IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Below, you can find IEEE’s mission and vision statements.
IEEE’s core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.
IEEE will be essential to the global technical community and to technical professionals everywhere, and be universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions.
IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.
History of IEEE
IEEE, an association dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for the benefit of humanity, is the world’s largest technical professional society. It is designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic, and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization.
IEEE’s roots go back to 1884 when electricity began to become a major influence in society. There was one major established electrical industry, the telegraph, which since the 1840s had come to connect the world with a data communications system faster than the speed of transportation. The telephone and electric power and light industries had just gotten underway.
Meaning of I-E-E-E
IEEE, pronounced “Eye-triple-E,” stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name and it is the full legal name.
However, as the world’s largest technical professional association, IEEE’s membership has long been composed of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals. These include computer scientists, software developers, information technology professionals, physicists, medical doctors, and many others in addition to IEEE’s electrical and electronics engineering core. For this reason the organization no longer goes by the full name, except on legal business documents, and is referred to simply as IEEE.
Foundation of the AIEE
In the spring of 1884, a small group of individuals in the electrical professions met in New York, USA. They formed a new organization to support professionals in their nascent field and to aid them in their efforts to apply innovation for the betterment of humanity—the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, or AIEE for short. That October, the AIEE held its first technical meeting in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Many early leaders, such as founding President Norvin Green of Western Union, came from telegraphy.
Others, such as Thomas Edison, came from power, while Alexander Graham Bell represented the telephone industry. Electric power spread rapidly, enhanced by innovations such as AC induction motors, long-distance AC transmission, and larger power plants. Companies such as AEG, General Electric, Siemens & Halske, and Westinghouse underwrote its commercialization. The AIEE became increasingly focused on electrical power and its ability to change people’s lives through the unprecedented products and services it could deliver. There was a secondary focus on wired communication, both the telegraph and the telephone. Through technical meetings, publications, and promotion of standards, the AIEE led the growth of the electrical engineering profession, while through local sections and student branches, it brought its benefits to engineers in widespread places.
Foundation of the IRE
A new industry arose, beginning with Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless telegraphy experiments in 1895-1896. What was originally called “wireless” telegraphy became radio with the electrical amplification possibilities inherent in the vacuum tubes that evolved from John Fleming’s diode and Lee de Forest’s triode. With the new industry came a new society in 1912, the Institute of Radio Engineers.
The IRE was modeled on the AIEE but was devoted to radio, and then broadly to electronics. It also furthered its profession by linking members through publications, standards, and conferences and encouraging them to organize local sections and meetings to exchange information and ideas.
The societies Converge and Merge
Through the help of leadership from the two societies, and with the applications of its members’ innovations to industry, electricity wove its way more deeply into every corner of life, through television, radar, transistors, and computers. Increasingly, the interests of the societies overlapped.
Membership in both societies grew, but beginning in the 1940s, the IRE grew faster and in 1957 became the larger group. On 1 January 1963, the AIEE and the IRE merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE. At its formation, IEEE had 150,000 members, 140,000 of whom resided in the United States.
Growth and globalization
Over the decades that followed, the social roles of the technologies under IEEE’s aegis continued to spread across the world and reach into more and more areas of people’s lives. The professional groups and technical boards of the predecessor institutions evolved into IEEE Societies. By the early 21st century, IEEE served its members and their interests with 39 Societies; 130 journals, transactions, and magazines; more than 300 conferences annually; and 900 active standards.
Since that time, computers evolved from massive mainframes to desktop appliances to portable devices, linked to global networks connected by copper wire, microwaves, satellites, or fiber optics. IEEE’s fields of interest expanded well beyond electrical and electronics engineering and computing into areas such as micro- and nanotechnologies, ultra sonics, bio engineering, robotics, electronic materials, and many others. Electronics became ubiquitous, integrated in everything from jet cockpits to industrial robots to medical imaging.
As technologies and the industries that developed them increasingly transcended national boundaries, IEEE has kept pace. It is now a global institution that uses the innovations of the practitioners it represents to enhance IEEE’s excellence in delivering products and services to members, industries, and the public at large. Publications and educational programs are delivered online, as are member services such as renewal and elections. By 2010, IEEE comprised over 395,000 members in 160 countries. Through its global network of geographical units, publications, web services, and conferences, IEEE remains the world’s largest technical professional association.
Organization of IEEE
IEEE has a dual complementary regional and technical structure with organizational units based on geography and technical focus. It manages a separate organizational unit (IEEE-USA) which recommends policies and implements programs specifically intended to benefit the members, the profession, and the public in the United States.
IEEE Code of Ethics
We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members, and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:
to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, to strive to comply with ethical design and sustainable development practices, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
to reject bribery in all its forms;
to improve the understanding by individuals and society of the capabilities and societal implications of conventional and emerging technologies, including intelligent systems;
to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;
to treat fairly all persons and to not engage in acts of discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;
to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.
Changes to the IEEE Code of Ethics will be made only after the following conditions are met:
Proposed changes shall have been published in THE INSTITUTE at least three (3) months in advance of final consideration by the Board of Directors, with a request for comment, and
All IEEE Major Boards shall have the opportunity to discuss proposed changes prior to final action by the Board of Directors, and
An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the votes of the members of the Board of Directors present at the time of the vote, provided a quorum is present, shall be required for changes to be made.