IEEE Central Texas Section

THE CROSSTALK

Volume 54-04

April 2010

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


Published monthly. Deadline for inclusion is the 27th day of the previous month. Send submissions, comments, questions to Dennis Ferguson, Editor, dferguson@ieee.org


CONTENTS

1. Section Activities

Chairman's Column

Membership Development

San Antonio Vice-Chair's Column

Section & Chapter News

Continuing Education

Student Branches

Calls for Volunteers


2. Chapter Activities

Multiple Chapters

Antennas & Propagation/Microwave Theory and Techniques

Joint Circuits and Systems/Solid-State Circuits

Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology

Computer Society - Austin

Computer Society - San Antonio

Consultants Network

Electromagnetic Compatibility Society

Electron Devices Society

Engineering in Medicine and Biology

Graduates of the Last Decade

Laser and Electro Optics Society

Life Members Affinity Group

Power Engineering Society - Austin

Power Engineering Society - San Antonio

Product Safety Engineering Society

Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society - Austin

Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society - San Antonio

Technology Management Council - Austin

Technology Management Council - San Antonio

Women in Engineering


3. News & Information

The Science of Leprechauns

Salaries for CS and Engineering Grads to Rise

Obama's Endangered Carbon Trump Card

Podcast: The Need for Electrical Engineers

Scientists Solve Mystery of Superinsulators

Humanitarian Technology Challenge Launches Student Design Competition


4. Local Conferences

5. Other Conferences


IEEE EXTERNAL LINKS

IEEE

IEEE-USA

IEEE Region 5

IEEE Central Texas Section

Call for Papers

IEEEXplore - full text access to IEEE Publications

What's New at IEEE

SocietyNews from IEEE

IEEE Standards Association

The Spectrum Online -The Magazine for Technology Insiders


1. Section Activities


Chairman's Column


2010 OBJECTIVE: AT LEAST THREE NEW SOCIETY CHAPTERS

One of the ways the Central Texas Section of IEEE serves its members is by encouraging the formation of chapters of the IEEE technical societies. We do this more than most IEEE sections because our section is larger than most, with about 4500 members. Those members have about 3400 society memberships in the 37 IEEE technical societies. The members of the section who are not members of societies are still practicing in one or more of the fields covered by the societies, and would be well served by having society chapters to provide them technical programs.

In addition to the 18 chapters already in the section, there are another 7 societies that have a large enough member concentration in the section that a chapter should be viable. Those societies are:

  • Industry Applications Society
  • Vehicular Technology Society
  • Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society
  • Instrumentation and Measurement Society
  • Computational Intelligence Society
  • Robotics and Automation Society
  • Power Electronics Society

Our objective for 2010 is to start three chapters out of that group of societies. Anyone who is a member of one of those societies and is interested in helping start a chapter should contact me.

Tom Grim
Chairman, Central Texas Section
t.grim@ieee.org

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Membership Development


New to the IEEE?

The IEEE has developed a website, http://www.ieee.org/start, specifically to support new IEEE members in navigating though the IEEE. Along with the information on the site, IEEE has created a new member orientation the 3rd Thursday of each month at 9:00 AM EDT and 3:00 PM EDT.

If you are a new member to IEEE or just want to refresh yourself on what the IEEE offers to its members, check out the site and the orientation.

Not an IEEE member and have been waiting to join?

Join now with year dues! Join IEEE and receive 10 months of membership for the price of six. If you have been away from IEEE for more than a year, you can re-join for half price!

Did you know about IEEE - IEEE.TV

IEEE.TV 2.0 is now available! The IEEE provides an internet-based television network where IEEE member generated special-interest programming about technology and engineering is provided. There are public programs available and an extensive set of members' only programs. Check the most viewed programs at http://www.ieee.tv.

Joe Redfield
CTS Membership Development Chair
J.Redfield@ieee.org
210-522-3729

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Section & Chapter News

Talk by Dr. George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences at UTSA

The San Antonio Council for the Cooperation of Engineering and Scientific Societies (SACCESS) would like to invite you to join us for a talk by Dr. George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences at UTSA. Dr. Perry, one of the world's top researchers in Alzheimer's Disease, will present some of his latest results in how this disease develops and its physiological consequences. He will also provide us with an update on UTSA's progress towards becoming a Tier I University.

The talk will be given in the foyer of the Biotechnology Sciences and Engineering (BSE) Building at UTSA's 1604 campus. Free parking is available in Lot 8 in any unmarked space. The BSE building and Lot 8 are identified in the attached parking map. Any handicapped attendees, who have the proper tag or plate on their vehicle, can park in the Pay spaces at the front of Lot 8 and they will not be charged.

The event will be held from 6-8 pm, the evening of Tuesday, April 6. Dr. Perry's presentation will start at 6:30 pm. Complimentary sandwiches and drinks will be provided. No RSVPs are necessary, we only ask that everyone sign-in at the event with their name(s) and society affiliation(s). Any questions or special requests should be directed to Brian Campion.

Fourth Annual Brain Party

A one-of-a-kind celebration for Central Texas Section engineers, the Brain Party is in its fourth year with co-hosts, the Austin Chamber of Commerce and IEEE. Featuring great food and live entertainment, all Central Texas Engineers and IEEE members are invited to attend this festive event on May 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hilton Austin Downtown. To register, just submit your name, email address, company and IEEE membership status to vsegna@austinchamber.com. Admission at the door with business card or student ID. For more information visit http://www.AustinHumanCapital.com/BrainParty. Watch your Email for additional details.

Discover Engineering

Discover Engineering is a Central Texas program that coordinates classroom visits from local engineering volunteers. The mission of Discover Engineering is to excite K-12 students to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering through hands-on engineering activities and collaborative, volunteer-driven initiatives of the engineering and education communities.

During the 2008-2009 school year, Discover Engineering volunteers visited over 13,000 students from more that 80 schools in the greater Austin area. Over 800 volunteers from more than 50 area companies, government organizations and professional societies participated in these visits.

Registration for volunteers and teachers for the 2009-2010 school year is now open on the Discover Engineering web site (http://www.centexeweek.org). Teachers can sign up for a single classroom visit, an entire grade level, or an entire school. Individuals, Teams or entire companies can sign up as volunteers.

Please take a few minutes to look at our web site, then sign up as a volunteer. And don't hesitate to pass this information on to any others you think would be interested.

John Purvis
Discover Engineering Steering Committee


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Continuing Education

The Engineering Leadership Institute begins its 2009-2010 year with a one-week intensive bootcamp, training engineering managers to:

  • Create collaborative relationships across your organization
  • Gain support for your ideas and projects
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Learn how to build high performance teams
  • Improve your outcomes through practical negotiation skills
  • Manage risk
  • Acquire tools for strategic planning

This program also includes quarterly follow on workshops, geared to the participant's needs. Certification from the Engineering Leadership Institute is available. Register now at http://lifelong.engr.utexas.edu/management/index.cfm.

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Student Branches

St Mary's University - San Antonio (http://engineering.stmarytx.edu/ieee/)
Faculty Adviser: Djaffer Ibaroudene, email: dibaroudene@stmarytx.edu
Branch Chair: Richard Ledesma, email: rledesma@mail.stmarytx.edu


Texas State University - San Marcos (new branch, 2009)
Faculty Adviser: Larry Larson, email: Larry.Larson@TXState.edu
Branch Chair: Jesse Clark, email: JC1831@TXState.edu


Trinity University - San Antonio
Faculty Adviser: Farzan Aminian, email: Farzan.Aminian@Trinity.edu
Branch Chair: Peter Garatoni, email: pgaraton@trinity.edu


University of Texas at Austin (http://ieee.ece.utexas.edu/)
Faculty Adviser: Sriram Vishwanath, email: sriram@ece.utexas.edu
Branch Chair: Erik Eyberg, email: chair@ieee.ece.utexas.edu


University of Texas at San Antonio (http:/www.utsaieee.org/)
Faculty Adviser: Yufang Jin, email: Yufang.Jin@utsa.edu
Branch Chair: Kevin Messenhimer, email: kmessen@gmail.com


Student Member News


6th Annual Student Night

Topic/Title

6th annual Student Night - come hear what local students are up to!

Speaker

Students from Trinity, UTSA, UIW, ST. Mary's, UT-Austin, and Texas State

Date/Time

Tuesday, 27 April 2010 - 6:30-9:00pm

Location

Trinity University, Moody Engineering Building, Room 322 (see website for directions and parking details).
GPS Users navigate to "199 Oakmont Court 78212" and turn left.

Cost

None

Reservations

Not required. It would be nice to drop a note to Yu Zhang so we can be sure to have enough food, or call (210) 999-7399.

NotesSee http://www.ieee-cs-cts.org for directions and parking information. This meeting is open to the public.

Humanitarian Technology Challenge Launches Student Design Competition

IEEE is sponsoring a Regional Student Design Competition for solutions to one of three humanitarian problems as part of the joint IEEE-United Nations Foundation Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC). The competition runs from Oct. 2009 to May 2010.

HTC is a partnership among humanitarians, technologists, funders, and others, to develop implementable technological solutions to some key challenges facing humanitarian health and disaster workers today. The participants volunteer their time to collaborate for the benefit of humanity.

The Regional Student Design Competition challenges students to provide a working prototype, scale model or detailed engineering design specifications for a project that satisfies one of the three Challenges. The project can be developed by student individuals or by student teams. Teams must be led by an IEEE student member.

More information about the HTC project, and detailed descriptions of the challenges, can be found at http://www.ieeehtc.org. Rules for the Regional Student Design Competition can be found at http://www.ieeehtc.org/index.php/htc/students/challenge.

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Calls for Volunteers


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2. Chapter Activities


Multiple Chapter Events

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Antennas & Propagation/Microwave Theory and Techniques
http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/ap_mtt/

No Antennas & Propagation/Microwave Theory And Techniques Society meetings are scheduled for April.

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Joint Circuits and Systems/Solid-State Circuits
http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/ssc_css/

Topic/Title

ISSCC 2009 Short Course "Low-Voltage Sigma-Delta A/D Converters" (Recorded)

Speaker

Lucien Breems received his MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, in 1996 and 2001, respectively. In 2000, he joined the Mixed-Signal Circuits and Systems Department of Philips Research, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Since 2007, he has been with NXP Semiconductors where he leads a research group working on Sigma-Delta A/D converters. He is the author of the book "Continuous-Time Sigma-Delta Modulation for A/D Conversion in Radio Receivers" (Boston, MA: Kluwer, 2001) and his research interests include Sigma-Delta modulators and mixed-signal circuit design. Note: This is a recorded course. Instructor will not be in the classroom.

Abstract

The demand for higher resolution and larger bandwidth Sigma-Delta (DS) A/D converters is being driven by applications such as modern multi-standard communications receivers, high-precision audio, and future software-defined and multi-channel radios. New technology nodes, although offering speed advantages, have lower supply voltages and degraded transistor characteristics. This makes the design of low-voltage high resolution DS A/D converters very challenging. Lucien Breems will present an overview of the DS playground including continuous-time and switched-capacitor DS converters and show architectural and circuit innovations for high-resolution and large-bandwidth DS ADC designs in low-voltage nanometer technologies.

Date/Time

Tuesday, 13 April 2010, 6:30-8:00pm

Cost

none

Reservations

not required

Location

UT Campus - ENS 306

Notes

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

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Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology (CPMT) - Austin
http://cpmtaustinchapter.org/

No Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology meetings are scheduled for April.

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Computer Society - Austin
http://www.ieee.org/austin_cs/

Topic/title

Test Reporting for Impact

Speaker

Rex Black, President, RBCS

With a quarter-century of software and systems engineering experience, Rex Black is President of RBCS (www.rbcs-us.com), a leader in software, hardware, and systems testing. For over fifteen years, RBCS has delivered services in consulting, outsourcing and training for software and hardware testing. Employing the industry's most experienced and recognized consultants, RBCS conducts product testing, builds and improves testing groups and hires testing staff for hundreds of clients worldwide. Ranging from Fortune 20 companies to start-ups, RBCS clients save time and money through improved product development, decreased tech support calls, improved corporate reputation and more. As the leader of RBCS, Rex is the most prolific author practicing in the field of software testing today. His popular first book, Managing the Testing Process, has sold over 35,000 copies around the world, including Japanese, Chinese, and Indian releases, and is now in its third edition. His five other books on testing, Advanced Software Testing: Volume I, Advanced Software Testing: Volume II, Critical Testing Processes, Foundations of Software Testing, and Pragmatic Software Testing, have also sold tens of thousands of copies, including Hebrew, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian editions. He has written over thirty articles, presented hundreds of papers, workshops, and seminars, and given about fifty keynotes and other speeches at conferences and events around the world. Rex is the immediate past President of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board and a Director of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board.Some of his personal projects include Embedded Systems, Knowledge Management, Augmented Reality, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems. See his blog for more interests and current activities.

Abstract

Testing is about producing information, and effective testing is about communicating that information to the various test stakeholders in a way that makes an impact on their thinking, their understanding, and their choices for how the project moves forward. Testers, test leads, and test managers frequently have to report on test status and on test analysis, answering questions including:

  • How many bugs have we found and how many have we fixed?
  • Is the testing going according to plan?
  • Have we covered what we should?
  • What do the results tell us about system performance, security, functionality, etc.?
  • What is going on "behind the scenes" that causes the observed results?

In this talk, Rex Black will give examples of test status and analysis graphs and charts that have helped him achieve test reporting for impact.

Date/time

8 April 2010

6:30 p.m. Networking and Gathering
7:00 p.m. Call to Order, Announcements
7:15 p.m. Presentation, with Q/A
8:45 p.m. Door Prize, Meeting Evaluation, Adjourn

Location

Microsoft Technology Center: Austin
Stonebridge Plaza--Building One
9606 North Mopac, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

Cost

Membership in the Austin SPIN is free and open to all. Come with a friend!

Reservations

none

Notes

Tonight's door prize: your selection from these items:

  1. Several Xbox360 games
  2. Fully functional Windows 7 and Office 2007
  3. Books from Microsoft Press
  4. Plus, a business card drawing for two of the speaker's books

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Computer Society - San Antonio
http://www.ieee-cs-cts.org/

Topic/Title

6th Annual Student Night - come hear what local students are up to!

Speaker

Students from Trinity, UTSA, UIW, ST. Mary's, UT-Austin, and Texas State

Abstract

Date/Time

Tuesday, 27 April 2010 - 6:30-9:00pm

Location

Trinity University, Moody Engineering Building, Room 322 (see website for directions and parking details).
GPS Users navigate to "199 Oakmont Court 78212" and turn left.

Cost

None

Reservations

Not required. It would be nice to drop a note to Yu Zhang so we can be sure to have enough food, or call (210) 999-7399.

NotesSee http://www.ieee-cs-cts.org for directions and parking information. This meeting is open to the public.

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Central Texas Consultants Network
http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/cn

Topic/Title

Consultants Workshop - "Consulting Nuts & Bolts"

Speaker

Abstract

Based on prior feedback, the focus of this year's workshop will be "Consulting Nuts & Bolts," followed by an "Ask The Consultants" panel discussion. Both sessions will provide you with more insights into the working life of a consultant from our speaker's personal experiences and perspectives. Join us to learn from and network with established consultants and those who are interested in consulting.
Agenda:

  • 1:30 -2:00 Registration & Networking
  • 2:00 -2:05 Introduction - Kai Wong
  • 2:05 -2:55 "It's All About Relationships - Marketing for Consultants and Consulting Firms" Christine Lambden and Casey Conner
  • 2:55 -3:45 "Engineering Consulting Business - 20 Years Experience to Share" - Darrel Word
  • 3:45 -4:00 Break
  • 4:00 -4:50 "A Consulting Startup Journey" - Andrew Cahoon
  • 4:50 -5:20 "Business Analysis: Its Value and Application for Consultants" - Abdul Jabali
  • 5:20 -6:00 "Ask a Consultant Panel" (Moderator - Bob Baker): Conner, Lambden, Word, Cahoon, Jabali, and Ron Macklin

Location

Freescale Bldg-A Conference Center at 7700 W. Parmer Lane, Austin (See map per link) http://www.imaps.org/chapters/centraltexas/images/2006June_Maps.pdf

Date/Time

Friday 23 April 2010

Cost

$20/$30 IEEE members; $25/$35 Public; In Advance/At Door. Please pay at the event with cash or check to "IEEE-CTS." No Credit Cards please.

Reservations

Please RSVP to Bob Baker at: rjbakeratx@austin.rr.com. For more information, contact Ed Gordon ebg@ieee.org, or Kai Wong kaiwong@ieee.org.

Notes

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

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Electromagnetic Compatibility Society
http://ewh.ieee.org/soc/emcs/chapters/centraltexas/index.html

No Electromagnetic Compatibility Society meetings are scheduled for April.

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Electron Devices Society
http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/eds/

Topic/Title

Substrate Engineering for Performance, Power Saving and Scalability Advantages

Speaker

Bich-Yen Nguyen

Abstract

In the past 40 years, steady scaling transistor dimension and supply voltage for each new generation of CMOS technology by a factor of 0.7x smaller than those of the previous generation enables continuous improvements of integrated-circuit performance, power, density or cost/function, as demanded by mobile communication. However, transistor and power supply scaling has slowed down recently due to fundamental limits leading to increasing in power density, variability and process/design complexity. The classical scaling is no longer possible to follow Moore's law without innovation in materials, process, tool and device architecture. A transition to engineered substrate technology is essential, as exemplified by SOI and its more advanced adaptations. The advances in engineered substrates and some key applications are described.

Date/Time

Thursday 29 April 2010 from 6:00 - 7:30pm

Refreshments

Light refreshments are provided

Reservations

Please RSVP to Christian Catalan at Christian.Catalan@amd.com. We need an accurate count to purchase refreshments.

Location

Rio Grande Conference room at SVTC - Map at http://www.sematech.org/corporate/map.htm

Notes

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Engineering in Medicine and Biology
http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/embs/index.html

No Engineering in Medicine and Biology meetings are scheduled for April.

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Engineering Management
http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/ems

The Engineering Management Society has become the Technology Management Council. Information about meetings can be found in the sections for Technology Management Council - Austin and Technology Management Council - San Antonio

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Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD)

No Graduates of the Last Decade meetings are scheduled for April.

For more Information contact Jason Polendo jpolendo@ieee.org

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Laser and Electro Optics Society

No Laser and Electro Optics Society meetings are scheduled for April.

For more information, contact Ray Chen

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Life Members Affinity Group

Topic/Title

Vintage Electronic Equipment Exhibit

Speaker

The format will be informal and visitors can visit all the table top exhibits. Exhibitors will explain how the equipment was obtained and how they were personally involved in the use or design.

Abstract

Come and see Electrical Engineering history! Life Members who have unique instruments and pieces of equipment from decades past will exhibit and talk about their experiences. Ten members currently plan to bring exhibits and about twice as many are expected by May 1st. Items already on the list of exhibits include:

  • WWII and Vietnam era military electronics
  • Vacuum Tubes, Vacuum capacitors, Telegraph equipment
  • Standard cell, laboratory test equipment
  • Early electronic calculators
  • SWTP 6809 microcomputer, punch cards
  • 1930's era radios
  • Oscilloscopes and VTVMs from the 50's and 60's
  • Microcomputer magazines, 1930's ARRL manuals, electronic catalogs.

Space is available for more table-top exhibits. Do you have a piece of electrical history in your garage or attic? A test instrument that you used, a Dumont television set, a kit microcomputer, parts catalogs or magazines from the 60's, 50's, 40's or earlier? Anyone who would like to participate should contact Ernest Franke (e.franke@ieee.org) so exhibit space can be planned.

Date/Time

1 May 2010 at 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Location

The location is tentatively planned for an Engineering laboratory at Trinity University. Final details will be available soon.

Cost

$2.00 for cost of refreshments.

Reservations

Please indicate plans to attend. Please email to Bob Harris atboss@ieee.org or texaspi@texas.net or Ernest Franke at e.franke@ieee.org.

Notes

For additional info: Scott Atkinson, LSM, 481-4932, s.atkinson@ieee.org

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Power and Energy Society - Austin
http://www.ewh.ieee.org/soc/pes/centraltexas/austin

No Power and Energy Society - Austin meetings are scheduled for April.

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Power and Energy Society - San Antonio
http://ewh.ieee.org/soc/pes/centraltexas/sanantonio

No Power and Energy Society - San Antonio meetings are scheduled for April.

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Product Safety Engineering Society
http://www.ewh.ieee.org/soc/pses/

Topic/Title

Product Safety Testing Reduces the Risk of Shock, Fire, Explosions.

Speaker

David Lohbeck is Principal Safety Engineer at National Instruments in Austin, Texas.

Abstract

This fast paced presentation will explain basic safety principles and certification, and illustrate why key safety tests, such as dielectric withstand (hipot) and fault testing, are important.

Date/Time

Tuesday 20 April 2010 at 6:30 - 8:00pm

Cost

None

Reservations

No RSVP necessary

Location

Dell, Parmer Campus, 701 East Parmer Lane, Building S.4, Victoria Conference Room

Notes

Some videos will shock you (pun intended)! David Lohbeck brings 30 years of product safety design, testing and certification experience to this presentation. Don't miss this one!

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 6:30pm, with the program starting at 7:00pm. For further information about the PSES, please contact Dale Ritzen at (512) 651-5338.

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Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society - Austin
http://www.cts-comsoc-sp.org/

Topic/Title

Topics in Wireless Communication

Speaker

Prof. Ted Rappoport, UT Austin

Abstract

IEEE CTS ComSoc / SP Chapter presents an exclusive talk by Distinguished Speaker: Prof. T Rappoport of University of Texas, Austin.

Date/Time

Thursday, 14 April 2010 at 6:00-7:30 pm

Location

AT&T Labs - 9505 Arboretum Blvd, Austin, TX 78759

Cost

Admission is Free

Reservations

RSVP: sab@ieee.org

Notes

Check our website http://www.cts-comsoc-sp.org for details.

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Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society - San Antonio
http://www.cts-comsoc-sp.org/

No Joint Signal Processing/Communications Society - San Antonio meetings are scheduled for April.

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Technology Management Council - Austin
http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/ems

Topic/Title

Twitter Tutorial

Speaker

Allison Barker

Abstract

"New to "tweets" and "retweets"? Would like to know more how Twitter can help you personally and professionally?

The IEEE Technology Management Council (TMC) Austin invites you to join us for lunch and a hands-on talk from Twitter practitioner Allison Barker, Manager of Documentation, Training, and Support at nGenera, the producers of collaborative and social software for the enterprise. The tutorial will cover Twitter terminology and functionality, how to set up Twitter searches and create searchable, consumable Twitter posts ("tweets"). To actively participate bring your own laptop, setup a Twitter account and install Tweetdeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com/) before the meeting. Registration necessary. Seating is limited.

Date/Time

Wednesday 7 April 2010 from 11:30am - 1:00 pm

Location

Satay Restaurant http://www.satayusa.com/
3202 West Anderson Lane
Austin, Texas

Cost

Cost for luncheon: $12 for IEEE members, $14 for non-IEEE members

Reservations

RSVP online at http://meetings.vtools.ieee.org/meeting_view/list_meeting/1999, For questions, contact Leslie Martinich at lmartinich@ieee.org.

Notes

Contact Doug Russell for more information about the Austin TMC.

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Technology Management Council - San Antonio
http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/ems

No Technology Management Council - San Antonio meetings are scheduled for April.

Contact Nils Smith (nils.smith@ieee.org) for information about the San Antonio TMC.

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Women in Engineering
http://www.austin-wie.org/

Jointly held with the Technology Management Society - Austin (see above).

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3. News & Information

The Science of Leprechauns

The head of East Anglia University's climate research unit, Dr. Fil Jones, has indicated he will start a new research center devoted to the science of Leprechauns. Dr. Jones recently resigned as head of East Anglia's prestigious climate research center in the wake of the so-called Climategate. Dr. Jones is enthusiastic about his ability to catch Leprechauns, which have the potential to create gold from the unique optics associated with rainbows. The same technology used to bend light into gold is also used cloak Leprechauns movement, making them particulary difficult to catch, but also pointing to a potentially significant defense technology. Dr. Jones will seek funding from the European Union. Read more at Leprechauns.


Salaries for CS and Engineering Grads to Rise

Graduates with computer-related or engineering degrees can expect to see slightly higher starting salary offers. Read more at Salaries.


Obama's Endangered Carbon Trump Card

Three years ago, in a dramatic and portentous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could and possibly should regulate carbon as a pollutant. Subsequently, the head of the Bush Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency declined to declare carbon a dangerous pollutant, evidently contradicting findings of his own staff. The Obama EPA lost little time reversing that finding and has set about preparing carbon rules, to be issued soon. Meanwhile, the current administration’s hopes to get a strong cap-and-trade carbon bill through Congress have dimmed, as the president’s political position has steadily weakened, coal-state Democrats have rebelled, and presumed former allies like Sen. John McCain—cosponsor of an early cap-and-trade bill—have jumped ship. Under these straitened circumstances, EPA authority to regulate carbon unilaterally has seemed to be the administration’s trump card: If Congress refuses to enact an adequate carbon bill, well then, the administration can just regulate carbon directly.

Now, however, EPA’s regulation of carbon is being widely challenged, in part on the basis of disclosures about the East Anglia Climate Research Unit and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) procedures. Alabama, Virginia, and Texas are contesting or planning to contest EPA’s regulations, and so is a group of nongovernmental organizations comprising the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, and the Science and Environmental Policy Project. The CEI petition specifically cites a BBC interview with Phil Jones, the temporarily suspended head of the East Anglia CRU, in which Jones says that there has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15 years and that the rate of warming has not increased in the last 25 years, by comparison with earlier warming periods.

In the Virginia petition, the state’s attorney general complains that the EPA carbon finding would be a “staggering burden” on the state’s agriculture, manufacturing, and energy industry and “in truth the cost of living for every single Virginian.” Dismissing threats associated with climate change such as sea-level rise, droughts, and floods, the Texas attorney general said, with reference to climategate disclosures, that “a cadre of activist scientists [have been] colluding and scheming to advance what they want science to be.”

As it happens, the Texas state climatologist has taken direct issue with the attorney general’s claims: Though natural concentrations of greenhouse gases are essential to life on earth, “it is also apparent that if atmospheric concentrations of the six greenhouse gases continue to rise due to human influence, the Earth would eventually reach a point where there would be massive disruptions of ecosystems, changes in sea level, decreases in air quality, and so forth,” said John Nielsen-Gammon, in a formal statement.

The mainstream climate science community and advocates of strong action on global warming have dismissed allegations arising from climategate as highly exaggerated, but there’s no denying that disclosures have given opponents of action a lot of ammunition. Could EPA be disqualified from regulating carbon directly, and could Obama lose his political trump card? Read more at Carbon.


Podcast: The Need for Electrical Engineers

Washington, D.C., and Detroit have something in common—not enough EEs. How can the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversee problems like the unintended acceleration that has forced the recall of millions of Toyota cars, when it has only two EEs and no software engineers? Maybe the U.S. government needs an IT overhaul. Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra announced this week a thoroughgoing review of all government IT projects. Read more at Engineers.


Scientists Solve Mystery of Superinsulators

In 2008 a team of physicists from Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois, and other institutions stumbled upon an odd phenomenon. They called it superinsulation, because in many ways it was the opposite of superconductivity. Now they’ve worked out the theory behind it, potentially opening the doors to better batteries, supersensitive sensors, and strange new circuits. Read more at: Insulators.


Humanitarian Technology Challenge Launches Student Design Competition

IEEE is sponsoring a Regional Student Design Competition for solutions to one of three humanitarian problems as part of the joint IEEE-United Nations Foundation Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC). The competition runs from Oct. 2009 to May 2010.


HTC is a partnership among humanitarians, technologists, funders, and others, to develop implementable technological solutions to some key challenges facing humanitarian health and disaster workers today. The participants volunteer their time to collaborate for the benefit of humanity.


Three challenges have been identified:

  1. Reliable Electricity: Availability of electric power for lighting and other electronic devices in resource-constrained environments. Important for education, communications, and economic development.

  2. Data Connectivity of Rural District Health Offices: Capability of exchanging data among remote field offices and central health facilities. Important for accessing treatment protocols, creating and monitoring health trends, and sharing results of treatments.

  3. Individual ID Tied to Health Records: Consistent availability of patient medical records. Important for ongoing treatment of patients, especially migrants and those with long-term diseases.

The Regional Student Design Competition challenges students to provide a working prototype, scale model or detailed engineering design specifications for a project that satisfies one of the three Challenges. The project can be developed by student individuals or by student teams. Teams must be led by an IEEE student member.


More information about the HTC project, and detailed descriptions of the challenges, can be found at http://www.ieeehtc.org. Rules for the Regional Student Design Competition can be found at http://www.ieeehtc.org/index.php/htc/students/challenge.

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4. Local Conferences

  • 2010 IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Technology Conference - I2MTC 2010 on 5 May 2010 at the Austin Hilton.

  • 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - ISIT on 12 June 2010 at the Austin Hilton. For more information see http://www.isit2010.org/.

  • 56th IEEE Pulp and Paper Industry Conference - PPIC on 20 September 2010 at San Antonio's Omni La Mansion Del Rio Hotel. For more information see http://www.ieee-pcic.org/Conferences/futureconf.html.

  • 16th International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design on 18 August 2010 in Austin. For more information see http://www.islped.org/.

  • 2010 Solar Technology Workshop on 17 September 2010 in Austin at Freescale Semiconductor. For more information see http://ewh.ieee.org/r5/central_texas/stw/.

  • IEEE Petroleum and Chemical Industry Technical Conference (PCIC 2010) on 20 September 2010 at the San Antonio Marriott River Center. For more information see http://www.ieee-pcic.org.

  • 2010 IEEE Bipolar/BiCMOS Circuits and Technology Meeting - BCTM on 4 October 2010 at the Austin Radisson Hotel & Suites. For more information see http://www.ieee-bctm.org/.

  • IEEE 19th Conference on Electrical Performance of Electronic Packaging and Systems (EPEPS) on 25 October 2010 at the Austin Crowne Plaza Hotel. For more information see http://www.epeps.org.

  • 2010 IEEE International Test Conference (ITC) on 31 October 2010 at Marriott Austin Downtown/Convention Center. For more information see http://www.itctestweek.org/.

  • IEEE Conference Search can be found at http://www.ieee.org/web/conferences/search/index.html.

  • See also http://www.wikicfp.com - A place to organize and share Calls for Papers.

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