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VIRGINIA MOUNTAIN SECTION
NEWSLETTER

 
IEEE Region 3, Council 9, Section 65              March  1997
********************************************************
			CONTENTS
1.  March Meeting
	Tour of Cybermotion, Inc.
2.  Reservations for March Meeting
3.  February Meeting Report
	Student Paper Contest, Summary & Winners
4.  PACE Patter
	Networking Most Effective Job Search Technique
5. Computer/Control/IES Chapter
	March Meeting: " Metal Industries Automation Systems -- a 
	Decade of evolution "
6. Computer/Control/IES Chapter
	February Meeting Report: "A Practical Guide to
				Neural Networks"
7.  IEEE Virginia Council
	Descriptive summary by Dan Jackson
8.  VMS Info Sources
9.  Chapter Chairmen - Notice
10. For Your Information
11. Newsletter Submissions

******************************************************** [1]
March Meeting

Tour of Cybermotion, Inc.

The VMS IEEE will be touring facilities of Cybermotion, Inc. in 
Salem. Cybermotion, Inc. has been involved in the design and 
manufacture of mobile robot systems, particularly security robots, 
since 1984.  Our meeting will start with videos about Cybermotion 
and their products, will proceed to a tour of the manufacturing 
facilities, and conclude with a question and answer session with 
John Holland, the founder of the company.

The meeting will start at 7:00 P.M. at Cybermotion, Inc.  Note, 
there will be no dinner scheduled.  Space is limited, so 
reservations are imperative.

******************************************************** [2]
Reservations for the March Meeting

Date:   Thursday, March 20, 1997 
Time:   7:00 P.M. 
Place:  Cybermotion, Inc.           
	115 Sheraton Drive, Salem            
	off  Electric Road (Rt. 419) near Quality Inn, 
	I-81 exit 141 
Cost:  none

PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BY MONDAY, 
MARCH 17, 5:00 P.M.

Roanoke:	David Livingston	857-6261
Blacksburg:	Anbo Wang		231-4355
Lexington:	Dick Skutt		464-7236
Radford and 
Christiansburg: 	Usha Varshney	731-0655


******************************************************** [3]
February MEETING REPORT

The 1997 VMS IEEE Student Papers Contest

The 1997 VMS IEEE Student Papers Contest was held at the 
Holiday Inn, Salem on February 20.  The contestants were Mr. 
David Hepper, a sophomore in the Engineering Transfer program 
at Virginia Western Community College; Mr. James Jeter and Mr. 
Taylor Edwards, seniors in the Electrical Engineering program at 
Virginia Military Institute; and Mr. Paolo Dadone, a masters 
candidate from the Electrical Engineering graduate program at 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Mr. Hepper presented the first paper entitled "Nanotechnologies: 
the Quantum Dot."  In the presentation, Mr. Hepper discussed the 
limitations involved in shrinking current integrated circuit 
technologies to the sub-micron level. These limitations included 
strong field effects, removal of heat and quantum effects such as 
tunneling.  Mr. Hepper then discussed the use of the quantum dot 
as a replacement for transistors in switching applications.  This 
concept involves the control of single electrons in the 
representation of logic states.  Mr. Hepper concluded by listing 
some of the obstacles facing the use of these new technologies.

Mr. Jeter and Mr. Edwards presented the second paper: "Fourier 
and Wavelet Analysis of a Speech Pattern."  The presenters 
started by giving a brief introduction into how speech is produced 
and how the Fourier transform has been used to analyze speech 
signals.  They mentioned that one of the problems with using the 
Fourier transform to represent speech is the loss of temporal 
information.  Mr. Jeter and Mr. Edwards went on to discuss the 
use of wavelets and wavelet packets.  Using wavelets requires 
fewer coefficients than the Fourier transform representation and 
temporal information is preserved.  They concluded by suggesting 
applications of wavelet techniques in areas such as voice 
identification security and the identification of speech pathologies. 

Mr. Dadone gave the final presentation entitled "Adaline:  Pattern 
Classification."  Mr. Dadone began by explaining pattern 
classification using a maximum likelihood Gaussian classifier 
(MLGC) to separate slightly overlapping data sets into two 
distinct classes.  He noted the linear structure in the log likelihood 
and suggested using an adaptive linear element (Adaline) to 
accomplish a similar result.  Mr. Dadone explained the operation 
of the Adaline and went on to discuss the results of an experiment 
comparing the MLGC to the Adaline for a two-class problem 
consisting of data generated from Gaussian distributions.  The 
conclusion was that the two techniques were only marginally 
different but that the Adaline had the advantage in that it assumed 
no a priori model. 

All the presentations were well done, resulting in a very close 
contest.  It was the judges decision that Mr. Hepper was awarded a 
first prize of $100, and Mr. Jeter and Mr. Edwards were awarded 
a second prize of $50 in the undergraduate division.  Mr. Dadone 
was awarded a first prize of $100 in the graduate division.  The 
VMS offers congratulations to the contestants and also offers its 
gratitude to Dr. Russell Churchill and Dr. Usha Varshney for 
providing their services as judges.

...Dave Livingston  


******************************************************** [4]
PACE Patter

Networking Most Effective Job Search Technique

In the November and January issues of this Newsletter we 
described the PACE Conference and issues from the Career Policy 
Council. This month we discuss the Members Services Council.  
This council consists of committees which develop programs and 
services that support individual members, sections and section 
leadership. Included are Awards and Recognition, 
Communications, Employment Assistance, Alliance of IEEE 
Consultants Networks, Surveys, and State Government Activities.  
Papers in several of these areas were presented at the annual 
PACE Conference last September.

A survey of unemployed IEEE members and those who had 
recently found jobs revealed a significant difference in the 
perceived importance of "networking" as a successful job search 
technique. Networking is the exchanging of information among 
individuals to build relationships and help each other. The 
reemployed members found networking by far the most effective 
job search technique when compared with resumes, ads, 
headhunters, consultants, and job fairs. Depending on the source 
of reemployment the difference was from 50 percent more 
effective to twice as effective. Those still unemployed considered 
resumes equally as effective. Maybe that was why they were still 
looking for a job. All found consultants the least effective 
technique for getting a job.

The Communications Committee, also, was concerned with job 
search. Resumes are a means of communication in which an 
individual is trying to convince the prospective employer or client 
of the value which he or she can bring to the organization. This is 
hard enough in person, but to do so on paper is even more so. The 
workshop concentrated on characteristics of good resumes, job-
search planning, and skills needed for effective interviewing. 
Communications covers, also, external communications to 
publicize section activities to the general public through electronic 
and print media. The session on "Building a Section Media 
Network" covered building the network, types of messages, 
methods for delivering the message, and maintaining the network.

Surveys are an important means of determining the needs of our 
members, but they are useful only if done correctly. The paper and 
session on surveys was intended to be a guide to surveys and 
survey techniques as they pertain to IEEE.  Smaller surveys done 
by sections may lack the statistical validity of the total Institute 
surveys but nevertheless provide some useful information. A 
session on how to create a new award was part of the program of 
the conference. This reviewed the IEEE requirements and 
presented a sample of a recent new award as a guide.

If you want more information in any of the areas discussed contact 
your section PACE chair, Daniel W. Jackson, 540-774-0484, 
d.jackson@ieee.org.

...Dan Jackson 



 
******************************************************** [5]
Computer/Control/IES Chapter

March Meeting

" Metal Industries Automation Systems -- a 
Decade of evolution "

R. Srinivasan Metals Automation GE Industrial 
Systems

 Tuesday, March 11, 1997
 5:30 - 7:00 PM Cafeteria A
GE Industrial Systems
1501 Roanoke Boulevard  Salem, VA

Metal industry automation systems are large, real-time systems 
with stringent performance and uptime requirements.

This talk will present an overview of Level 2 control system 
requirements for rolling mills and other metals processes. The 
evolution of GE designs to meet these requirements will be 
examined. Successes and failures will be discussed.

Variations among mills have been tricky enough to make 
standardization very challenging. A synopsis of the quest for the 
"perfect software architecture" over the past decade will be 
outlined.

R. Srinivasan ("Srini")graduated in Mechanical Engineering from 
Indian Institute of Technology, in Madras India. After a brief 
period in the IBM mainframe world, most of his career has been 
centered around DEC Systems, spanning the RSX, RSTS, RT11, 
VMS, ELN Operating Systems, and PDP 11, VAX11 and now the 
Alpha/AXP architectures. 

In 1986 Srini came to GE Drive Systems as a contract 
programmer. He joined GE full time in 1989. He has been 
involved in the evolution of the Metals Level 2 Automation 
Systems ever since.

Since 1991 or so, Srini has concentrated on providing Operator 
Interface solutions which exposed him to the innards of several 
generations of GE Automation Systems.

All IEEE Members and Guests are Welcome. There is no charge. 
Come to the main entrance near the flagpole. Meetings start 
promptly at 5:30,  so come early.

RESERVATIONS are appreciated! Call Dave Geer, 540-387-
7359 by 5 PM Monday, March 10 

******************************************************** [6]
February Meeting Report

"A Practical Guide to Neural Networks"

Dr. David L. Livingston

Dr. Livingston began his lecture with an overview of the 
biological inspiration for Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). 
Biological neurons consist of dendrites, soma, and axons, which 
perform input, processing, and output of neural "signals". The 
communication channel between neurons is the synaptic junction 
between the axon of one neuron and the synapse of another. The 
synaptic junction forms a threshold, across which the ionic signal 
must fire. Communication between neurons exhibits frequency 
modulation. As the signals increase in strength, the axons fire 
more rapidly. A biological neuron can be modeled as a weighted 
sum of inputs, plus a bias. The output is the bounded value of the 
sum. A smooth function, such as hyperbolic tangent, is usually 
chosen as the bound. Networks of these artificial neurons can 
exhibit learning by automatically adjusting the input weights. 

	Artificial neurons can be connected in many ways. One 
commonly used is the feedforward network. In this configuration 
neurons are arranged in layers. The input layer simply accepts 
signals. This layer is connected to one or more hidden layers, 
connected in cascade. The final layer is the output layer. Outputs 
from the network appear only at this layer. 	A number of learning 
algorithms can be used to adjust the weights. One that has proved 
useful is backward propagation. In order to use this method, a 
large number of sets of input and output vectors are required. The 
output vector represents the correct result for the corresponding 
input vector. Beginning at some initial state, the network is 
presented with each input vector in turn. The result is compared to 
the correct output, and a portion of the error is propagated back 
through the network to adjust the weights at each layer. A 
gradient descent method, using the partial derivative of the error 
with respect to each weight, is used to calculate the new weights 
at each iteration. After many iterations, if we are lucky, the 
weights will converge to stable values, and the network is 
"trained".

Other methods of learning were briefly mentioned, such as 
competitive learning, adaptive resonance theory, and annealing 
algorithms.

Although artificial neural nets have been used to solve certain 
classes of problems, there are many obstacles to general 
application. The optimal number of layers, and the number of 
nodes in each layer is not known in advance. The gradient decent 
learning algorithm may be fooled by local peaks and valleys in the 
error surface. The rate of learning, governed by the amount of 
error fed back at each iteration, and the convergence criteria, also 
affect the accuracy of the final configuration. And then there is 
the question of when does learning stop?

Dr. Livingston included historical milestones in the development 
of ANNs, and concluded with a summary of future work. About 
15 people attended, including engineers from GE, and professors 
from Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee.

... Dave Geer


******************************************************** [7]
IEEE VIRGINIA COUNCIL

Very few members of the Virginia Mountain Section are aware of 
the existence of the Virginia Council. The IEEE Virginia Council 
is Area 1 of Region 3 of the IEEE. Region 3 has nine areas 
covering the nine states east of the Mississippi River including 
Kentucky, Virginia, and all states south plus Jamaica.

Purpose: 
1. Stimulate member participation in the Institute. 
2. Improve communications among and for its member sections. 
3. Coordinate activities of its member sections. 
4. Promote statewide meetings and activities for the benefit of its 
members. 
5. Enhance status of membership in the IEEE. 
6. Provide strong, united representation of its member sections 
in the Regional and National activities of the Institute.

Member Sections: 
Those sections in Virginia which are in Region 3. 
1. Central Virginia Section. 
2. Hampton Roads Section. 
3. Richmond Section. 
4. Virginia Mountain Section.

Officers; Four: 
Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer. 

One officer from each section. Each office rotates among the 
sections. 1997: Chair, Richmond; Vice-Chair, Hampton Roads; 
Secretary, Virginia Mountain; Treasurer, Central Virginia. Term 
of office: two years.




Executive Committee: 
The four officers, the Junior Past Chair, and the Chair of each of 
the four member sections. The chairs of the member sections serve 
only during their term as a Section Chair.

The Virginia Council is a partner with the IEEE Northern 
Virginia Section, part of Region 2, in the Virginia Coordinating 
Council. This body provides a cooperating vehicle through which 
all IEEE members in Virginia can work together in activities of 
benefit to all. One of the primary activities of this latter group is 
communication with the state government particularly in 
cooperation with other Virginia engineering organizations on 
matters of concern to engineers of all disciplines.

The IEEE Virginia Council has been a member of the Virginia 
Engineering Awards Committee, (includes ASME, ASCE, VSPE 
and Consulting Engineers Council). This group awards the Crozet 
Award, to recognize outstanding engineers in non-federal 
government service, and the Pletta Award for outstanding 
engineering educators.

The Virginia Council has an infrequent newsletter which goes to 
the leaders of the sections for information about the council and 
the other sections in Virginia.

Meetings of the Virginia Council executive committee are held 
quarterly, usually in Richmond, the most central location. In the 
past the meetings have been moved around the state. The Virginia 
Council has sponsored two statewide technical conferences, 
VACon '82 in Hampton, and VACon '84 in Blacksburg at 
Virginia Tech.

As an entity of the IEEE, the Virginia Council has bylaws which 
guide its operation. If any readers wish a copy let me know at 
. I will send you the six pages by US mail.

...Daniel W. Jackson


******************************************************** [8]
VMS Info Sources

Electronic Newsletter
Over 15 percent of our members now subscribe. If you have not 
yet signed up, you are strongly encouraged to do so.

VMS Home Page
About VMS, its Chapters, officers, by-laws, and links to IEEE, 
Region 3, the Student Chapter, and a few more. Still an infant so, 
please take a look and send your suggestions. You can do that 
while you are looking at it. The URL is:

	http://fiddle.ee.vt.edu/ieeevms

To Subscribe to any or all three, see instructions in the For 
Your Information section.

******************************************************** [9]
Chapter Chairmen

Places have been reserved in the Home Page for any and all 
kinds of information about your Chapter: History, function, 
requirements, activities, schedules, flash announcements, 
meetings, speakers ... . Please send your material to the editor or 
submit it with the auto-mail feature.

******************************************************** [10]
For Your Information

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(Submit your ideas on-line)

******************************************************** [11]
Anyone may submit material for the Newsletter

Submissions Information: 
Deadline: Monday following each meeting

Submit To:	Editor: (See last page)
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