IEEE Central Texas Section


Volume 48-03 March 2004

A Newsletter of the Central Texas Section ( of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.
Published monthly (Deadline is the 25th day of the previous month),  Marian Stasney, Editor. Please respond to if you are interested in contributing to the Analog, the CTS website or have input/feedback for our teleconferencing efforts.

Quick Links

Section Activities Chapter Activities
The Chairman's Column Communications / Signal Processing Societies Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
The Next Section Meeting Computer Society Power Engineering Society
Other Important Events and Notes of Interest Consultant's Network Women in Engineering
Membership News Electromagnetic Compatibility Society Joint Solid-State Circuits / Circuits and Systems Societies
Email List Engineering Management Society Laser and ElectroOptics Society
Industry News Product Safety Society Student Branches

The Chairman's Column

Engineering Week Activities

The Section has been involved with Engineering Week activities in both the Austin and San Antonio locals again this year.  A few of us were able to attend the TSPE sponsored Eweek banquet here in Austin earlier this month.  It was a great opportunity to mix with other engineers in all fields, and an event that I hope more CTS members will participate in next year. 

We also continue our efforts with the Central Texas Eweek organization which has a number of activities throughout the year to educate K-12 students in the area to the various fields of engineering.  If you are interested in volunteering, go to the Central Texas Eweek Web site ( and register as a volunteer. Visits to schools in the central Texas area will continue all through the spring.

Outstanding Computer Society Austin Meeting

The Austin Computer Society Chapter had an outstanding meeting February 25, with close to 300 in attendance.  The occasion was a talk by the designer and implementer of C++, Bjarne Stroustrup.  It was the largest gathering at an IEEE event, outside of a conference, that any of us had experienced.  My congratulations, and thanks to CS-Austin Chair Steve Teleki who secured the speaker, and to Ravikumar Ramachandra who made the meeting arrangements for the talk to be held at IBM.  This is a great example of the excellent programming our various Chapters can provide!

As always

We continue to work to get you involved in your IEEE, and to provide the programming that you are wanting. If you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me (

John R Purvis, P.E.

Membership News:  Education and Employment

If you already do not know, MIT's OpenCourseWare at may be immensely useful for the self-learners. MIT's OpenCourseWare ( is a free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world.  OCW supports MIT's mission to advance knowledge and education, and serve the world in the 21st century. It is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.


-Is a publication of MIT course materials
-Does not require any registration
-Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
-Does not provide access to MIT faculty
-500 Courses Now Available

With the publication of 500 courses, MIT OCW offers educational materials from 33 academic disciplines and all five of MIT's schools.  See the entire course list at

Unemployment Rate for Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists Reaches All-Time High in 2003

      WASHINGTON (26 February 2004) - The unemployment rate for U.S. electrical and electronics engineers (EEs) averaged a record 6.2 percent in 2003, a two percent increase over the previous year, according to data compiled by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The previous high of 4.3 percent was set in 1994.  The 2003 rate is more than three times the level in 2001 (2.0 percent) and over four times the figure for 2000 (1.3). The average 2003 unemployment rate for all workers was 5.6 percent.
      While recent EE unemployment has risen, the number of employed EEs has fallen. BLS reported 386,000 employed EEs in the second quarter last year vs. 349,000 in the fourth quarter, a decline of 37,000.
      "The continuing high levels of engineering unemployment are not surprising considering the trend toward outsourcing of high-tech jobs overseas," IEEE-USA President John Steadman said. "This offshoring of high-paying jobs may look good on the bottom line of a quarterly financial
report, but it's certainly not good for the skilled technical professional who can't find a job."
      The 2003 jobless rate for computer scientists and systems analysts reached an all-time high of 5.2 percent, an increase of .2 percent over 2002 and four times as high as 1998's 1.3 percent. The rate also jumped .6 percent from the third to fourth quarters of 2003 to stand at 5.4 percent.
      The quarterly EE jobless rate fell from 6.7 percent to 4.5 percent in the final quarter. The number of employed EEs, however, remained steady at 349,000. The discrepancy could be explained by discouraged EEs no longer counting as officially unemployed because they either found work in another field, or just stopped looking. BLS reports that the number of unemployed EEs dropped from 25,000 to 16,000 from the third to fourth quarters.
      The quarterly unemployment rate for computer hardware engineers jumped dramatically from 6.9 to 9.0 percent, and averaged 7.0 for 2003. Computer software engineers saw their jobless rate fall slightly from 4.6 to 4.5 percent (5.2 for 2003); and computer programmers experienced a drop from 7.1 to 4.6 percent (6.4 for the year). The rate for aerospace engineers rose a percentage point to 5.0 percent, and finished at 4.8 percent for the year. Comparisons to previous years are difficult because BLS revamped its occupational classifications and reporting conventions after 2002.
      IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., created in 1973 to advance the public good, while promoting the careers and public-policy interests of the more than 225,000 electrical, electronics, computer and software engineers who are U.S. members of the IEEE. The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society. For more information, go to


AMD Austin has a posting for an electrical engineer 

The following is a description of the position.  Any one who has interest should reply to Sal Lara (


Responsible for all phases of facilities electrical engineering. Ensures that proper engineering support for all AMD facilities projects exists. Performs sustaining engineering activities in support of ongoing operations. Performs with minimal direction. Works with Facilities customers to complete defined projects.



1. Manages and implements all phases of new construction and renovation/upgrade projects including planning, design, construction and start-up. Prepares written project plans which may include budgets, staffing, schedules, procedures and other pertinent project information.

2.Conducts technical project reviews and prepares written comments, analyses and recommendations. 3. Troubleshoots problems with facility systems. Generates corrective action proposals and recommendations. Manages projects in support of the problems found. 4. Initiates and implements continuous improvement programs through the use of metrics and reporting systems. 5. Manages multiple projects. 6. Provides management with regular updates using established reporting formats. 7. Provides guidance and training to less experienced staff and others as required. 8. Provides standard operating procedures and specifications governing the operation and maintenance of facility systems and equipment. 9. Reviews and designs electrical distribution improvements. Designs electrical distributions for fab tool changes. Evaluates the electrical distribution system to insure that power quality and quantity is maintained within the defined system capabilities10. Performs other functions and duties as assigned.


1. Assures resolution of problems related to project budget, scheduling and contract administration. 2. Uses independent judgment to develop and  implement approved engineering solutions to solve complex electrical system problems. 3. Selects design firms, contractors and

equipment vendors as required to meet or complete assigned projects. 4. Works with other members of the Facilities organization and/or its customers to resolve problems.


BS/BA and 5+ years experience in electrical power distribution. MS/MA/MBA and 3+ years of electrical power distribution experience

Professional Engineering

There have been significant changes in requirements for Professional Engineer renewal. An engineer must acquire 15 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) in order to renew his license each year, one of which must be ethics related. You MUST have these credits when you renew your license in the year 2005. You can receive credit starting in September 2003. The TBPE is planning to change your renewal date to your birthday. Up to 15 PDH credits may be "rolled over" to the next year.

Attendance at technical meetings offered by Societies like ASME, TSPE, IEEE, AIAA, etc. can count for some of the PDHs. So can the time that you spend serving as an officer or committee member of one of these Societies. Other PDHs can come from attending technical presentations, seminars, and so on.

There are several ways to earn PDHs. Check the TBPE Web site for full details, but here is a summary of PDH sources:

UT Austin's FE Refresher Course (formerly known as EIT)

Spans four non-consecutive Saturdays: 2/28, 3/6, 3/27, and 4/3

The first step towards becoming a registered PE (Professional Engineer) begins with sitting for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE). For engineers interested in sitting for the FE Exam, The University of Texas at Austin offers a refresher course that is geared towards the morning session sections. Topics covered include:  test taking strategies, statics, mathematics, structure of matter, materials science, economics, electrical circuits, thermodynamics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, chemistry, and mechanics of materials. More information at

IEEE Job Site Receives Top Honors From Job Seekers Web Guide

The publishers of "Weddle's 2004 Job Seeker's Guide to Employment Web Sites" chose the IEEE Job Site as one of the top 30 out of an estimated total of 40 000 online recruitment sites. Learn why the site received this honor here.

IEEE Asks, Why Choose Engineering?

Two surveys, one sponsored by IEEE Educational Activities and the other by IEEE Spectrum and IEEE-USA, report similar reasons why engineers decide to enter the field, and that is because they like to find out how things work. Read about the rest of the surveys' results and also how you can participate in a continuing Educational Activities survey here.


Industry News

Broad Coalition of Energy Organizations Urges Restoration of Support for Research on Electric Transmission, Distribution to Improve Reliability, Prevent Future Blackouts

      WASHINGTON (19 February 2004) - The Administration and Congress should restore $26 million in funding for Department of Energy (DOE) base programs into research and development on electricity transmission and distribution in FY 2004, according to a coalition of energy organizations, industry leaders and experts coordinated by IEEE-USA.
       Further, in an open letter to Congress and the Administration, the group urged identifying grid-related research as a clear national priority, warranting research funding "commensurate with the importance of the task of revitalizing the nation's power grid."
      Despite growing recognition of the need for grid investment in the wake of August 2003's major American and Canadian blackout, final FY 2004 congressional budgetary actions resulted in an effective 33 percent cut in funding for DOE base research program related to the electric grid.
      "The August blackout was a clarion call to increase, not decrease, investment in infrastructure and R&D to modernize and upgrade the power grid," IEEE-USA President John Steadman said. "The nation's economy and national security depends on a reliable and affordable supply of electricity to consumers and industry."
      "Electricity reliability is critical to the nation's economy, security and sustenance of modern life," the coalition noted. Given the difficulties associated with expanding the grid using conventional approaches, it urged increased funding for "new technologies and control strategies that can increase the capacity of existing pathway." According to IEEE-USA, necessary investments to assure reliability and avoid future blackouts requires not only the construction of additional power lines and generating plants, but also innovation and the development of new technologies and control strategies to improve system reliability. The letter to Congress and the Administration is available at




Interactions Between Islanded Power Systems and Area Power Grids

When an area power grid goes down, hospitals, telecommunications sites and other critical facilities continue to function by generating electricity on site. One concern is how to integrate them with the broader electrical power system (EPS) and improve reliability for the customer.

>> More

IEEE Approves Test Standard for Wireless Metro-Area Networks 

The IEEE Standards Association has approved, IEEE 802.16(tm)/Conformance02, "Standard for Conformance to IEEE 802.16: Part 2: Test Suite Structure and Test Purposes (TSS&TP) for 10-66 GHz WirelessMAN-SC Air Interface." >> More

New IEEE Standard Adds Copper Cable Interface to 10 Gb/s Ethernet

The IEEE has approved a standard that adds a copper cable interface to 10 Gb/s Ethernet. Before approval of this standard, 1 Gb/s was the fastest available Ethernet rate over copper cabling. The new standard, IEEE 802.3ak™-2004, provides an economical way for Ethernet switches and server clusters located within 15 m of each other in equipment rooms and data centers to be interconnected at 10 Gb/s. The new standard complements the standards for 10 Gb/s Ethernet fiber optic cable interfaces approved in 2002.  >> More

Upcoming Section Meetings

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and The Central Texas Section, Joint Meeting

HOLIDAY INN, 3855 IH 35 North,San Antonio, 78219

LASERS: Dangers and Rewards

A Look at what is out there and what they  can do for us.


Laser bioeffects continue to increase in importance in medicine.  The hazards and dangers of Lasers and their light will be highlighted.  The broad spectrum of Lasers available and how they are used throughout the world and how to keep from being injured by these devices must be considered. A look at safety standards, covering all type of lasers, wavelengths, pulse-widths and spectrums is meaningful.   How these standards were developed and how they are kept current with the development of higher energies and shorter pulse-widths will be presented. 

We will discuss injury mechanisms to both the eyes and skin and how to prevent injury.  The interaction of Laser pulses with biological and non-biological materials will be discussed and the mechanisms, including ablation, Laser induced breakdown and plasma generation will be examined in detail.


Dr. Cain is a Researcher in laser bioeffects with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Brooks City-Base, TX.  He has published extensively on retinal effects in clinical journals, such as Arch. of Ophthalmology, Health Physics, and Lasers Surg. Med. He enjoys practicing engineering by doing military-related research in the biomedical engineering field and the breadth of things you can wind up doing. (He also redesigned the centrifuge drive mechanism at Brooks).

Date: March 18th, Social 6 PM, Dinner 6:30 PM, Meeting 7:15.

Location: Holiday Inn, 3855 IH 35 North, San Antonio, TX 78219.  (from Austin, IH 35 S. into San Antonio, Exit Binz Engleman #162, access W. a mile and a half)

Information / Reservations: David G. Kilpatrick, P.E., 210-6951406,, or Austin: John R. Purvis III, P.E., 512-823-7654,, before 3/13.

Other Important Events and Notes of Interest

New Fellow Category Targets Nominations from Industry
Members engaged in activities besides research and development now have an IEEE Fellow category created specifically for professionals in industry. Application Engineer/Practitioner will apply to nominees who work in such areas as process or production engineering, quality control, and systems integration. Read more...

If you know an IEEE colleague who has made outstanding contributions to the electrical and electronics engineering profession, consider nominating him or her for the position of IEEE Fellow. The deadline for nominations is 15 March.

March 10-12, 2004 - 2004 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems & Software (ISPASS)
IEEE Computer Society will sponsor the conference entitled "2004 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems & Software (ISPASS)" (Meeting #9780). This conference will be held on March 10-12, 2004 in Austin, TX.

For further information, please contact, IEEE Computer Society, Conference Services, 1730 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-1992, +1 202 371 1013, +1 202 728 0884 (Fax), or Conference Services Dept., at IEEE Operations Center at +1 732 562 3878.

April 2-4, 2004 - 2004 IEEE Region 5 Technical Conference
The 2004 IEEE Region 5 Technical Conference will be held in Oklahoma City, OK, April 2-4, 2004. Student and general IEEE members are invited to submit original and high-quality papers for presentation and publication in the 2004 Region 5 Technical Conference Record. The technical program will be organized around the following three engineering tracks:

April 16, 2004 - Foundations for Ethical Education in a Post-Enron Age
On April 16, 2004, the Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas at Austin will co-sponsor a conference entitled "Foundations for Ethical Education in a Post-Enron Age." The IEEE Society for the Social Implications of Technology will co-sponsor invited talks on engineering ethics, and the SSIT Spring Board of Governors meeting will be held in conjunction with the conference on April 17. For more information on the conference, including a call for papers, see

May 17-21 - Annual Meeting for Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). The Society of American Military Engineers and the San Antonio Post cordially invites you to the 2004 SAME National Education & Training Conference, May 17-21, in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Our Conference theme is "Engineering Fiesta", which not only provides for a broad range of interesting topics, but also fits well with the location - the Alamo City. Don’t miss this Fiesta of the many facets of professional engineering and the Festival of friends, old and new, who make this annual event professionally and personally rewarding!

August 27-28, 2004 - The Texas Symposium on Software Engineering (TSSE) Austin, Texas
TSSE is a new software engineering conference, providing a forum for managers, practitioners, researchers and educators to discuss the most recent trends, experiences and concerns in the field of software systems engineering. In order to accelerate community learning, this conference will focus on identifying and discussing successes, failures and lessons learned in software systems development. This will help crystallize the critical issues impacting software engineering professionals and their organizations for the next decade.

TSSE will be held at the UT Pickle Research Campus (Commons Building) in Northwest Austin, TX. For more information about the location vennue please see:

For more information about this conference as it becomes available, please check the UT ARISE web site later this year at:

September 20-23, 2004 - Autotestcon 2004
Autotestcon 2004 will be held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio. For information contact Masoud Rasti (, or check the Web site (

October 13-15, 2004 - 2004 IEEE Workshop on Signal Processing Systems
The 2004 IEEE Workshop on Signal Processing Systems (SiPS' 04) is an annual workshop that is co-sponsored by the Signal Processing Society and the Circuits and Systems Society. SiPS' 04 will be held in Austin, Texas on October 13-15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


      Co-sponsored by the IEEE Signal Processing Society and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society

The IEEE 2004 Workshop on Signal Processing Systems (SIPS'04) will be held in Austin, Texas, October 13-15, 2004. The theme for SIPS'04 is Systems-on-a-Chip for Wireless Networking. Next-generation wireless networks will be highly versatile and will cover a wide range of applications from high-throughput data applications to low-cost and low-power wireless sensor networks. They will have to handle a variety of channel and traffic conditions, and meet a wide range of spectral efficiency and range requirements. Such networks will require careful system optimization from the physical layer through the applications layer, coupled with efficient, scalable, and flexible VLSI implementations. Accordingly, SIPS'04 will emphasize topics such as innovative VLSI architectures for physical layers such as Ultra Wide-Band (UWB), OFDM, and CDMA, and their inter-networking, systems for wireless packet
communications, and system-level tradeoffs for power consumption, range, throughput, and spectral efficiency. SIPS'04 will focus on topics at the convergence of signal processing theory, VLSI architectures, communication networks, and integrated circuit implementation of wireless networks. The workshop will feature a keynote talk, invited talks by Prof. Robert Brodersen (UC Berkeley) and Prof. Teresa Meng (Stanford University), and an evening panel session. Prospective authors are invited to submit manuscripts on topics including but not limited to:
o Programmable and reconfigurable DSP architectures
o Application-specific integrated circuits and architectures
o Architectures for physical layer communications using UWB, OFDM, CDMA
o Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) architectures
o Software defined radio
o Cross layer optimization
o Terminal and infrastructure design for data-centric WANs and LANs
o VLSI systems for wireless sensor networks and RF identification systems
o Low-power signal processing circuits and architectures
o Industrial applications of signal processing and case studies
o Emerging areas: bio and nanotechnologies in signal processing
o Design methodologies and tools for VLSI/DSP
o Switching and routing technologies
Paper submissions are limited to 10-page, single-column, 12 pt manuscripts. Over-length papers will not be reviewed.
Important Deadlines
Paper Submissions                 April 30, 2004
Notification of Acceptance        June 30, 2004
Camera Ready Paper                July 30, 2004
Advanced Registration Deadline    August 15, 2004

General Chair:               Wanda Gass, Texas Instruments,
Technical Program Co-Chairs: Brian L. Evans, UT Austin,
                             Sundararajan Sriram, Texas Inst.,

October 20-22, 2004 - 2004 WNCG Wireless Networking Symposium
The WNCG Wireless Networking Symposium will be help October 20-22 in Austin.

October 24-29, 2004 - 2004 IEEE Information Theory Workshop
The IEEE Information Theory Society will sponsor the conference entitled "2004 IEEE Information Theory Workshop (ITW) (#9676)". This conference will be held October 24-29, 2004 in San Antonio, Texas.

For further information, please contact, Ms. Sonny C. Matous, Texas A&M University, Electrical Engineering Dept., Room 237 WERC, College Station, TX 77843 3128, +1 979 862 8657, +1 979 862 4630 (Fax), or Conference Services Dept., at IEEE Operations Center at +1 732 562 3878.

May 8-10, 2005 - IEEE Rural Electric Power Conference
The IEEE Industry Applications Society will sponsor the conference entitled "2005 IEEE Rural Electric Power Conference". The conference will be held May 8-10, 2005 in San Antonio.

Central Texas Section Society and Affinity Group Chapter Activities