James D. Isaak

2010 IEEE Computer Society President and Award Recipient
Share this on:

James D. Isaak received his B.S. in Computer Studies and his M.S.E.E. in Computer Engineering (1972) from Stanford University. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and has been a member of the IEEE Computer Society since 1971. He led the POSIX standards effort from 1984 through 1994, as work expanded to 30 projects with involvement by over 500 volunteers.

In addition to his work as Director for Information Infrastructure Standards at Digital Equipment Corporation which entails standards leadership, strategies and “evangelism” from China to Europe, he also worked in startups and major vendors in operating systems development, software services, management, product management and strategic planning. In the past, Mr. Isaak tested the early PC software market with a genealogy package, authored numerous articles on open systems, including a piece on the “Information Highway” published in the October 1978 issue of Computer. He also coauthored the recently-published, Open Systems Handbook (IEEE Standards Press) and served as editor of a standard family history and genealogy to be published later this year.

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Isaak initiated the IEEE SCC33 Standards Coordinating Committee for the Information Infrastructure, and is active in the ANSI Information Infrastructure Standards Panel (IISP). In addition, he is the convener of the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG15 POSIX effort and member of: the associated ISO/IEC SC22 Committee, IEEE Standards Board, the Cross Industry Working team (XIWT), alternate on the NIIT Board of Directors and ACM.  James Isaak is the recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Outstanding Contribution Award, “for outstanding technical achievement in development of POSIX Standard P1003,” the POSIX Pioneer and the Stanford Computing Pioneer certificates.

Jim would like to thank his wife of 26 years Leonora Isaak, and daughters Michelle and Elaine, for their patience and understanding with the substantial amount of work and travel that is entailed in standards participation. Elaine is the one that decide “POSIX” STOOD OR “Persons Opposed to Scarlet Indigenous Xylophones” after the Nth time someone asked her what his personalized license plate stood for.

Recent Volunteer Positions

2010 IEEE Computer Society President
Learn more about volunteering


1994 Hans Karlsson Award
“For outstanding leadership and  achievement through collaboration.”
Learn more about the Hans Karlsson Award