro and biomass, among others.

Alternative vehicle power sources like fuel cells, gasoline and liquid natural gas electric hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will also be examined.

Conference discussions will include the integration and commercial viability of green energy sources into the power grid, as well as the social and economic implications of renewable and reduced carbon emission energy sources.

Plenary session speakers are Dr. William Marcy, former dean of the College of Engineering at Texas Tech University; and Bill Williams, IEEE-USA senior legislative representative, technology policy, and liaison to the IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee. Marcy will speak from 8 to 9 a.m. and Williams from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

IEEE-USA, in its 2009 “National Energy Policy Recommendations,” stated that the electrification of transportation can help the United States can break its addiction to oil and mitigate climate change. See http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/energypolicy.pdf.

The 2009 IEEE Green Technology Conference is sponsored by IEEE Region 5, the IEEE South Plains Section, Texas Tech University and IEEE-USA. It will precede the annual IEEE Region 5 Meeting.


On Tuesday 10 March, IEEE kicked off its 125th Anniversary celebration with an IEEE Media roundtable at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. 2008 IEEE President Lew Terman served as the event’s host, and Steve Lohr, technology writer for the New York Times, and Susan Hassler, editor of IEEE Spectrum, served as the program’s facilitators.  A panel of top minds in human-technology interactions discussed how emerging technologies in biomedical engineering, biometrics, computing, robotics, telecommunications, wireless power and others have the potential to change the world. Review the list of panelists and access the full Web cast at http://www.ieee125.org/engineering-the-future/media-roundtable.html. Individual video clips of each presentation can be viewed on ieee.tv (www.ieee.org/ieeetv), under IEEE 125th Anniversary Media Event.Over 60 reporters from such prominent media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, EE Times,NBC, and Forbes registered for the event. Of the 263 registrants for the webcast, 135 watched live. Live updates were also reported on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

Over 250 media outlets have picked up the news story to date. These include AOL Money, Reuters, The Arizona Republic, The Miami Herald, Yahoo! UK and Ireland, The Houston Business Journal, The San Francisco Business Times,and Medinhandbuch (Germany), with additional stories in Scientific American, Popular Mechanics and Sina.com (China).  View highlights at http://www.ieee125.org/newsroom/media-coverage.html.


The global series of eight IEEE 125th anniversary celebrations launches on 27 April at the Technical University of Munich, with a program of keynotes and a reception hosted by the IEEE Germany Section.   On 30 April in Austin, Texas, the Central Texas Section has teamed up with the Austin Chamber of Commerce for a party for the entire local technology community that will honor the IEEE anniversary.  Find information about these and other anniversary activities at http://www.ieee125.org.


The IEEE MGA Board recently approved the formation of the following units:

•        IEEE Southwest Missouri Section in Region 5
•        IEEE Medellin Subsection of the Colombia Section in Region 9
•        IEEE Shandong Subsection of the Beijing Section in Region 10
•        IEEE Tasmania Subsection of the Victorian Section in Region 10  

There are currently 330 Sections and 38 Subsections.


The IEEE-USA Nominations and Appointments (N&A) Committee is accepting nominations for the following: IEEE-USA President-Elect (2011); IEEE-USA Member-at-Large (2011-2012); IEEE-USA Secretary/Treasurer (2010); IEEE-USA Vice President – Career & Member Services (2010); IEEE-USA Vice President – Communications & Public Awareness; IEEE-USA Vice President – Professional Activities (2010); and IEEE-USA Vice President – Government Relations (2010).

The board positions will direct IEEE-USA’s day-to-day operations, provide leadership for volunteer committees, oversee financial performance and promote new activities. Nominees for these board positions must be senior or higher-grade members from IEEE Regions 1-6. 

Nominations are also being accepted for the IEEE-USA N&A Committee (2010-2011). Eligible nominees include former IEEE-USA vice presidents, IEEE-USA secretary-treasurers, U.S. region directors who have completed their terms or who are serving in their second year of that term, or members who have had experience as an IEEE-USA committee chair.

To nominate candidates visit the nominations page at: http://www.ieeeusa.org/volunteers/elections/onlineform_new.html. The deadline is 30 May 2009.


myIEEE, the personalized web portal for IEEE members, has undergone a recent redesign which incorporates new features.  myIEEE 1.7 now incorporates streamlined alerts, member spotlights, access to Scitopia, IEEE-USA’s Today’s Engineer, and IEEE.tv gadgets across the Web site. The newly added “Who’s Online” feature shows a list of all IEEE members currently logged in to myIEEE. Log in at http://www.ieee.org/myieee.


Second Life®, an online 3-D virtual world where residents are able to establish identities (avatars), explore, create and communicate, now includes an IEEE presence. Referred to as “inworld” by its residents, this interactive environment is designed to encourage social networking, collaboration and learning. IEEE has created a virtual infrastructure and presence to support its staff, volunteer and member needs within Second Life. This presence is spread across two islands and serves as a gateway for people to explore and participate in IEEE activities. Volunteers and members are encouraged to provide input and further develop the islands.  To view the IEEE in the Virtual World visit: http://www.ieee.org/go/secondlife. For more information, contact secondlife@ieee.org.


The IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) is seeking nominations to recognize and honor individuals, companies and IEEE Sections for their contributions to engineering and technical education. The deadline for the 2009 nominations is 30 April 2009. For a full listing and links to nomination forms, visit http://www.ieee.org/web/education/awards/index.html.

IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) Becomes IEEE Photonics Society

The IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS), a leading global society in the field of photonics, lasers, and electro-optics, has officially changed its name to the IEEE Photonics Society. The new name reflects the expanding applications associated with the Society’s field of interest and better represents its vision, mission and scope.Photonics has become widely used to describe the broad field of research and applications relating to the generation, control and detection of light, including optical fiber communications, lasers, CDs, DVDs, supermarket scanners and digital cameras.Read the full press release at http://www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/news/2009/9april.html

Engineers Should Contribute to Renewable Energy Policies, Consider Ethical Implications

LUBBOCK, TEXAS (17 April 2009) — Engineers working in renewable energy fields should participate in public policymaking and consider ethical implications, the opening speaker at the IEEE Green Technology Conference said today.”Engineers have a special role to play with regard to the ethical development of renewable energy technology and associated public policies,” said Dr. William Marcy, P.E., executive director of the Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism at Texas Tech University.The goal of the Murdough Center ( www.murdough.ttu.edu) is “to increase the awareness of the professional and ethical obligations and responsibilities entrusted to individuals who practice engineering.” The center also operates the National Institute for Engineering Ethics and the Applied Ethics Case of the Month Program.  

As the push for renewable energy (solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, among others) advances, Marcy thinks it’s important for engineers to use their technical expertise to help lawmakers devise new energy policies.

“The role of public policy in promoting and enabling green technologies may turn out to be as important as the innovations themselves,” he said.  

Marcy said ethical issues can arise from developing renewable energy technologies and from implementing the policies designed to promote their use.

“Ethics has a role to play in the design, engineering and implementation of complex technical systems and, more importantly, the associated public policies,” he said.

When engineers assist in formulating public policy, they should take into account the many possible outcomes that could arise from a specific policy. This helps to prevent unforeseen or unintended consequences.

Marcy cited the example of producing ethanol from corn. Because corn serves as the basis for much of the U.S. food supply, as demand for corn as energy increased, the cost of food rose. This unintended result is a hardship for low-income families.

“To make an ethical case for a new renewable energy policy one must take into account not only the consequences of actions individuals may take,” Marcy said, “but also the consequences that will accrue to society on a local, regional, national and global level.”

The inaugural IEEE Green Technology Conference, which began yesterday with a wind energy tutorial, is sponsored by IEEE Region 5, the IEEE South Plains Section, Texas Tech University and IEEE-USA. It is being held in conjunction with the annual IEEE Region 5 Meeting, which begins Saturday.

The 2010 IEEE Green Technology Conference will be in Fort Worth, Texas, 15-16 April. Technical papers, workshops, panels and tutorial submissions can be sent to Edward L. Safford, technical program chair, at e.safford@ieee.org

Radio Frequency Executives Headline IEEE International RFID Conference

WASHINGTON (22 April 2009) — Three industry executives from leading RFID companies will be featured speakers at the third-annual IEEE International Conference on RFID next week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  IEEE RFID 2009, co-located with the RFID Journal Live! 2009 executive conference and exhibition, will be at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort on 27-28 April. Authors from 16 countries will present 47 peer-reviewed papers.Chris Diorio, co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer of Impinj, Inc., will be the keynote speaker on Monday morning, 27 April. His talk, “RFID 2009: Where do we go from here?,” will review key industry advancements of the past five years, highlight technical challenges and opportunities facing the industry, and offer a future vision.

Jens Kungl, who heads RFID Base Technology for MGI Metro Group Information Technology GmbH, will be Monday’s featured luncheon speaker. Recognized as a global expert in RFID supply chain management applications, Kungl initiated the setup of the group’s Innovation Centre and its advanced RFID test laboratory, the only institution of its kind in Europe.

René Martinez, chief technologist at Intermec Technologies, will be Tuesday morning’s featured speaker. Martinez has for more than 10 years managed a team of Intermec engineers that developed a full product portfolio of portable, mobile and fixed RFID readers for Europe, Japan and the United States. A former staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, he holds patents in RFID, wireless communications and radar.

Accepted papers have been grouped into two tracks of 12 technical topic sessions: measurement and simulation methods; tag circuits; protocol (two sessions); sensors; localization and active tags; privacy and security (two sessions); reader design; antenna and propagation (two sessions); and applications and networking.

A third track features special sessions of invited papers and presentations by knowledgeable academic and industry speakers on RFID and health care — trends, applications and technical aspects; tag and reader testing; open-source RFID software; embedding and de-embedding electromagnetic structures for RFID systems; chipless RFID; and near-field electromagnetic ranging.

RFID, or “Radio Frequency Identification,” is an enabling technology that uses tags and readers to transmit the identity of an object or person through radio waves. The tags store information on a microchip connected to a radio antenna, while the readers emit radio waves that exchange signals with the tags. The information is then digitally transferred to computer.

For more on IEEE RFID 2009 and to register, see www.ieee-rfid.org/2009/). Go to http://www.rfidjournalevents.com/live/ for more on RFID Journal Live!  

IEEE-USA and the IEEE Communications Society are financial co-sponsors for IEEE RFID 2009.

Technical co-sponsors include the IEEE TAB New Technology Directions Committee, the University of Texas at Arlington, the International RFID Business Association and the following IEEE societies: Antennas and Propagation; Circuits and Systems; Consumer Electronics; Electron Devices; Engineering in Medicine and Biology; Instrumentation and Measurement; Intelligent Transportation Systems; Microwave Theory and Techniques; Professional Communication; Social Implications of Technology; Systems, Man, and Cybernetics; and Vehicular Technology.

The IEEE Communications Society promotes the advancement of science, technology and applications in communications and related disciplines. It fosters presentation and exchange of information among its members and the technical community throughout the world. The society maintains the highest standard of professionalism and technical competency. See www.comsoc.org.

IEEE-USA Supports High-Tech Visa Reform Legislation Introduced in Senate

WASHINGTON (29 April 2009) — Today in a letter to the U.S. Senate, IEEE-USA communicated its support for legislation introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that is designed to reduce fraud and abuse in the H-1B and L-1 visa programs for temporary skilled workers. The letter also affirms IEEE-USA’s long-standing support for permanent skills-based immigration as a more appropriate strategy than temporary visas to help meet the workforce needs of the U.S. high-tech industry.
The letter is available at http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/policy/2009/042909.pdf.
IEEE-USA’s position on high-tech immigration is at http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/Immigration0607.pdf.
See http://durbin.senate.gov/showRelease.cfm?releaseId=311910 for a news release describing key provisions of the bill.


WASHINGTON (30 April 2009) — As part of its public awareness program to promote engineering and technological literacy, IEEE-USA has helped to underwrite more than 600 local television news reports on engineering and science since 2005. From October 2008 through March 2009, TV news reports aired on IEEE technologies that benefit society have included segments on:–How engineers have processed data from NASA’s Aura satellite to track and predict the movement of airborne pollution
–How engineers and computer scientists have developed software to coordinate the movement of thousands of cars in case of an emergency evacuation
–How electrical and computer engineers have designed a monitor that keeps track of a baby’s breathing while asleep with the goal of saving infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
–How electrical and computer engineers have created a system based on magnets that enables disabled persons to use the tongue to control the movement of a wheelchair
–How human development scientists and computer game developers have designed a video game that teaches youngsters how to resolve conflicts peacefully amongst themselvesIn 2008, 16 segments on IEEE technologies were aired with an estimated 83 million views. Additionally, IEEE-related technology stories have their own Web site at http://www.aip.org/dbis/IEEE. To view selected reports as they were aired by local TV stations, e-mail p.mccarter@ieee.org.

The “Discoveries & Breakthroughs Inside Science” TV news reports are distributed to local U.S. television stations in more than 100 cities, transit systems in seven U.S. cities, at the Mall of America in Minnesota, as well as through the Voice of America and the Roo Online Video Network in more than 60 countries. Stations airing the IEEE-related spots in the United States include a mix of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, cable and independent affiliates. An estimated 200 million viewers watch “Discoveries & Breakthroughs” originating from the Middle East Broadcasting Center.

Academic research has documented that the public obtains most of its information about engineering and science from local TV news and that viewers of the “Discoveries & Breakthroughs” TV reports are more likely to support engineering and science than those who are not viewers.

Former IEEE-USA Mass Media Engineering Fellow Sourish Basu and former IEEE Washington Internships for Students of Engineering Participant Elizabeth Johnston collaborate with other society representatives in weekly telephone conferences to develop and vet story ideas.

“Discoveries & Breakthroughs” is seeking new story ideas to include in its TV reports that are incorporated in local TV news broadcasts. IEEE-USA Communications and Public Awareness Vice President Paul Kostek has asked IEEE student chapters to consider submitting stories about engineering breakthroughs themselves or through their universities’ public information officers. Pitches should be directed to Emilie Lorditch, the series’ manager and senior science editor, who can be reached at elorditc@aip.org.

The “Discoveries & Breakthroughs” TV news service was developed by the American Institute of Physics with a coalition of 23 technical professional organizations including IEEE-USA. The service delivers 12 vetted 90 second TV reports monthly — in English and Spanish — with a potential reach of up to 75 million TV viewers, and an estimated 47 million online views per month through local TV stations’ Web sites.

DHS Official to Discuss Innovative Private-Public Partnerships to Make Country More SECURE at IEEE Homeland Security Conference
WASHINGTON (1 May 2009) — If you have a technology that can make the United States more secure, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS-S&T) wants to hear from you.
Dr. Thomas A. Cellucci, DHS chief commercialization officer housed at DHS S&T, will discuss “Opportunities for the Private Sector” through DHS’ SECURE program during the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST 09) at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel, 11-12 May.
SECURE, which stands for “System Efficacy through Commercialization, Utilization, Relevance and Evaluation,” seeks “win-win” partnerships between DHS and private companies to develop solutions that meet the needs of the department’s operating components, first responders and other stakeholders such as critical infrastructure/key resources owners and operators.
Cellucci will explain to HST 09 attendees that, in addition to providing detailed operational requirements of DHS stakeholders, DHS includes an estimate of the potential available market. This program is not only a “win” for DHS and the private sector, but most importantly, for the American taxpayer who benefits from a cost-effective and efficient development of products and services to help keep the country safe.
SECURE (http://www.dhs.gov/xres/programs/gc_1211996620526.shtm) helps create jobs and acts as a catalyst to enable small firms (that posses vital innovation) to partner with larger firms and investors. The end result is found in much higher speed-of-execution of government programs at a high return-on-investment of taxpayer dollars.
Cellucci will also preview a new innovative partnership program focused on basic research and innovation that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce on 19 May.
The IEEE Boston Section is producing HST 09 with organizational support from IEEE-USA. The event, which began in 2002, focuses on innovative technologies addressing some of the nation’s most-pressing national security problems. About 500 people attended the 2008 conference, including representatives from 17 foreign countries.
Presentations will be made in the following tracks: weapons of mass destruction detection; border & maritime; counter IED (improvised explosive device); disaster response; and critical infrastructure protection. Rear Admiral Richard Gurnon, USMS, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, will deliver the keynote address.
For more information and to register, see http://www.ieeehomelandsecurityconference.org/.
HST 09 is part of the IEEE Engineering the Future Global Event Series in celebration of IEEE’s 125th anniversary.