Author Archives: kramer@ieeeR6

“Future of UAVs in National Airspace” in San Diego October 13


The IEEE San Diego Consultants’ Network is noteworthy for being one of the most successful Consultants’ Networks and its active LinkedIn group “IEEE Consultants’ Network of San Diego” reflects that — it has over 300 members, more than the groups of all but the biggest IEEE sections.

On the technical front, IEEE-AESS has a key technical focus on UAVs so this talk was perfect for a joint event. No RSVP required for San Diego Consultants’ Network meetings — always the second Monday of the month.

This meeting on “The Future of UAVs in National Airspace” was by Barry R. P. Jackson. More information here:

DASC 33 in Colorado Springs Oct 5-9


The 33rd DASC – Digital Avionics Systems Conference was 33 for AIAA and IEEE-AESS, but a first for me. This conference provides a forum for the exchange of new knowledge in digital avionics among professionals and students in the fields of commercial, military, and general aviation and space applications. It serves the needs and professional interests of AIAA and IEEE members and promotes in a public environment their contributions and achievements in the arts, sciences and technology of aeronautics and astronautics. I am very pleased to be involved with this effort and will be part of the organization for DASC 34 in Prague in September 2015.

Young Professionals /Women In Engineering on October 7

Young-Professionals-Logo-RGB_FINALA Young Professionals and Women in Engineering event on October 7 at the IEEE Systems Men and Cybernetics Conference is now combined into an IEEE networking and professional development event that is open to San Diego members and students.

My contribution will be a professional development talk on “Lessons Navigating Your Own Success For Engineers Who Fail At Being Average” — thanks to section and STEP sponsorship, it’s free, but advance registration is required. Register here.

The IEEE Annual Election has begun

ieee election

From IEEE: “The 2014 IEEE Annual Election balloting site is now open.  All eligible voting members can access their ballot electronically by clicking the orange “Access Ballot” button on the election site “” and use their IEEE Account username and password to login.  All eligible voters will also soon be receiving a ballot package via first class postal mail. In the package they will find their paper ballot and a postage-paid reply envelope. The paper ballot will have instructions on how to access their ballot electronically if they should change their mind regarding the return method. Once logged in, the ballot has links to your candidate biographical information (i.e., photo, affiliation, biography, accomplishments/activities, statement and personal URL if provided).”  You can see more candidate information here: IEEE Annual ElectionRegion 6 Candidates (Western USA)


Election time – August 15 is coming up fast.


The nomination process began for me back in December, and I became an official nominee on February 1.  My esteemed colleague, Ramesh, and I officially started campaigning at the Region 6 area meetings throughout the spring, so now that we’re in August, it feels as if this election has been going on and on and on… Not so, though, because there are no ballots and no voting until August 15.

The official election material with candidate statements will only be released, I believe, on August 15. In the meantime, mine can be found via my website at Ballot Info on Candidate | Kathleen Kramer.

ABET Summer Meeting – Apply to be an IEEE Program Evaluator


Each July brings the ABET summer meeting — this year, as for many years, it was in Arlington, VA — next year it will be in Baltimore, MD. Having served as an IEEE program evaluator for several years, I was honored to join the Engineering Accreditation Commission this year at the summer meeting.

ABET used to stand for the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology, but it’s name is now really just ABET. ABET is not an organization of individuals, but an organization of societies and IEEE has a vital interest in its activities. IEEE provides evaluators for programs in IEEE-related disciplines of engineering (electrical, electronic, and computer, among others). While most of the ABET-accredited programs are engineering programs covered by the Engineering Accreditation Commission, there are also three other commissions: the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC), the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC), and the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) where IEEE members, depending upon their expertise and experience, may be selected to serve.

I would like to encourage interested senior members of IEEE to apply to serve as program evaluators. ABET – Volunteer! Become an ABET Program Evaluator   IEEE is particularly in need of volunteers from industry to help maintain the balance between industry and academic in its program evaluators. You can get more information from IEEE – Apply to Become a Program Evaluator.

Back from the International Symposium on INnovations in Intelligent SysTems and Applications (INISTA) – June 23-25


Although I firmly believe in the preeminence of Region 6, I left the region last week to participate in INISTA 2014 in Alberobello, Italy in the Puglia region of Italy.  I have been to many conferences, but this one provided some special experiences, not the least of which was that I was kept pretty busy.

Day 1:  Chaired the session on Industrial Applications.  The conference had an American presence, but its roots are in Turkey with last year’s conference being in Bulgaria (and next year’s in Madrid).  Their industrial applications were interesting, from intelligent methods to formulate yogurt to control oil drilling.

Day 2:  Member of the judges commission for the poster session for Puglia region projects related to a fascinating program Puglia Smart Lab | Open Living Labs featuring collaborative technology projects across healthcare, social services, culture, civil protection, and the environment.  The idea is to open up knowledge access and services for the benefit of the region in relatively small, short-term projects.  Judging was a quite a task as there were 24 posters and entries each gave a short presentation.

Day 3: Presented work I co-authored with Stephen Stubberud, “Threat Assessment for GPS Navigation”  which applied evidence accrual techniques including fuzzy Kalman filtering and image correlation techniques GPS security. It was well received.

Student success and transitions — it’s commencement time!


It’s the time of year when students, friends, family, and professors hear a lot of names after hearing “…all rights and privileges thereunto appertaining” which is our overly wordy way of telling students “you’ve graduated”.  I am particularly proud of the first graduating class of the new Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering at my own University of San Diego.  One of our grads is an IEEE student member (and veteran) featured here:   Class of 2014: Highlights of This Year’s Notable Graduates

Just before commencement, many of the new engineers were finishing their senior projects that were showcased at engineering schools across our region. The Innovation Showcase featured several of my own undergraduate students as they finished up their two semester senior design project.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”


vtoolsThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”(George Bernard Shaw)  Since nearly every core IEEE activity has communication as both its means and its end, this “single biggest problem” is one that directly impacts our members.

For IEEE sections, it’s all about the meeting.  We measure the success our sections, chapters, areas, and regions by meetings, by how many attendees there were at the meeting, and by what happened at the meeting.   Workshop, conference, congress, are just names we use to indicate that the meeting is important or special or big.  For section after section, chapter after chapter,  the three most important activities are meetings, meetings, and meetings.  Successful meetings, though, require more than a great speaker to lead the communication. Meetings also need communication before and after: announcements, attendee registration and tracking, and reporting.  vTools tackles these major needs of virtually all our meetings.

My own section has not been a big user of vTools, but I undertook to incorporate them into my meetings for four separate meetings held this year.  In January, I tried to host a local IEEE meeting where a colleague and I would provide a tutorial on Kalman filtering but the communication that this meeting was planned didn’t happen you can’t have a successful meeting if no one knows to show up.  That’s what happened back in January and why we did host a very successful tutorial, but it was held in February. We didn’t quite suffer from this “single biggest problem” because we knew communication had not taken place.  I was inspired from this failure on my vTools journey.  For this next meeting, I used vTools.meetings to create the meeting announcement and registration page and then used vTools.enotice to notify members.  Since it was my first experience with it, I didn’t use it to allow registrants to pay for the tutorial via vTools, telling them to bring a check, and I extended the notice to the 2000 additional people who are on the section list by working with my local section for a second email notice using that list (this would cause members to get two emails, by the way.)  but even that email used the vTools meeting announcement as a weblink so they could register.  This wasn’t just successful, we were a little too successful and registration filled up in less than 24 hours and we had to change to the largest room and still we turned away more than we could add.

After this success, I used vTools again on 3 more meetings, every time I didn’t just fill up, I became full and then started getting requests to increase capacity or just find room for more.  This is a great problem to have (although rather scary on the evening of the event).    Even my most recent meeting where the notice only went out on Monday for a Wednesday speaker, we had more attendees than chairs.

In the midst of this, I contacted John Prohodsky, vTools committee member for our region and found him to be a valuable resource.  He even agreed to attend our next section executive committee meeting  where I would be presenting on this and he would be with us, just on the line.  His expertise in what the tools can and cannot do and what improvements are planned and how soon was invaluable. The section leaders were passionate that meeting notices must go to the nearly 2000 interested parties who aren’t on the current member roster. The discussion was lengthy and brought the genuine concern our leaders have that everyone we think wants to know about  our meetings should be notified quickly and not limited to only society members for a chapter meeting  or only the paid-up IEEE members.  The coolest part was the enthusiasm those present had with finding solutions and a willingness to embrace change that started immediately to promote vTools as part of the process for our meetings.


R6 Southern Area: “The Future is on the S-Curve” – Los Angeles on May 3


I was honored to participate in my fifth Region 6 area meeting this year, led by R6 Southern Area Chair, Doug Askegard and hosted by UCLA.  At five area meetings, I have now completed the circuit of the Western USA Region.

I have to give this meeting the public relations nod, as they did an impressive press release IEEE Region 6 Southern Area Meeting Gathers IEEE Student … and had several good cameras in play taking photos.  May 3 was not even over before the story of our day were released in photos under the title “Happy Group

The keynote, given by futurist Nathalie Gosset, was a revelation to me.  She was able to demonstrate how she applies the S-Curve approach to identifying and targeting major trends in technology.  While her tips about where to target the curve were important, I was particularly taken with her ideas about the ubiquitousness of such trends and her confidence in our ability to learn to strategically identify these.

It was delightful to meet Judith Love Cohen and her artist/illustrator husband, David Katz.  Ms. Cohen,  successful aerospace engineer with BSEE  (’57) and MSEE (’62) from USC, was being awarded by IEEE-USA for her series of books You Could Be a Woman… that started with You Could Be a Woman Engineer and their successful efforts proselytizing engineering through a Girl Scout merit badge in Aero Engineering.

-Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect


“The Cloud Meets the Bluetooth Smart” – Standing room only on April 30


It wasn’t easy but we managed to arrange a truly last minute Distinguished Lecture engagement for Joe Decuir.  (Sincere thanks to several folks for their graciousness on Monday and Tuesday as we worked to plan a talk for Wednesday.)  The University of San Diego Student Branch stepped up and became co-sponsors as well.

I was aiming for 15 attendees, even though it’s a great topic, given the last minute notice and the meeting conflicts.  Having well over twice that number of members to find seats for was a great problem to have.

It was clearly a topic of great interest and impressive how many current developers were there to get the inside scoop from speaker Joe Decuir whose known both for his industry achievements and his leadership on the standards.  Thank you, Joe, for a valuable contribution.

On the IEEE-AESS side, there was a Linkedin post just this morning on how all this is relevant to AESS.  (I had thought we were staying a little far from core topics in the name of bringing a great talk in, but now I can say Consumer Electronics has met AESS here.

R6 Northwest Area: “We’re the ones that do the magic.” – Seattle on April 26


Last weekend brought me to Seattle.  The voice of the northwest area: students, students, students.  Most of the candidate questions focused on how to draw students in to the transition from student member to member and how to draw pre-college students into the pipeline.

There’s no lack of interest in students – and truly no lack of member volunteers willing to work with students. There have been hackathons and app competitions that have been very effective and shown tremendous new vitality.  Programs that successfully combine hardware and design — a necessary element for electrical and computer projects – have lagged, though, and gotten stale.  One of the IEEE leaders at the meeting explained it very well –” we’re the ones that do the magic.” Outreach activities have been a commendable focus of effort but the quantity and quality of electrical and computer related activities is an area that needs more development. Civil engineering outreach has the popsicle-stick bridges – no magic, but great for a 1-hour hands-on outreach experience, down to pre-middle-school. Anyone have a magic bridge bridge to share?

Two other topics from this meeting I am saving for later posts: electronic communication and a distinguished lecture on “The Cloud Meets the Bluetooth Smart”.

-Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect

IEEE-HKN Initiation on April 24


My IEEE involvement this week included an IEEE honor society initiation.  Most IEEE members don’t realize it, but Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society, is now IEEE-HKN.  The honor society, founded in 1904, officially became part of IEEE in 2011.  The vast majority of IEEE-HKN members join as undergraduates in electrical or computer engineering who are in the upper 1/4 of their junior class or upper 1/5 of their senior class.    A good way to recognize alumni and to strengthen ties with between students and the IEEE membership is for the chapter to induct these professionals into IEEE-HKN. There was no chapter at my own undergraduate institution, so I never had that opportunity back when I was a student.  I was inducted later as a professional and am proud to be part of this organization.

There are very few IEEE members of the section who cold-call the student branches looking for ways to give support (although I can note some esteemed exceptions) but my experience is that a high proportion of section members will say yes to opportunities to involve themselves and support the students.  One of my IEEE colleagues, Larry Hamerman, often points out that there are limits on everything EXCEPT how much the section can spend to support to students. IEEE-HKN can be a vehicle not just for recognition of good students but for recognition of members in a way that strengthens ties with the local section.

1 2 3