Inside the Computer Society

Angela Burgess, Executive Director of the IEEE Computer SocietyInside the CS highlights the work of the CS from the point of view of the professional staff. I blog to make our programs more visible, build awareness and encourage participation. Check back for postings about how to use your CS benefits, member and customer feedback, new initiatives, and opportunities for involvement.
     — Angela Burgess, Executive Director

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Focus on Computing Professionals

In 2007, after a formal strategic planning process, the IEEE Computer Society began to improve its focus on computing professionals. Since that time we have launched many initiatives with professionals in mind, including Build Your Career, CS Jobs Board, training courses, and Safari Books Online. Now, thanks to our Technical Council on Software Engineering, we had added a conference to this list. The inaugural Computing Professionals 2010 (CP2010) was held 21-23 April in Montreal.

I don’t often get a chance to attend conferences -- I hope to get to more of them in the future. CP2010 was designed to allow maximum interaction among participants, and the presentations sparked good discussion. Among my favorites was a lessons learned presentation by Ron Smith of the Royal Military College in Canada. Not only are failure case studies very rare, Ron’s candid style made it very easy for us to relate to what the team members were going through. 

Howard Brill of the Monroe Plan for Medical Care gave a very timely presentation on Healthcare IT (HIT). Howard highlighted the very near-term changes to HIT in the US and some practical advice for those being asked to implement HIT systems.

Karen Mackey of Shoreline Software Consulting used a case study from Cisco to describe how her former team marketed best practices to the firm’s software organizations. Two presentations on architecture – by Paul Croll of CSC and Elliot Chikofsky of EM&I – also focused on very practical take-aways.

On the last day I attended the workshop on IT professionalism. Many global organizations are working on IT professionalism programs, and the IEEE Computer Society is no exception. At CP2010, Pierre Bourque gave an update on a major refresh of the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), which is going on now.

Then the IT Subcommittee of our Professional Activities Board (PAB) spent a day reviewing their work to identify where the IEEE-CS could best contribute to advancing the IT profession. This very stimulating workshop was designed to help the team hone its recommendations to the PAB at its June meeting.

 This is just a short and incomplete recap of the workshop. I congratulate the Program Committee: Paul Croll, Elliot Chikofsky, Francios Coallier, and John Harauz, for this excellent start to what I hope will be a conference that grows and grows. I also want to thank our host institution, Ecole de technologie superieure, a great location not only because of its beautiful facility but also because its practices align perfectly with our focus on professionals. 

I was glad to be a part of the first CP2010. Join me next year!

Where to Find Us on the Web

Perhaps you noticed the home page promotion last week encouraging you to become a Facebook fan of the Computer Society. We offered a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, which was awarded to Nathan Ensmenger (congrats, Nathan!). Since its launch earlier this month, the CS page has attracted 1,175 fans. Become a fan today!

Facebook is just one place we are picking up our activity.

You can also find us at Twitter. Follow us @ComputerSociety, @ComputingNow, and @SecurityPrivacy

Linked In has an active IEEE Computer Society Members group administered by, well, members! Join in the discussions there by simply searching for the IEEE Computer Society group.

We also have a channel at You Tube to feature multimedia content. Look for that channel to grow as we devote more resources to developing video content. 

Our own site also includes several long-running podcasts. Gary McGraw’s Silver Bullet Security Podcast has 47 interviews with leaders in the security and privacy fields. Grady Booch’s software architecture series now has 22 installments. Computer sponsors a delightful series, In Our Time, which deals with some of the most important recent moments in computer history. And there are more – please have a listen.

Finally, the IEEE island in Second Life is the site of our Artificial Intelligence Learning Center (AILC). AILC aims to take the mystery out of AI and to shape its future uses. For more information or to volunteer to help with the IEEE's Artificial Intelligence Learning Center, contact avatar Joey Aboma in Second Life. For more information, click here. You can also visit the IEEE 2 sim in Second Life here.

Do you know of a group, blog, or online network we should know about? Drop me a line and we’ll follow up.

Coming Soon: Instant Communities

This week we made a significant step forward with We upgraded the Liferay platform and finalized preparations for the rollout of instant communities. As described by President Isaak in Computer, "any CS member will be able to create a new community and any individual with an IEEE Web account (membership not required) can join the interaction."

This new capability is extremely important if we are to realize our vision of being the leading provider of technical information, community services, and personalized services to the world's computing professionals.

The toolset for instant communities includes: blogs, calendar, document library, message boards, polls, Web content display, Web form, and wiki. Here's the link to the help pages.

Look for more information to be released on our home page soon.


Promoting the CS at trade shows

One great way the CS staff and volunteers collaborate is through our trade show program. In 2010, the RSA conference — one of the largest commercial security conferences — again chose IEEE Security & Privacy magazine's panel from among thousands of submissions. It appeared in the Hot Topics track, one of high visibility. This year was the sixth time S&P's panel had been chosen. Of course we also took along our booth to participate in the exhibition.

The panel, "Lifestyle Hacking—Social Networks & Gen Y Meet Security & Privacy," featured excellent panelists:

  • Avi Rubin, professor at Johns Hopkins and president of Independent Security Evaluators,
  • Gillian Hayes, professor at the University of California, Irvine,
  • Jim Routh, head of global application security, JP Morgan Chase,
  • Kim de Vries, professor at CSU Stanislaus, and 
  • moderator Gary McGraw, CTO of Cigital.

To promote the panel, staff member Kathy Clark-Fisher wrote a media alert and a press release. Kathy and her team members made sure the panel was promoted on our home page, and a special landing page was created.

Before and during the show, staffer Jenny Stout handled the feeds to S&P's Twitter account. We gained about 25 new followers to S&P's feed by tweeting about the show — people going to the show actively searched for posts about it, liked our tweets and became followers. 

The panel itself was a great success, mostly due to Gary's tireless efforts and creativity. The panel enjoyed a standing-room crowd. Kathy stayed after to talk to some members of the press. They said this panel was unlike many of the others — it didn’t sell anything and was thought-provoking with quality panelists. One attendee expressed a desire to become involved with S&P in some way. He was very impressed with the content and said we were the “real deal.” That's exactly what we want to achieve with all of our products.

Here are some links to the coverage we received:

In the booth were staff members from editorial, customer service, and marketing. We saw lots of CS members and subscribers. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive — not one subscriber mentioned anything negative, instead focusing on which issue topics and departments they liked. Notably, most all subscribers loved S&P’s news section. We signed up some new members — at one point we even had a line going! — and talked up the magazine. Visitors’ overall experience at our booth seemed very positive and informative, and many were interested in the half-year membership price! In addition, many past authors, board members, and “friends of S&P” (past panelists) dropped by. Kathy also solicited about three pieces of content for a future issue of S&P.

Kathy has since posted some pictures at the CS's Facebook page — have a look. And we hope to see you next year at RSA!

Until then, we recommend that you attend our own S&P conference in May: IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 16–19 May, The Claremont Resort, Oakland, CA. It's the 30th anniversary, so this promises to be a very special event.

Tips to speed access to your member benefits

We've just completed a very successful membership campaign, and once again we are hearing that the e-Learning campus is a big reason for the great response. With corporate training budgets under pressure, our members appreciate getting access to 3,000 courses and Brainbench certifications.

The customer service team has passed along some tips for getting immediate access to these benefits. First, be aware that it is possible to get an IEEE Web Account without joining: this is a guest account. You need at least a guest account to use some of our internal systems and to comment on our Website, neither of which requires membership.

If you do create a guest account and then decide to join (and we sincerely hope you do), we can bring over your guest account as your member Web Account. Simply be sure to specify the username and password when mailing in your membership application or just log in and add IEEE Computer Society membership to your cart.

We are finding that some members need to delete cookies and temporary files and relaunch the browser in order to gain access. This is an intermittent problem, and we are investigating the cause. We are also looking into some problems with capitalization and special characters in usernames and email addresses.

As you begin to use your benefits, keep in mind that the courses and certifications you access are permanently associated with the Web Account used to first access them. Once you start a course, reinitiating that course requires that you use the same username.

If you have any problem accessing your benefits, do not hesitate to contact me or send a message to or call 800 272-6657 if you are in the U.S. or +1 714 821 8380 otherwise. Our phones are staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.


Welcome to the first installment of Inside the CS. I hope I can make the work of the IEEE Computer Society more transparent so that you can get the most out of it, whether you are a member or someone who uses our products & services on occasion. As I approach my 25th anniversary as a CS employee, this is a great opportunity for me to share with you just how proud I am of this organization and its volunteers and staff. I won’t even try to estimate how many volunteers I have worked with over the years, but I do know that they share some common traits. Without fail, our volunteers are hard-working, quality-conscious, passionate about technology, and generous of their time and talents. They are also very busy, so the professional staff is here to help channel this passion into products and services that help advance the field of computing. One of the reasons I love working here is the strong staff-volunteer partnership. Sure, we all have our days, but here at the CS the default operating principle is that the staff and volunteers all work together to make the CS what it is. In the months ahead, I plan to share some stories about how we do that – and how you can join in. I’ll also try to help you get the most out of your association with the CS. If there is a particular question you have about how the CS works, please drop me a line and I will follow up.

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