Dialog with IEEE Region 8


Why did you first become an IEEE member?

I joined IEEE in 1985 as a graduate student.  I believed IEEE was important to my profession. IEEE published top-notch technical articles that were excellent overviews and revealed leading edge research in my field. Membership in a Society gave me access to some of those articles and discounts to conferences.  Although publication access has changed with universities and corporations subscribing to IEEE product packages, I still encourage all my students to join IEEE for professional growth, networking, and opportunities to build skills through volunteering.  

Will COVID19 pandemic affect IEEE Strategic Plan for 2020-2025? And if yes, how?

Most affected by COVID were IEEE’s conference operations.  Almost all IEEE conferences have become virtual events.  We were preparing for the worst, but the results were amazing.  Taking SPS’ conference ICASSP as an example, the peak attendance was about 3,000 before.  But once it went virtual, with the reach to a worldwide audience, the registration was over 15,000.  A crisis is also an opportunity.  It taught us to get outside of our comfort zone to realize that we can serve a much larger audience and better meet our mission. I am working with the Conferences Committee for this new normal.

Apart from Academicians, Students and Researchers, how does IEEE benefit a mean IT worker in Region 8? A software engineer, an electrical engineer, a software developer?

Diversity is a strength and we must excel with such an advantage.  We have been very successful in offering products and services for our members in academia, but we can do better to engage industry members.  My plan is to offer more continuing training and learning on practical content relevant to their work to advance their career, creating more tangible value and benefit to industry members.  If we can offer more to industry, we can attract more industry volunteers, who can help us create more value for industry, in a virtuous cycle. This is a global issue for IEEE.

Who do you recognize as the biggest competitor of IEEE, worldwide?

Other than ACM being a strong competitor of IEEE’s Computer Society, most of our societies/councils enjoy a dominant position in their technical fields.  However, we do have competition for our products, including periodicals, conferences, standards, and educational products.  The emphasis on Open Access changes our publications model.  Success with virtual conferences changes our conferences model.  Universities are increasing their efforts on educational products for industry.  We must continue to adapt ourselves to offer better values/services, and to reduce the overhead expenses inherent to the large organizational structure and business operations of IEEE.

It is noticed that the majority of student members don’t renew their membership as Young Professionals after their graduation. In your opinion, why is this happening and what can be done to face it?

We do so much for students, rightfully so, at little cost to them.  Then when they graduate, their benefit/cost ratio decreases substantially.  Young professionals are our future.  Long gone are the days when a technologist can count on lifelong employment with a single company.  My plan is to build IEEE to be their “Home Base,” the home for their entire career, to help them with career growth through continuing education/training, job opportunities with better career/professional outlook, mentoring by connecting with whom they respect and those who can guide them, and peer networking by building a sense of community.

What aspects of your background and experience you think will help you most if you get elected?

Over the last 35 years, I have volunteered time to serve as a co-founder of a chapter, Editor-in-Chief of Signal Processing Magazine, Signal Processing Society President, Division Director on the Board of Directors, and moving up to overseeing about 50 Societies/Councils as Vice President, Technical Activities. I have been on IEEE’s Board of Directors in the last seven years, which prepares me to lead immediately since I am aware of all the challenges facing IEEE.  I understand the issues you are facing in your professional lives. I am running to represent YOU and am ready to serve with your support.

Name 3 advantages and three disadvantages you think you have regarding this election process.

It is difficult to reach the entire membership with statements meaningful to our very diverse audience.  I fundamentally believe we are a professional society, not a political organization.  Flooding the audience with “Vote for me” campaign messages can do more harm than good.  We need to help members judge candidates on their records, not just on their current words.  Members need to select the most qualified and experienced person to be the President to lead IEEE for a better future and set the groundwork for subsequent years. Let the candidates’ records speak for themselves. Please visit my website at: https://www.rayliu.org/.

In the article we are going to add your statement. Would you like to add something, maybe a message you’d like to share with our readers?

I am a doer, not a talker. My past 35 years of accomplishments as a researcher/educator/entrepreneur speak to itself. I always deliver what I promise to do, and beyond the call of duty. Establishment of a Membership Board at Signal Processing Society, development of five IEEE journals, driving financial transparency at IEEE to demand accountability, creation of IEEE DataPort as a new benefit to serve members, and leading development of the IEEE App to offer persistent availability and value, all demonstrate that I have been a faithful servant to our members to advance technology for the benefit of humanity!


© 2020 by  K.J.Ray Liu

​The opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the IEEE.

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