IEEE has designated May 13, 2009 as Engineering the Future Day marking the culmination of IEEE's 125 years of "engineering the future".
IEEE's roots go back to 1884 when there was one major established electrical industry. Then the telegraph, which had its beginning in the 1840s, connected the world with a communications system faster than the speed of land transportation. Electric power and light originating in Thomas Edison's inventions had just got off the ground in his pioneering Pearl Street Station in New York.
The predecessor to IEEE was formed by a small group of electrical guys to support professionals in their nascent field. The American Institute of Electrical Engineers focused on electrical power with a secondary focus on wired communication, both the telegraph and the telephone.
With "wireless" radio the Institute of Radio Engineers was formed in 1912. In 1963, the AIEE and the IRE merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE.
Electronics became ubiquitous, technologies and industries that developed them increasingly transcended national boundaries and by 2008, IEEE had 375,000 members in 160 countries, with 43 percent outside of the country where it was founded a century and a quarter before.
And the society is throwing a party this year.
Where does Power Management fit in?
In a report just released the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that the deployment of semiconductor technologies since 1976 has generated a sizeable energy productivity benefit across the U.S. economy.
Compared to the technologies available in 1976, they estimate that the entire family of semiconductor-enabled technologies has generated a net savings of about 775 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in the year 2006 alone.
The report continues that if supported by smart policies, one reasonably can extrapolate past energy saving growth in the semiconductor industry to result in 27 percent total energy savings in 2030.
By ACEEE calculations the cumulative net electricity bill savings enabled by semiconductors might exceed $1.2 trillion through 2030. Also, a more productive economy might also support some 935,000 more jobs while substantially reducing environmental impactsnotably a reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions that would exceed 700 million metric tons, also by 2030.
We have come a long way in the past 125 years.
We have a ways to go to become Power Managers of our destiny!