IEEE Central Texas Section


Volume 52-05

May 2008

Newsletter of the Central Texas Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.

Published monthly. Deadline for inclusion is the 25th day of the previous month. Send submissions, comments, questions to Kevin Nickels, Editor,


1. Section Activities

2. Chapter Activities

3. News & Information

4. Local Conferences

5. Other Conferences


Your IEEE -
IEEE Region 5
IEEE Central Texas Section

IEEE Conferences - Calls for Papers
IEEE Xplore - fulltext access to IEEE Publications
What's New at IEEE
Society News from IEEE
IEEE Standards Association
The Spectrum Online - The Magazine for Technology Insiders

1. Section Activities

Chairman's Column

Ladies and Gentlemen, CONGRATULATIONS. Last weekend in Kansas City, the IEEE leadership from Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois held their annual Region 5 meeting. At the Saturday evening banquet, you and 4300 of your best friends were recognized as the Outstanding Large Section in Region 5. And what made it really special was to have 4 of the last 6 Chairmen of CTS join me on stage to receive that award.

And if that wasn't enough, the Outstanding Member for the entire Region 5 was one of our own, Joe Redfield. Moreover, Individual Recognition Awards were presented to Ernest Franke and Steve Crowl. And then the Outstanding Ethics Paper was won by our student team from Trinity University, and finally the Robotics Competition was ALMOST won (2nd place) by our UTSA students. Wow. What an exciting time to be from the Central Texas Section. Pass a slap on back to these folks if you get a chance........and one to yourself as well.

The meeting covered issues ranging from the Region budget, to taking reports from all the Sections on ways to do things better, to addressing concerns over declining membership, to focus on new Professional Activities to support the membership. Many of our folks went on to the IEEE-USA meeting in Indianapolis, particularly to focus on the development of Professional Activities for the membership.

Again let me congratulate you for all the awards bestowed by the Region this year --- Photos and descriptions of the awards will be posted on the Section website awards page. The outstanding performance of the Central Texas Section flows from the dedication and hard work of the volunteers that make things happen for our membership. Thanks.....for all you do.

Garrett Polhamus
Chairman, Central Texas Section

Back to TOP

Section & Chapter News

Central Texas Section Honored at the Region 5 Conference

Congratulations are in order for a number of Central Texas Section members who were recognized at the 2008 Region 5 Technical, Professional and Student Conference held over the weekend of April 18 in Kansas City, MO. Honors included-

  • Ernest Franke -- Individual Achievement Award
  • Steve Crowl -- Individual Achievement Award
  • Joe Redfield -- Outstanding Member (within Region 5)

We can all be proud to have been honored as the Outstanding Large Section.

Photos and descriptions of the awards will be posted on the Section website awards page .

Back to TOP

Continuing Education

IEEE Joins Consortium to Provide Free Access to Physics Articles

The IEEE is collaborating with a consortium of high-energy-physics organizations and their libraries to offer free online access to physics literature that's usually available only by subscription. Read on at

IEEE Expert Now Courses

Four new IEEE Expert Now courses dealing with soft or technical skills are available.

Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School, Part 2: Communicating Effectively and Part 3: Management Skills By Carl Selinger Based on Selinger's 2004 book, these courses deal with nontechnical soft skills needed to succeed, such as giving speeches, setting priorities, and handling stress.

Biometrics: Solutions for Security and Authentication By Kostas Plataniotis Discusses face, gait, and electrocardiogram- based biometrics and how such measurements of physical characteristics are being used to pick a person out of a crowd.

Space-Time Adaptive Processing for Radar By Michael Picciolo and Scott Goldstein Focuses on state-of-the-art techniques for overcoming the limitations of the processing, which helps radar systems detect targets in clutter.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on these and other Expert Now courses, visit

Back to TOP

Student Branches

St Mary's University- San Antonio (
Faculty Adviser: Djaffer Ibaroudene, Email:
Branch President: Damon Cardenas (email:

Trinity University - San Antonio
Faculty Adviser: Farzan Aminian, email:
Branch President: Jonathan Simpkins, email:

University of Texas at Austin (
Faculty Adviser: Sriram Vishwanath, email:
Branch chair: William Ward, email:

University of Texas at San Antonio (
Faculty Adviser: Yufang Jin, email:
Branch chair: John Collins,

Student Member News

Trinity CS Student paper places first at Region 5 Conference

Three Trinity Computer Science Students, Michael Pellon, Phillip Coleman and Jason Leezer, won first place of the Student Paper Competition on the IEEE Region 5 Conference at Kansas City on April 18, 2008. This paper is based on their research on simulating social environments by multi-agent systems directed by Dr. Yu Zhang, an assistant professor of computer science at Trinity. Seven universities from five states entered this final competition, after winning their local competition and area competition in sequence. IEEE Computer Society Central Texas Section sponsored the three students to the competition.

IEEE Robotics Team Places 2nd in Regionals April 22, 2008

The UTSA IEEE Robotics Team traveled to Kansas City, Missouri to compete in the IEEE Region 5 competition where teams were charged with designing an autonomous robot capable of following lines, detecting weight and color, and placing bins of differing weights in different locations based on color. [From UTSA's Press Release]

Trinity University Student Earns Recognition as Goldwater Scholar

Coming from a military family, Trinity University junior Jonathon "Jon" Simpkins grew up hearing about war casualties. As an engineering science major at Trinity, he developed an interest in combining mathematics with technology so that robots could perform non-combat duties, thus freeing up soldiers for other duties and possibly avoiding the loss of human life. His research proposal has earned him a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the 2008-2009 academic year. [From Trinity's Press Release ]

Jon is also the Branch President of Trinity's IEEE Student Branch.

Congratulations to Graduates!

Congratulations to all the graduates this semester. Keep in touch with IEEE by updating your contact information so we can hear about your marvelous successes.

Louisiana Tech Wins IEEE-USA Student Video Contest

IEEE student members at Louisiana Tech University, in Ruston, took first place in a new video contest sponsored by IEEE-USA. The contest challenged student members to create a video to be posted on YouTube aimed at youngsters ages 11 to 13--that would show that engineering is exciting and beneficial. Read on at

Back to TOP

Calls for Volunteers

IEEE Region 5 Secretary Needed

Ken Pigg was offered and has accepted a position in his primary field of interest and will be moving to North Carolina in the near future. Donald Preston has agreed to accept the position of IEEE Region 5 Treasurer and is working with Ken Pig to transfer the financial records. Don is a past IEEE Region 5 Treasurer and has served as treasurer for many IEEE Technical Conferences.

IEEE Region 5 is in need of a replacement Secretary. Please conact any section officer if you have interest in the position.

David J. Pierce
2008/09 IEEE Region 5 Director

IEEE Mentoring Connection

The IEEE Mentoring Connection is looking for "online" mentors to help guide younger IEEE professionals in career planning and professional development. Currently, 989 mentees, but only 440 mentors have registered to participate. Mentor participation is open to all IEEE members above the grade of Student Member. Shortly, we will be inviting Graduate Student Members to join the program. These members have graduated with their first professional degree and are presently in a graduate program (Masters, MBA, PhD, etc.). We will need additional mentors in the program to handle the requests from this new group. We need you! Presently our mentors represent positions in academia including Associate Dean and Professor. Various Industry positions are represented by Director of Engineering, Senior Sales Engineer, Project Manager, Corporate Owner, Consultant, R&D Technical Manager, Licensing Manager, Division Manager - Control Systems, Electrical Engineer, Vice President Research, Director - Customer Operations, Computer Scientist - Branch Chief, Senior Product Development Engineer, Design Engineer - Power and Retired.

If you have received an invitation to join the program and been thinking about it, now is the time to join. If you have already signed in as a mentor - thank you for participating. Gary Hinkle, a mentor in the program, says "Helping young engineers develop in their careers is very rewarding. Working with some of these individuals has proven to be quite a challenge, because of the diversity among those seeking mentors. I'm glad to be contributing to this program."

The program enables the mentee to select their mentoring partner online from a list of individuals who have volunteered to serve as mentors. After mentors are identified as a potential match, they are contacted and asked to begin establishing a relationship.

Interested members can visit for information on the roles and responsibilities of each mentoring partner, including additional program information and an FAQ page. Potential mentors are asked to review the time and effort commitment to the program necessary to ensure a successful mentoring partnership. To enter the program website, please go to and use the IEEE Group ID "IEEE2006" to enter for the first time. Once in, you will need to set your own User ID and Password.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Downer, Regional Activities, at

Back to TOP

2. Chapter Activities

Multiple Chapters

Back to TOP

Joint Circuits and Systems/Solid-State Circuits

The Central Texas SSC/CAS joint chapter is sponsoring following event:

Austin Conference on Integrated Circuits and Systems -- May 7th - May 9th

The main website is . You can find a detailed program at .

Conference fee is $150 for IEEE members including meals, embedded tutorials, and two prominant Keynote speakers.

The joint Circuits & Systems/Solid State Circuits Societies meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. This meeting is open to the public and interested parties. Additional details will be posted at If you have any questions about this meeting or this group, please contact or

Back to TOP

Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology

Notes Next meeting of this chapter will be held in June 2008

Chair: Om P Mandhana, Freescale

Back to TOP

Computer Society - Austin

Back to TOP

Computer Society - San Antonio

The San Antonio Computer Society will be on summer break until our September 2008 meeting

Back to TOP

Consultants Network

Topic/Title Disaster Relief - Plan before it happens.
Speaker John R Purvis III, PE, Sr. IT Specialist, Mid-Tier Unix Server Support, and BNSF Security Focal - IBM Global Technology Services, Strategic Outsourcing
Date/Time Thursday, May 8, 2008.
(Regular meeting is on 2nd Thursday)
Networking at 6:00 pm, Business and program from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Cost $5.00 minimum charge for the restaurant. Supper is at optional extra cost.
Reservations Not required. All interested parties are invited to attend.
Location China Star Restaurant, 6134 Hwy 290 E, Austin TX. Westbound access road of 290E, just east of IH 35

Do a friend a favor. Bring your colleague to grow the Consultants Network attendance.

The Consultants web directory is to be found at

Do the Consultants Network a favor. Give a talk or get a speaker for one meeting this year. Email the bio and summary to the Chairman.

Back to TOP

Electromagnetic Compatibility Society

Topic/Title Demonstration of Tektronix's real time Spectrum Analyzer
Speaker Bill Byrom, Tektronix
Date/Time 6:30pm May 21
Reservations RSVP Mike Royer at
Location National Instruments/
Notes Food will be provided. See website for directions.

Back to TOP

Electron Devices Society

Topic/Title PCRAM
Speaker Dr. Rajesh Rao, Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, Texas
Date/Time Thursday May 22, 2008 6:00-7:30PM
Refreshments 6:00-6:30PM
Reservations RSVP to We need an accurate count to purchase refreshments.
Location SEMATECH Room F-C - Map at

See EDC web link for future meeting dates, past meeting presentations:

Back to TOP

Engineering in Medicine and Biology

Topic/Title Micromechanostimulation of wound healing: in vitro and in silicon 3D models of Vacuum Assisted Closure(R) Therapy
Speaker Robert Wilkes, B.S, M.S., KCI
Date/Time 6:30 pm, May 21, 2008
Agenda 6:30 - networking, 7:00 dinner, 8:00 Technical Presentation
Cost (dinner) $10 IEEE members, $15 non-members, students free!
Reservations Please email Royce Johnson ( ) so we have a head count for dinner. ** Different Contact **
Location Kinetic Concepts, R&D Conference Center VI, Room 502, 6203 Farinon Drive, San Antonio, TX 78249 ** Different Location ** We are the last building on your right as you are headed away from IH-10 on Farinon Drive. Enter at the center doors.
Meeting Synopsis Robert Wilkes is a senior engineer at Kinetic Concepts in the Global Research group. A UTSA Mechanical Engineering alumni (1985, 1994), his interest is in soft-tissue mechanotransduction and tissue regeneration. Mr. Wilkes will present his team's work to understand the biomechanics of VAC therapy at the wound-dressing interface. To understand this interface, he has assembled novel 3D tissue culture and computer models and provided much insight into the mechanism of action of this breakout wound-healing therapy.
Future Meetings Enjoy Summer Break. We meet back in Fall!

Back to TOP

Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD)

For more Information contact Jason Polendo

Back to TOP

Laser and Electro Optics Society

For more information, contact Ray Chen

Back to TOP

Life Members Affinity Group

Info for Life Members: A meeting is being planned for May. Details will be distributed via direct email. If a Life Member is not receiving email from our Chapter, please contact Scott Atkinson at .

For more information, contact Scott Atkinson

Back to TOP

Power Engineering Society - Austin

Back to TOP

Power Engineering Society - San Antonio

Topic/Title Coordination Issues Involving Standby Generators, Automatic Transfer Switches and UPS systems
Speaker Jim Bowen - Powell Electrical Systems, Inc
Date/Time Thursday, May 22 - 6:00 PM Social, 6:30 PM Dinner, 7:00 PM Program
Cost $10 members, $15 non-members, **FREE** for students (Cash only please, no checks or cards)
Reservations Please RSVP to John Brogan @ 210-353-3375 or
Location Grady's BBQ, 6510 San Pedro, San Antonio (210-806-8036)
Notes See website for more information.

As always you do not have to be an IEEE member to attend.

Back to TOP

Product Safety Engineering Society

Topic/Title Medical and Home Care
Speaker Daniece Carpender - Dell
Date/Time May 20, 2008, 6:30pm
Cost none
Reservations Call Dale Ritzen (512) 651-5338 for details and directions.
Location Dell, Parmer Campus, Parmer South Building 4, Victoria Conference Room.

Upcoming Meetings - Mark your calanders

June 17, 2008
Topic: "Batteries"
Speaker:Jim Seippel- Dell

We encourage you, others in your organization, or other interested parties to participate in our meetings. The PSES meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30, with the program starting at 7pm. For further information about the PSES, please contact Dale Ritzen at (512) 651-5338 or Gary Schrempp at

Back to TOP

Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society

Topic/Title Ready or not, here comes Digital TV
Speaker Arthur Smith, aka "Dr HD", Chief Engineer, KEYE-TV
Date/Time Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 6:30pm
Cost Free
Reservations RSVP to Steve Crowl
Location National Instruments Room 1S13 Building C 11500 N Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78759
Directions Yahoo Map
Abstract Lawmakers have mandated that all full-power television stations broadcast a digital signal and shut down their analog signal by next year. Hear the background, current status, and changes needed for this new era in broadcast television
Speaker Bio Arthur Smith is the chief engineer for Austin-based KEYE-TV, channel 42.

Back to TOP

Technology Management Council - Austin

Contact Leslie Martinich ( for more information about the Austin TMC.

Back to TOP

Technology Management Council - San Antonio

Contact Nils Smith ( for information about the San Antonio TMC.

Back to TOP

Women in Engineering

Women in Engineering has been an Affinity Group of the Central Texas Section since the Fall of 2002.

Back to TOP

3. News & Information

Did you know? - Central Texas Section/Chapter Calendar Available

Want to know what's going on in the Central Texas Section? In addition to the Analog and the Mid-Month reminders, there is a calendar of events on the CTS website - go take a look today, it's at


On 3 April 2008, two new public-access programs were released on as part of the specials programming.

"Nerd Girls" presents an impressive team of female engineering students, just one year away from landing top jobs. Working to break the stigmas and stereotypes of women in engineering, Tufts University's "Nerd Girls" has female engineers who have danced in the Nutcracker ballet, sang at the Apollo Theater, are award-winning pianists, and nationally ranked athletes. The engineering team task for the "Nerd Girls" is to build a solar car. This program documents this process and shows how successful these students are as they work together to design and construct an engineering system. The program showcases the young women's talents, diverse backgrounds and engineering skills. The official Nerd Girls site is at ; for more information contact " ".

"Energy Innovations"- Solar Goes Small profiles fascinating and innovative approaches to meeting humankind's growing energy needs. Cardiff, Wales is the unlikely home of arguably one of the most innovative solar projects in the world. A solar panel manufacturing plant that will be the first facility that makes renewable energy products using only renewable energy is being built in Cardiff. The manufactured solar panels will be for small, personal devices like cell phones and laptops. But the panel isn't just solar-their technology also generates power using indoor lighting and moonlight. The thin, flexible substrate has endless applications in small electronics, freeing everyday devices from the tyranny and limitations of the traditional battery. And, the group plans to target the "Third World" market, enabling millions of potential consumers to skip the traditional interface with the Grid and rely solely on an abundant and free source of energy. For more information go to .

For more information on programming, CONTACT Brian Pratz - IEEE Member and Geographic Activities - telephone +1 732 562 5507: ".

2007 Membership Growth Shows Mixed Picture

The IEEE saw a small increase in overall membership last year, while student membership dipped. Check out 2007 membership stats at

Five Questions for Inventor Dean Kamen

In Spectrum Video, we talk with the creator of the Segway motor transport about a range of engineering topics, from the design of the human body to teaching young people to appreciate the intricacies of technology. His view on the future of robots? "Interactive robotic capability will become part of the infrastructure." View now.

Super Soaker Inventor Unveils New Thermoelectric Generator

The man who gave children the biggest squirt gun in history now has his sights set on a new device that converts heat into electric current. He says the Johnson Thermoelectromechanical Energy Conversion System has the potential to be the best method ever of converting solar energy into a usable form. Read more at Spectrum Online.


The IEEE has launched an online member directory designed to encourage peer-to-peer networking within IEEE membership. memberNet is the first step in a series of next-generation capabilities that will encourage virtual collaborations between members with similar technical interests, regardless of geography. While the basic member profile in memberNet contains every member's name and membership grade, each member can indicate by check mark what additional information they would like to also have appear. These may include technical interests, local Section, or IEEE Society affiliation. The memberNet directory, and its opt-in management, is accessible from myIEEE, at . For more information about IEEE memberNet, visit


Second Annual Brain Party - Exclusively for Central Texas Engineers, featuring music by Patrice Pike.

All area engineers are invited to the second annual brain party, May 8, 2008, at The Domain, Building 5 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin. Register online at Registration is required - Admission free at door with business card.

The Brain Party is sponsored by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and IEEE, with help from Cirrus Logic, Freescal Semiconductors, QualComm, and Silicon Labs

Back to TOP

4. Local Conferences

5. Other Conferences

These conferences have been brought to our attention by section members

  • 2008 Workshop on Accelerated Stress Testing & Reliability - "Achieving Cradle to Grave Reliability using DFR and Accelerated Stress Testing" - will be held October 1 - 3, 2008 in Portland, OR

    Please visit our website at , and find out all of the important information for our 2008 conference. We are still soliciting presentations for the workshop (papers not required). Our conference is growing every year, and we hope to see you at the historic Benson Hotel in Portland in October.

Back to TOP