The Community for Technology Leaders

President's Message: Evolving the World with the World's Computer Society

Carl K. Chang, IEEE Computer Society 2004 President

Pages: pp. 10-12

In Computer's first issue for 2004, I extend a warm welcome to the nearly 100,000 new and continuing IEEE Computer Society members. We reaffirm our commitment to offering you those products and services that will most benefit you in your careers as computing and IT professionals.


Under the leadership of Past President Stephen L. Diamond, our Society made substantial progress in many areas last year. Our 2003 accomplishments were outlined in Computer's December issue. On behalf of the Society, I wish to thank Steve for his dedicated efforts to develop new initiatives that focused on improving the Society's operational effectiveness. He also guided the advancement of our ongoing electronic projects, including distance learning and the Total Information Provider project.

Another 2003 initiative was the development of the Society's next strategic plan, SP-5. As president-elect, my responsibility was to lead the effort to rethink our future directions, and I engaged all Society Executive Committee members in a forum to create SP-5. This plan builds on a strong foundation established by my predecessors.


In recent years, the Society's strategic planning has been guided by its vision statement "to be the leading provider of technical information and services for the world's computing professionals." To accomplish our mission, we have led the IEEE in product and member service innovations.

The Society was the first within the IEEE to initiate an online digital library (; offer distance learning courses as a basic member benefit (; and launch an e-version-only magazine, IEEE Distributed Systems Online (

We were the first among peer professional associations to define the body of knowledge of software engineering (, to offer a certification program for software professionals (, and to launch a technical peer-reviewed magazine on security and privacy ( We also are the first IEEE society to provide our members with free access to an online library of reference books (

While the Society as a whole has accomplished its mission in the past, our latest planning effort convinced us that it is time to move forward with an expanded vision and new strategic activities.


During my presidential election campaign, I communicated with you about my VISA concept: Vision, Interoperability, Strategy, and Action. I am happy to report that during my year as president-elect, I began formulating VISA with strong support from your volunteer leaders and the Society's executive staff. As a result of this collective effort, we have articulated a new vision for the Society "to be the leading provider of technical information, community services, and personalized services for the world's computing professionals."

We decided to adopt interoperability—defined as organizing and collaborating to deliver an integrated set of service packages across organizational units—as the overarching theme for our planning effort. We then investigated ways of building a sound infrastructure to foster interoperability among all segments of the Society.

Much of our effort in defining new strategies centered on the concept of a community-driven, service-centric infrastructure, with interoperability as the "enabling technology." The Society has built or experimented with several online technical communities, most notably DS Online and the IEEE SE Online, a new software engineering community to be launched early this year.

Although not all communities are created equal, they do have some common features. A community typically represents a group of individuals with common interests who come together in a common space—in this case a Web-based environment—to collaborate and to exchange information.

The Society must devise better mechanisms to continue supporting technical activities that appear to become more fragmented day by day. The community concept was identified as an effective and efficient method to achieve this end.

By the same token, since our resources are limited, the Society can no longer operate in a production-centric mode, such as continuing to launch periodicals. We must transform our organization into a service integrator with less capital investment and a higher return.

We have made advances toward this goal. Recent examples include the Distance Learning Campus, created in association with KnowledgeNet, and the online bookshelf, powered by Books 24x7. This new Society infrastructure, which may take several years to fully implement, will lay the foundation for us to meet the challenges we will face in the next decade.

SP-5 will be presented for final approval at the February 2004 Board of Governors meeting, and, once approved, it will be ready for action.


I am privileged to introduce the 2004 Executive Committee, a group of dedicated and capable volunteer leaders. These outstanding professionals and scholars, well known in their individual fields, share the Society's vision and common goals to serve you and the profession.

Joining me in 2004 are Past President Stephen L. Diamond, president and CEO of Picosoft Inc., and President-Elect Gerald L. Engel, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Connecticut. Both will interact with me on a daily basis and advise me on many fronts. I feel extremely fortunate to serve as president between the terms of a highly experienced industrial executive and a seasoned university scholar.

First Vice President Lowell G. Johnson, an independent consultant, will chair the newly established Electronic Products and Services Board. This board will create new dimensions of products and services that capitalize on emerging and mature electronic technologies. Opportunities for us to innovate in this area are definitely abundant.

Second Vice President Richard A. Kemmerer, a professor and past chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara, will chair the Chapter Activities Board. Under his leadership, in 2004 the Society will bring chapter members closer to each other and narrow the gap between chapter leaders and the Society.

Oscar N. Garcia, a past president of the Society, who is a professor and founding dean of the college of engineering at the University of North Texas, will continue his faithful service as the secretary of the Board.

Rangachar Kasturi, the Hood Professor and chair of computer science and engineering at the University of South Florida, has made significant achievements while serving as the vice president for publications for the past three years. He will now head the Finance Committee as the Society's treasurer.

James W. Moore, a senior principal engineer for the Mitre Corporation, will continue chairing the Standards Activities Board as a vice president. Jim's goal is to provide a consistent set of Society offerings serving software engineers in their professional development. In addition, Jim wants to create models of membership roles to better structure products to serve our diverse membership.

Christina M. Schober, a product team leader/staff engineer at Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Systems, will be vice president for conferences and tutorials. Chris will continue her efforts to restructure the conference business model to create more incentives for conference organizers.

Murali Varanasi, who is starting an electrical engineering department at the University of North Texas and is a long-time volunteer for accreditation and curriculum development, will serve as vice president of educational activities. In view of the soon-to-be-completed computing curriculum projects (, including software engineering and computer engineering, Murali intends to plan for more curriculum assessment and development.

Michael R. Williams, professor emeritus of computer science at the University of Calgary and head curator at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, will serve as vice president of the Publications Board. Mike will be instrumental in our ever-increasing effort to build synergy in the publications business with other IEEE entities.

Yervant Zorian, vice president and chief scientist of Virage Logic and chief technology advisor of LogicVision, will continue his appointment as vice president of technical activities. Yervant will focus his energy to help discern and build technical communities while strengthening the base of each existing technical committee and council. He also welcomes your input to help identify emerging technologies.


I would like to especially thank Past President Willis K. King for his guidance and encouragement during my on-the-job training as president-elect. Willis shared with me many of his profound thoughts and wisdom, and he was always willing to help me prepare for my presidential term.

Special thanks also are due to Guylaine M. Pollock, who just completed her service as IEEE Division V Director. Key volunteers in the Society know well that Guylaine used her insight and skill to build alliances in the IEEE arena and to keep us engaged in deliberations about many critical issues. The Society benefited tremendously from her efforts.

I would like to thank Deborah K. Scherrer, who directs NASA science and technology-based education and public outreach programs at Stanford University, for her leadership during her term as first vice president for educational activities. Deborah conducted a review of EAB activities in an effort to focus on our educational program priorities.

I also recognize the contributions of Fiorenza C. Albert-Howard, an independent consultant, who just concluded two terms as a member of the Computer Society Board of Governors. I appreciate Fiorenza's participation in many Society activities, including audit, awards, chapters, conferences, and the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.

Doris L. Carver, associate vice chancellor of Research and Graduate Studies and a professor of computer science at Louisiana State University, will continue to lead our flagship magazine, Computer, as editor in chief. James D. Isaak, an assistant professor of information technology in the School of Business at Southern New Hampshire University, and Gene Hoffnagle, research and technology strategist, IBM Centers for Advanced Studies, will represent the Society at the IEEE as our IEEE division directors.

In addition, I would like to thank a newly elected member of the Board of Governors, Mark Christensen. Mark joined the industrial advisory board that I assembled back in 1991 when I served as the editor in chief of IEEE Software. Since then, he has volunteered in many ad-hoc assignments that were critical to the Society's operations. Most recently, Mark helped us complete a new business model in the SP-5 draft plan.

Last but not least, I would like to thank our staff. I have long been an advocate of volunteer/staff partnership. My favorite example is how I worked with Angela Burgess, now the Society's publisher. Angela and I formed an editor-in-chief/managing editor partnership that transformed IEEE Software into a genuine technology-transfer forum.

Bob Care, Violet Doan, Lynne Harris, John Keaton, Anne Marie Kelly, Dick Price, and other staff have all helped me in many different ways. I look forward the opportunity to deepen such partnerships during the year. The leadership of David Hennage, the Society's Executive Director, will be instrumental to our success.


I am looking forward to a productive 2004. We have a new vision. We have assembled an outstanding team of volunteer leaders and staff. Most importantly, we have more than 20,000 volunteers who carry out our mission throughout the year. I applaud those volunteers, for without them, our Society would not have advanced so far. We need their continuing involvement and support to grow our profession and evolve the world.

About the Authors

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Carl K. Chang is chair of the Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University. Contact him at
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