History of the IEEE
The IEEE formed in 1963 with the merger of
AIEE (American Institute of Electrical Engineers, formed in 1884), and
» the IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers, formed in 1912).
From its earliest origins, the IEEE has
advanced the theory and application of electrotechnology and allied
» served as a catalyst for technological innovation;
» and supported the needs of its members through a wide variety of programs and services.
19th Century Growth
quarter of the nineteenth century was marked by a tremendous
growth in electrical technology. By the early 1880s,
telegraph wires crisscrossed the United States.
AIEE: Wire Communications, Light and Power
On 13 May 1884, the AIEE was born in New York. It quickly gained recognition as a representative for American electrical engineers.
From the beginning, the major interests of the AIEE were
» light and power systems.
An early and active participant in the development of electrical industry standards, the Institute laid the foundations for all work on electrical standards done in the United States.
But by 1912, the interests and needs of those specializing in the expanding field of radio could no longer be satisfied by periodic technical committee meetings in their local areas.
The IRE: Wireless Communications
Two largely local organizations -- the
Society of Wireless and Telegraph Engineers and the Wireless
Institute -- merged to form an international society for
scientists and engineers involved in the development of wireless
communications. Together they became the Institute of Radio
Many of the original members of the IRE also were members of the AIEE. The structural development and general activities of both organizations were similar.
Specialized segments were gathered into professional
groups under a central governing body.
In the 1930's, electronics became part of the electrical-engineering vocabulary. Although electronics engineers typically became members of the IRE, the extensive applications of electron tube technology made it more and more difficult to distinguish the technical boundaries between the IRE and the AIEE.
After World War II, the two organizations became increasingly competitive. Problems of overlap and duplication of efforts arose, only partially resolved by joint committees and meetings.
AIEE, IRE Merge to form IEEE
In 1961, the leadership of both the IRE and the AIEE sought to resolve these difficulties through consolidation. A merger plan was formulated and approved, becoming effective on 1 January 1963.
IEEE Quick Facts :
» more than 370,000 members, including more than 80,000 students, in over 160 countries;
» 319 sections in ten geographic regions worldwide;
» 1676 chapters that unite local members with similar technical interests;
» more than 1,526 student branches at colleges and universities in 80 countries;
» 39 societies and 5 technical councils representing the wide range of technical interests;
» 132 transactions, journals and magazines;
» more than 450 IEEE sponsored or cosponsored conferences worldwide each year;
» over 900 active IEEE standards and more than 400 in development.
*Data current as of 31 Dec 2006