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IEEE President’s Note: Make IEEE Your Professional Home

Ray Liu plans to better engage with members and focus on ethics

3 min read
Photo of K. J. Ray Liu

K. J. Ray Liu is the 2022 IEEE President-Elect

Photo: IEEE

Did you know that IEEE is not just an organization of electrical and electronics engineers? We welcome all those who are interested in and want to contribute to our technological mission.

As the world’s largest technical professional organization, IEEE has long been composed of engineers, scientists, technologists, practitioners, and entrepreneurs. Members are experts from the highest echelons of academia, industry, and government, and they work in every vital area of technology. For this reason, the organization is now referred to simply as IEEE—your professional home.

As your professional home, within IEEE one can find computer scientists as well as electrical, mechanical, and electronics engineers. One can also find physicists and biologists who use our technical literature in their daily work; entrepreneurs and marketers who build their businesses on our members’ technologies; technicians who demonstrate their proficiency through their technical advances published in our journals; and teachers who share their knowledge of science and technology with their students through our educational offerings.

Although IEEE still honors its electrical engineering roots, during the past few decades, its fields of interest have expanded well beyond electrical and electronics engineering and computing into just about any area one can imagine. As technologies and the industries that developed them have increasingly transcended national boundaries, IEEE has kept pace. It has continued to expand its global presence to enhance its excellence in delivering products and services to members, industries, and the public at large.

Over the years, I have volunteered my time and effort to make IEEE a better place for all of us. I started as a student member more than 36 years ago. I started volunteering with the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Eventually I went on to oversee all of IEEE’s societies and councils as vice president of Technical Activities, and I served on the IEEE Board of Directors. However, I am also still a member, just like all of you. I continue to read IEEE journals, participate in conferences, and use IEEE standards, and I enjoy engaging with my local chapter.

I understand the issues many of you, my fellow members, are facing in your professional lives, whether it’s getting your career started after graduation, excelling or struggling in your position in academia or industry, or leveraging the “gig economy” as an entrepreneur. And though the days when a technologist could count on lifetime employment with a single company are long gone, IEEE can be your professional home base from the time you first join as a student member until retirement. IEEE offers the products, services, networking opportunities, and educational and professional development programs required for every stage of your career.

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IEEE spans our members’ entire professional life cycle—catering to those just thinking about engineering or science as a career as well as those already studying, teaching, practicing, inventing, or advocating for technology. IEEE also provides members with a strong sense of community and a worldwide network of personal connections that can help mentor and nurture your professional journey.

Together with the IEEE Board of Directors, I began this year with a commitment to shaping the IEEE of the future and examining ways in which the organization can evolve to best meet the needs of all technical professionals in the years ahead. Many of the advances we will make this year will be driven by an emphasis on our long-term success—all with a clear focus on our Code of Ethics and member conduct activities, including our commitment to inclusion and diversity.

My plan to make IEEE your professional home includes improving our engagement with our members and audience, seeking out the next big opportunities for IEEE and our members, enhancing IEEE awards’ prestige, guiding IEEE in playing a leading role in addressing the climate crisis, and preparing IEEE for a world of full of demographic, technological, economic, and environmental changes.

As a nonprofit organization, IEEE’s key impetuses are the promotion of technical excellence, thought leadership, and the facilitation of collaboration and networking—rather than amassing profits. The essential roles of our organization have always been facilitating the exchange of knowledge, advancing the technical state of the art, promoting guidelines and standards for professional excellence, and raising public awareness and recognition of members’ contributions.

I encourage all our members to be engaged, be involved, and be part of the drive to reaffirm awareness of IEEE as your professional home to all members and other technologists around the world. After all, IEEE is your professional home. Please take care of yourself and each other. I look forward to receiving your thoughts at

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Illustration showing an astronaut performing mechanical repairs to a satellite uses two extra mechanical arms that project from a backpack.

Extra limbs, controlled by wearable electrode patches that read and interpret neural signals from the user, could have innumerable uses, such as assisting on spacewalk missions to repair satellites.

Chris Philpot

What could you do with an extra limb? Consider a surgeon performing a delicate operation, one that needs her expertise and steady hands—all three of them. As her two biological hands manipulate surgical instruments, a third robotic limb that’s attached to her torso plays a supporting role. Or picture a construction worker who is thankful for his extra robotic hand as it braces the heavy beam he’s fastening into place with his other two hands. Imagine wearing an exoskeleton that would let you handle multiple objects simultaneously, like Spiderman’s Dr. Octopus. Or contemplate the out-there music a composer could write for a pianist who has 12 fingers to spread across the keyboard.

Such scenarios may seem like science fiction, but recent progress in robotics and neuroscience makes extra robotic limbs conceivable with today’s technology. Our research groups at Imperial College London and the University of Freiburg, in Germany, together with partners in the European project NIMA, are now working to figure out whether such augmentation can be realized in practice to extend human abilities. The main questions we’re tackling involve both neuroscience and neurotechnology: Is the human brain capable of controlling additional body parts as effectively as it controls biological parts? And if so, what neural signals can be used for this control?

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