An organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), established in 1963 when the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) merged to create the IEEE. At the time of the merger, the AIEE’s Subcommittee on Large-Scale Computing (established 1946) merged with the IRE’s Technical Committee on Electronic Computers (established 1948) to create the IEEE Computer Group. The Group became the IEEE Computer Society in 1971.
Role in IEEE
In the hierarchy of IEEE, the Computer Society is one of close to 40 technical societies organized under the IEEE’s Technical Activities Board. However due to its size (close to 100,000 members and affiliates in 2004) and scope of activities, the Computer Society enjoys unusual status. It has two voting members on the 31-members IEEE’s Board of Directors; it is represented on the IEEE’s Executive Committee; and it runs many of its publications, conferences, and membership recruiting efforts with a somewhat greater degree of autonomy than other societies and organizational units within IEEE.
Vision and goals
The Computer Society declares itself “dedicated to advancing the theory, practice, and application of computer and information processing technology.” It strives “to be the leading provider of technical information and services to the world's computing professionals.”
With headquarters in Washington D.C. (and additional offices in California and Japan), the Computer Society oversees the publication of 14 periodical magazines (including “Computer,” the flagship publication of the Society) and 14 scholarly journals. The journals are mostly knowns as “Transactions,” (e.g., the IEEE Transactions on Computers). Two of these Transactions are published jointly with the Association for Computing Machinery. The Society organizes about 150 conferences every year, and operates close to 200 local chapters around the world. It coordinates the operation of about 50 technical committees (e.g., the Technical Committee on Bioinformatics), councils (e.g., the Software Engineering Council), and task forces (e.g., the Task Force on Information Assurance). The Society participates in educational activities (including distance learning) and in accreditation of higher education programs within its fields of interest (including Computer Science and Computer Engineering). It operates about a dozen working groups and committees on the development of industrial standards (e.g., the Storage Systems Standards Committee).
Relations with other professional associations
The IEEE Computer Society faces competition from professional associations in the general areas of Computer Science and Information Technology. Traditionally the Society was more successful in attracting individuals with engineering degrees (especially Electrical and Computer Engineering) than those with acadmic prepration in Computer Science or Information Technology. On the Computer Science side, the main organization outside the IEEE is the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). ACM has close to 80,000 members (2004) and it cooperates with the Computer Society in several joint publications and conferences. In the area of Information Technology, IEEE projects face competition from several commercial trade shows, as well as several popular publications, mostly on-line. Some of these publications are more focused on applications and commercial equipment than the more scholarly IEEE journals. The IEEE Computer Society also faces some internal competition from other societies within IEEE whose fields of interest intersect with those of the Computer Society.
Notable leaders of the IEEE Computer Society (and its predecessor IRE and AIEE committees) include Charles Concordia, W.H. MacWilliams, Morton Astrahan, Edward McCluskey, and Albert Hoagland.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Merlin G. Smith: "IEEE Computer Society: Four Decades of Service," Computer, Volume 24, No. 9, pp. 6-12, September 1991.
- Web site: http://www.computer.org/
- An Interview with Charles Concordia (http://www.ieee.org/organizations/history_center/oral_histories/transcripts/concordia.html)