The Community for Technology Leaders

Building on the Past—Looking to the Future

Pages: pp. 7-9


Figure    Gerald L. Engel,IEEE Computer Society President

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2005 is a truly outstanding year for you and yours as well as for the IEEE Computer Society.

I find myself in the both enviable and intimidating position of following a series of outstanding presidents who have led a transformation of our Society, often in the face of almost unbelievable obstacles. We owe a considerable debt to these individuals, especially the sequence beginning with Guylaine Pollock and extending to Ben Wah, Willis King, Steve Diamond, and Carl Chang. Without the dedicated efforts these folks have willingly provided, and continue to provide, I doubt that the Computer Society as we know it would exist today.

In his message to the membership in Computer's January 2004 issue , then-President Carl Chang referred to the Society's vision of being "the leading provider of technical professional services for the world's computing professionals." He further indicated that "the transformation process has begun."

For 2005, my approach is to build on the excellent work of the past five years and see that the visions that have been articulated can now be successfully implemented. To accomplish this, I urge all of you reading this message to join with me and the team that we have assembled to make it work. We welcome and encourage your ideas and your participation. Come join us in the journey—the time is right, and the water is fine.


Let me first identify the team we have assembled. The 2005 Executive Committee includes Past President Carl K. Chang (2004 president), chair of the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University, and President-Elect (2006 president) Deborah M. Cooper, the founding president of an independent consulting firm in Virginia specializing in computer security and information assurance.

First Vice President Michael R. Williams, head curator at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, is the chair of the Publications Board. Second Vice President James W. Moore, a senior principal engineer at MITRE Corporation, is chair of the Electronic Products and Services Board.

The vice president for conferences and tutorials is Yervant Zorian, vice president and chief scientist of Virage Logic and chief technology advisor of LogicVision. Stephanie M. White, a professor of computer science and management engineering in the College of Information and Computer Science, Long Island University, is the vice president for technical activities. Christina M. Schober, a product team leader/staff engineer at Honeywell Sensor Guidance Products Division, is vice president for chapters activities. Murali R. Varanasi, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas College of Engineering, is the vice president for educational activities. Susan K. (Kathy) Land, a software engineering section manager for Northrop Grumman in Huntsville, Ala., is vice president for standards.

The Board secretary is Stephen B. Seidman, dean of the College of Computing Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology; the treasurer is Rangachar Kasturi, the Hood Professor and chair of computer science and engineering at the University of South Florida. As prescribed by Society bylaws, Computer's editor in chief, Doris L. Carver, the associate vice chancellor of Research and Graduate Studies and a professor of computer science at Louisiana State University, is also a member of the Executive Committee.

In addition to David W. Hennnage, Executive Director of the Computer Society, the three members of the IEEE Board of Directors elected by Society members serve as nonvoting members of the Executive Committee: 2005-2006 IEEE Division VIII Director Steve Diamond, who completed his term as one of the Society's "three Ps"—the current president, the immediate past president, and the president-elect—in 2004; Gene F. Hoffnagle, the research and technology strategist for IBM's Centers for Advanced Studies, IEEE Division V Director; and Oscar N. Garcia, a professor and founding dean of the college of engineering at the University of North Texas.

In 2005, Jean M. Bacon and George V. Cybenko will return for their second terms as members of the Board of Governors. Newly elected to the Board are the following individuals: Richard A. Kemmerer, Susan K. (Kathy) Land, Itaru Mimura, Brian M. O'Connell, and Christina M. Schober. In a special election conducted during the Board of Governors meeting in November, Jim Isaak and Rohit Kapur were selected to fill vacancies on the Board.

I look forward to working with this excellent group of leaders in our field.


I must also extend my thanks and best wishes to a number of individuals who are completing their terms of service to our Society.

The following Society leaders completed terms on the Executive Committee in 2004: Lowell G. Johnson, Vice President for Electronic Products and Services; Richard A. Kemmerer, Vice President for Chapter Activities; and James D. Isaak, 2003-2004 IEEE Division VIII Director. We will miss their contributions as members of the Executive Committee this year, and we look forward to their involvement again in the future.

Departing from the Board of Governors at the end of 2004 were Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Haruhisa Ichikawa, and Thomas W. Williams. We thank them for their service; we will miss them and their valuable contributions to the Society.

I also want to extend a special thank-you to Wolfgang K. Giloi for his outstanding work as the 2004 chair of the Computer Society Awards Committee. He has established a standard by which all future leadership of this committee will be measured.

I would be remiss in failing to acknowledge the contributions of members of the Computer Society staff, including Anne Marie Kelly, Associate Executive Director; Angela Burgess, Publisher; Violet S. Doan, Director, Administration; Robert G. Care, Director, Information Technology; Richard J. Price, Assistant Publisher; and Desmona D. Harris, Manager, Finance and Accounting. One of the greatest strengths of the Society is our effective volunteer-staff partnership, and it is these folks who make it happen. They are the continuing voice of the organization, and they do an exceptionally good job in this role.

Finally, I regret that space limitations prevent me from adding thanks to all the others who make the Society what we are. Whether your involvement is with one of the standing committees, chapters, conferences, educational activities, electronic products and services, publications, standards, or as a staff member, we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you very much. And, in the sense that every good deed results in another request, I look forward to even more contributions from you in 2005.

2005 PLANS

As I mentioned earlier, the Computer Society has benefited over the past several years from leadership by real visionaries. As a result, with the completion of the 2004 Strategic Plan, "Evolving the World with the World's Computer Society" (SP-5), we have prepared ourselves for a move into an exciting and dynamic future. I view my primary role as being the one to ensure this is done smoothly, while maintaining all of our existing strengths.

Perhaps our biggest concern should be whether we are effectively highlighting all the great things we have done and continue to do. Indeed, this may be one of our most significant weaknesses. Over the past year, I have been amazed at the number of times I have heard about how one of our peer societies was undertaking the development of a plan to solve a problem that we had successfully addressed years ago.

As a result, I am going to ask each of our program boards to focus initially on ways in which we can better inform all of our constituents—members, customers, and the public at large—about the great things that are happening in our Society. My hope is that this will, in turn, serve as a positive public relations effort that will naturally lead to increases in our membership, the number of customers we serve, the effective linkages between our existing programs, the esteem in which we are held, and, finally, in effective ties that will ensure the success of SP-5.

I expect that a result of this effort will be the formation of an ad hoc committee to determine how to best present the face of the Society. I have been tempted to call this either a marketing group or a public relations group, but it has been observed that both of these terms carry some level of baggage. Hence, I will refer to this as the "Virtual Marketing Ad Hoc Committee" until a better description is suggested.


I also anticipate that in the coming year we will continue to positively develop our relationship with the IEEE. Certainly, much has been accomplished in this effort in the past several years, but often this has been done at a high cost in terms of volunteer and staff time that could have been devoted more productively to other things.

With the leadership of our IEEE division directors, the careful attention of the three Ps, and the concurrence of our Board of Governors, I hope that we can clearly articulate our vision for the future within the IEEE and begin movement toward its implementation.

Indeed, our linkages within the IEEE are probably better now than they have been for years. I believe there is an opportunity for the successful resolution to any existing differences to the benefit of all concerned.


In addition to the IEEE, we have relationships with a number of other organizations and associations. I plan to carefully evaluate all of these relationships in the coming year to determine if they are in fact in our best interests and whether they are implemented in the best way possible. From this, we will be able to determine the optimal way to proceed in the future.

I also hope to expand our presence well beyond our peer organizations. In 2004, we began holding informal dinner meetings with the leadership of other scientific and educational associations and government agencies with similar interests. So far, these efforts have focused primarily on organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, where our headquarters offices are located. I believe these meetings have been extremely helpful and effective, and I would like to see them expanded in 2005.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the 2005 Computer Society President. I sincerely hope that, at the end of the year, you will be able to conclude that I did a good job.

Hopefully, reading between the lines, you have seen my main message: I need your help. Let me hear from you. What are we doing well? What are we not doing so well? What should we be doing that we currently are not doing? Most importantly, what can you contribute?

I cannot promise that we will be able to do everything suggested, but I do promise you a hearing regarding whatever you tell me. I look forward to hearing from you and to working with you in 2005.

About the Authors

Gerald L. Engel is a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Connecticut. Contact him at
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