IEEE, which stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is an international, non-profit, professional organization started in 1963 as the merging of two organizations, the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), with the objective of advancing technology in electrical, electronics, communications, and computer engineering, and computer science.
In keeping in line with these objectives, the organization serves as a major publisher of scientific journals, as well as a conference organizer, sponsoring or cosponsoring over 300 international technical conferences annually. It is currently being headed by Leah H. Jamieson, while John W. Meredith serves as the president of the USA chapter of the organization.
There are 39 societies under the IEEE, organized around specialized technical fields. It is also divided into organizational units based on geography. The IEEE has over 360,000 members spanning 175 countries.
The organization has developed over 900 active industry standards in a number of fields, such as telecommunications, nanotechnology, electric power and energy, and information technology, making it a leading developer of industrial standards.
Development of industry standards is spearheaded by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), and there are seven steps to the standard setting process. Sponsorship from an IEEE-approved organization must first be secured, followed by a Project Authorization Request (PAR) to be subject for approval by the IEEE-SA Standards Board and the New Standards Committee (NesCom).
A Working Group is then assembled, in order to prepare a draft of the proposed standard. The fifth step is subjecting the draft for balloting approval among a group of individuals who accept an invitation-to-ballot from the IEEE Standards Department.
A 75% approval rating is required for the draft to move on to the sixth stage, which is the verification of approval by the Review Committee (RevCom). The seventh step is the final vote for approval of the standard. Completion of the IEEE standards development process usually takes 18 months.
IEEE features various grades of membership. These include the following:
- Society Affiliate, which is technically not a membership, although Society Affiliates are an important part of the IEEE community;
- Member Grade (MIEEE), for those who complete the IEEE-specified educational requirements, or demonstrate professional competence in IEEE-designated fields of interest;
- Associate Membership, for those who do not complete the requirements, they have membership but are not allowed to vote or hold office in the IEEE;
- Student Member Grade (S’MIEEE), for students who are studying one of the IEEE disciplines;
- Senior Member Grade (SMIEEE), the highest grade for which application may be made, for those who have been professionals in IEEE-designated fields for 10 years;
Fellow Grade (FIEEE), awarded by the Board of Directors to those with extraordinary qualifications and experience in IEEE-designated fields. Most members of the organization are engineers of various fields, computer scientists, biologists, physicists and mathematicians.
There are a number of medals and awards that IEEE honors to those with outstanding contributions to the organization. The IEEE has the Major Medals: IEEE Medal of Honor, IEEE Edison Medal, IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, IEEE John von Neumann Medal, IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, IEEE Benjamin G. Lamme Medal, and the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.
There are also the Field Awards: IEEE SA International Award, IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award, IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award, IEEE Nikola Tesla Award, IEEE Internet Award, IEEE Long Island Section Awards & Region 1 Awards, IEEE Computer Pioneer Award, and the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.