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IEEE-USA President Commends House for Passing Innovation Legislation

WASHINGTON (21 December 2010) — IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt commends the House of Representatives for passing the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 on Tuesday.

The legislation, which the Senate passed on 17 December, authorizes federal investment in science, engineering, innovation, technology and competitiveness, and is designed to help the United States maintain its world leadership in high-technology and create jobs. It will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

COMPETES strives to, among other things, prepare students for high-skilled, high-paying jobs by improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; keeps basic research program budgets on a path to doubling at the Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); reauthorizes the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), which supports high-risk, high-reward transformational energy technology development; and provides loan guarantees “for a project that re-equips, expands, or establishes a manufacturing facility in the United States.”

“This legislation is important for the United States as it competes to retain global leadership in technology innovation, research and math and science,” Hirt said. “It will enhance needed economic growth and U.S. STEM education, while helping manufacturers become more competitive by supporting innovative manufacturing technologies.”

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), outgoing chairman of the House Science & Technology Committee, said on the House floor Tuesday that more than half of U.S. economic growth since the end of World War II in 1945 can be attributed to the development and deployment of new technologies.

“These investments are the path toward sustainable economic recovery and growth and the path toward prosperity for the next 50 years,” Gordon said. “There is an undeniable relationship between investments in R&D and the creation of jobs, the creation of companies, and economic growth.”

“COMPETES,” short for “Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science,” is based on recommendations outlined in the 2005 National Academies’ report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”

IEEE-USA, one of more than 750 organizations to endorse the legislation, worked to support its passage.

Major Upgrades to IEEE-USA Consultants Database Enhance User Experience

WASHINGTON (29 November 2010) — The IEEE-USA Consultants Database has been matching technical professionals and clients for years. IEEE-USA recently unveiled several major upgrades designed to enhance database functionality and improve the user experience.

New features include:

* Member database profiles now accessible on Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Previously, profiles could only be found by searching the IEEE-USA Consultants Database.

* Form-based communications tools that prevent e-mail addresses from being harvested for spam

* Monthly Web viewing statistics for each member profile

* Improved filtering of employer assignment postings

For more on these and other upgrades, see the Alliance of IEEE Consultants Networks’ (AICN) Fall 2010 newsletter at http://www.ieeeusa.org/business/Newsletter/AICN-Fall-2010.pdf.

A one-year membership in the IEEE-USA Consultants Database is $79: http://www.ieeeusa.org/business/consultants/.

Through AICN, IEEE-USA promotes the interests of members working full-time or part-time as consulting engineers, computer professionals and project managers. Local networks provide their members with coaching and seminars on how to run a successful consulting practice.  

More IEEE-USA resources for consultants are available at http://www.ieeeusa.org/business/default.asp.

Cybersecurity a Shared Responsibility, White House Advisor Says at IEEE Homeland Security Conference

WALTHAM, MASS. (9 November 2010) — It’s not just government and private technology companies that are responsible for ensuring the safe and reliable functioning of our world’s interconnected computer systems.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, everyone has a role to play,” said Howard A. Schmidt, national cybersecurity coordinator and special assistant to President Barack Obama via video message Monday to attendees at the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security.

The 10th-annual peer-reviewed technical conference began Monday at the Westin Waltham Boston and continues through Wednesday.

Schmidt said there are steps we all can take to help keep the Internet secure: don’t visit suspect Web sites, download suspicious documents or attachments, or open e-mails from people you don’t know; have regularly updated anti-virus software installed on your computer, back-up your files frequently and educate children about potential online dangers.

“Together we can build a more resilient international community that is stronger and smarter than the determined adversaries we face every day,” he said. “Everyone has a role to secure their part of cyberspace, including the computers, devices and networks they use. We all need to understand how our individual actions can have a collective impact on cybersecurity and protecting the Internet.”

Much of the world depends on computer networks to communicate and conduct business. If those networks are compromised through viruses and other cyber attacks, the consequences could be deadly. For example, if computer-controlled street signals were to suddenly malfunction, vehicles could crash into each other.

“We rely on cyber networks to control and manage transportation, electricity and banking, just to name a few parts of our critical infrastructure,” Schmidt said. “Cybersecurity risks pose some of the most serious economic and national security challenges of the 21st century. Going forward, economic prosperity and our way of life depends on strong cybersecurity built on the backbone of resilient cyber infrastructure.”

The IEEE Homeland Security Conference is produced by IEEE with technical support from the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. IEEE-USA is providing organizational support. For more information, visit www.ieee-hst.org.