Pioneer of Google’s Data Centers Dies at 58

Pioneer of Google’s Data Centers Dies at 58

Luiz André Barroso

Data center pioneer

Senior member, 59; died 16 September

An engineer at Google for more than 20 years, Barroso is credited with designing the company’s warehouse-size data centers. They house hundreds of thousands of computer servers and disk drives and have brought cloud computing, more powerful search engines, and faster Internet service. He died unexpectedly of natural causes.

Barroso was born in Brazil and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1989 in electrical engineering from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he earned a Ph.D. in computer engineering in 1996 from the University of Southern California.

In 1995 he joined the Digital Equipment Corp. Western Research Laboratory, in Palo Alto, Calif., as a researcher specializing in microprocessor design. While there, he investigated how to build hardware to run more modern business applications and Web services. Three years later, the company was acquired by Compaq and his project was terminated.

He left Compaq in 2001 to join Google in Mountain View, Calif., as a software engineer.

The company housed its servers at leased space in third-party data centers, which were basically cages in which a few racks of computing equipment were placed. As Google’s business expanded, its need for infrastructure increased. In 2004 Barroso was tasked with investigating ways to build more efficient data centers.

He devised a way to use low-cost components and energy-saving techniques to distribute Google’s programs across thousands of servers, instead of the traditional method of relying on a few powerful, expensive machines.

The company’s first data center designed by Barroso opened in 2006 in The Dalles, Ore. It implemented fault-tolerance software and hardware infrastructure to make the servers less prone to disruption. Google now has 35 data centers in 10 countries, all drawing from Barroso’s groundbreaking techniques.

In 2009 Barroso co-authored The Data Center as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines, a seminal textbook.

He also led the team that designed Google’s AI chips, known as tensor processing units or TPUs, which accelerated machine-learning workloads. He helped integrate augmented reality and machine learning into Google Maps.

At the time of his death, Barroso was a Google Fellow, the company’s highest rank for technical staff.

He also was an executive sponsor of the company’s Hispanic and Latinx employee group and oversaw a program that awarded fellowships to doctoral students in Latin America.

For his contributions to computing architecture, he received the 2020 Eckert-Mauchly Award, an honor given jointly by IEEE and the Association for Computer Machinery.

He was a Fellow of the ACM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He served on the board of Rainforest Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting tropical lands and conserving threatened wildlife. Just weeks before he died, Barroso organized and led a weeklong trip to Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands.

Read The Institute’s 2020 profile of him to learn more about his career journey.

Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao

Former director of the Indian Statistical Institute

Honorary member, 102; died 23 August

Rao was onetime director of the Indian Statistical Institute, in Kolkata. The pioneering mathematician and statistician spent more than four decades at the organization, where he discovered two seminal estimators: the Cramér–Rao bound and the Rao–Blackwell theorem. The two estimators—rules for calculating an estimate of a given quantity based on observed data—provided the basis for much of modern statistics.

For his discoveries, Rao received the 2023 International Prize in Statistics. The award is presented every two years to an individual or team for “major achievements using statistics to advance science, technology, and human welfare.”

Rao began his career in 1943 as a technical apprentice at the Indian Statistical Institute. He was promoted the following year to superintending statistician. Two years later, he published a paper in the Bulletin of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, demonstrating two fundamental statistical concepts still heavily used in the field today. The Cramér-Rao bound helps statisticians determine the quality of any estimation method. The Rao-Blackwell theorem provides a means for optimizing estimates.

Rao’s work formed the basis of information geometry, an interdisciplinary field that applies the techniques of differential geometry to study probability theory and statistics.

Rao was a professor at the ISI’s research and training school before being promoted to director in 1964—a position he held for 12 years.

He moved to the United States in the 1980s to join the University of Pittsburgh as a professor of mathematics and statistics. He left Pittsburgh eight years later to teach at Pennsylvania State University in State College, where in 2001 he became director of its multivariate analysis center. Multivariate statistics are data analysis procedures that simultaneously consider more than two variables.

After nine years at Penn State he moved to New York, where he was a research professor at the University of Buffalo until shortly before he died.

Rao authored more than 14 books and 400 journal articles during his career. He received several awards for his lifetime contributions, including 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in 19 countries.

In 2010 he was honored with the India Science Award, the highest honor given by the government of India in the scientific sector. He received the 2002 U.S. National Medal of Science, the country’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research.

He was nominated in 2013 for a Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the International Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. Last year he was named an honorary member of IEEE.

Rao received a master’s degree in mathematics in 1940 from Andhra University, in Visakhapatnam. Three years later he earned a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Calcutta. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in statistics from King’s College Cambridge in 1945 and a doctor of science degree from the University of Cambridge in 1965.

Herbert William Zwack

Former U.S. Naval Research Laboratory associate superintendent

Life member, 88; died 14 March

Zwack led electronic warfare research programs at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, in Washington, D.C., where he worked for more than two decades.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1955 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering), in New York City, he joined Hazeltine (now BAE Systems). At the defense electronics company, located in Greenlawn, N.Y., he helped develop the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE), the first U.S. air defense system. He also created the Mark XII IFF, a radar system designed to detect enemy aircraft.

In 1958 he left to join Airborne Instruments Laboratory, a defense contractor in Mineola, N.Y. At AIL, he was involved in electronic warfare systems R&D. He later was promoted to head of the analysis receiver department, and he led the development of UHF and microwave intercept analysis receivers for the U.S. Army.

He accepted a new position in 1970 as head of the advanced development department in the Amecom Division of Litton Industries, a defense contractor in College Park, Md. He helped develop technology at Litton to intercept and analyze radar signals, including the AN/ALR-59 (later the AN/ALR-73) passive detection system for the U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye aircraft.

Two years later he left to join the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division of the Naval Research Laboratory, in Washington, D.C., as head of its remote-sensor department. He was responsible for hiring new technical staff and securing research funding.

By 1974, he was promoted to head of the laboratory’s electronic warfare systems branch, leading research in areas including advanced miniature antenna and receiver programs, intelligence collection and processing systems, and high-speed signal sorting.

In 1987 he was promoted to associate superintendent of the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division, a position he held until he retired in 1995.

Randall W. Pack

Nuclear and computer engineer

Life member, 82; died 2 December 2022

Pack was a nuclear power engineer until the late 1990s, when he shifted his focus to computer engineering.

He served in the U.S. Navy for eight years after receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1961 from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. While enlisted, he studied at the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, in Goose Creek, S.C., and the U.S. Naval Submarine School, in Pensacola, Fla. After completing his studies in 1964, he served as chief engineer on two Navy nuclear submarines including the USS Sam Rayburn.

He left the Navy and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1974 he joined the Electric Power Research Institute, in Palo Alto, Calif., as a technical expert in nuclear reactor design, testing, operations, maintenance, instrumentation, and safety.

In 1980 he began work as a researcher at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, in Atlanta. Seven years later he joined the General Physics Corp. (now GP Strategies), in Columbia, Md., where he worked for 10 years.

Park decided to switch careers and at night took graduate courses at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. After graduating in 1997 with a master’s degree in computer science, he left General Physics and became a computer science consultant. He retired in 2008.

From 2008 to 2022, he served as an adjunct professor at Anne Arundel Community College, in Arnold, Md., where he taught courses for the school’s Peer Learning Partnership, an enrichment program for older adults.Source: IEEE SPECTRUM NEWS

An After-School Program Teaches Teens Java and Python

An After-School Program Teaches Teens Java and Python

After Vic Wintriss sold his sports-imaging company, Wintriss Engineering, to his cofounders in 2006, the electrical engineer was looking for a project to keep himself busy. Wintriss Engineering, based in San Diego, makes smart cameras for sports imaging such as tracking golf balls and inspecting paper, textiles, and plastics. While discussing with his wife what his next career move should be, an idea suddenly came to him in the form of a vision.

“I’ll never forget it,” Wintriss recalls. “It said: ‘You’re going to teach Java to kids in a nonprofit school.’ I didn’t even know Java.”

At the age of 75 he went back to school to learn the programming language. After teaching the subject to teenagers at his church, in 2006 the IEEE life member established The League of Amazing Programmers. The San Diego–based nonprofit after-school program teaches coding in Java and Python to students in Grades 5 to 12. The program offers 10 levels of coding, from beginner to advanced. It is the only one in the United States that awards the Oracle professional programming certificate to high school students.

The league was recently named Nonprofit of the Year by its California Assembly district’s representative, Tasha Boerner.

“It was a privilege to recognize The League of Amazing Programmers for the critical work they are doing in my district to promote equity in our digital age,” Boerner said in a news release about the recognition. “Their dedication to helping our youth, especially girls and underrepresented communities, is transforming lives throughout San Diego.”

Java, Python, and game design

Wintriss, who is now 92, had some prior teaching experience. He was a Navy flight instructor and taught Sunday school classes for several years. To start fulfilling the Java vision he had, he began holding coding classes at the church. The course became so popular that he rented a larger space and bought more computers. Wintriss continued on his own until, he says, it became overwhelming.

That’s when he launched The League of Amazing Programmers. He retained professional programmers who volunteered their time to teach 90-minute weekly in-person and virtual classes seven days a week. The school’s monthly tuition is US $260, and tuition assistance is available.

This year 200 students are participating in the program. About half of them are from underserved communities, Wintriss says.

“The students who have completed the program have been amazing. The computer programs they write are just totally incredible.” —Vic Wintriss

The classes are held in the San Diego area, including at the Valencia Park/Malcom X and Central libraries and the Digital Start North County tech hobby store in Fallbrook. Its main campus is a Carmel Valley office building in northern San Diego.

The league recently added an Introduction to Game Design class. Seasonal camps on artificial intelligence, Minecraft modification, and Web development are offered as well.

“The students who have completed the program have been amazing,” Wintriss says. “The computer programs they write are just totally incredible.”

The league’s students put their skills to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were taught how to design a low-cost emergency ventilator system using a Raspberry Pi computer and automated versions of manual bag-based resuscitator devices, commonly known as Ambu bags. The compact, balloonlike bags have a soft air reservoir that can be squeezed by medical professionals to inflate a patient’s lungs.

Oracle certification success

More than 50 students have passed the Oracle Professional Programming Certificate exam, which is not easy for a high school student, Wintriss says. Students who take the exam are typically in the 11th grade.

Once students earn the certification, they can garner a high salary, Wintriss says.

“If you’ve got the Oracle certificate, any employer will hire you as a programmer without a college degree, although we encourage our students to go to college,” he says.

Some students have gotten part-time after-school programming jobs that pay about $60 per hour, he says. Former students who have landed a full-time job have told him they are earning more than $100,000 annually.

Wintriss says he hopes to expand the program to other states.

A student testimonial

one person sitting  with a laptop in front of him and a tv hanging above hisheads on the wall
Sam Sharp has completed the after-school program’s Java course and plans to take the Oracle certificate exam. Vic Wintriss

One student who is attending the after-school program is 15-year-old Sam Sharp, an 11th grader at San Diego High School. His parents signed him up for the program when he was 8.

“I’ve always been interested in computers,” Sharp says. “I’ve had this idea to make things that people are going to use in their daily lives. I figured that because everybody now does everything on their computers, I wanted to learn how to make things for computers.”

Sharp is at the Level 8 stage and has completed the Java course.

“It gave me a solid foundation for how programming works,” he says, “because it teaches you the object-oriented basics.” He is now learning JavaScript and working on more advanced programming projects such as developing games and publishing Parakeet.Games, a Web game aggregator.

He says the league’s program has taught him other skills such as creating a project from scratch, meeting deadlines, pacing himself, and leading teams. He also helps teach younger students the programming languages.

What appeals to him the most about the league’s curriculum, he says, is its “five seconds of fun” principle.

“The concept,” he says, “is that students should get five seconds of just pure fun from what they’ve made or programmed.”

He says he intends to take the Oracle certificate exam, and he plans to pursue a college degree in computer programming.


MIT Professor’s IoT Sensors Make Roads Safer

MIT Professor’s IoT Sensors Make Roads Safer

Back in 2005, before smartphones were generally available, MIT Professor Hari Balakrishnan was so fed up with commuting delays in Boston that he built a mobile system to monitor road conditions.

​Hari Balakrishnan





Member grade


Alma maters

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the University of California, Berkeley

He and his research team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory developed CarTel, short for car telematics. Using signal processing and machine learning, their sensing device for vehicles was able to infer the presence of potholes and other impediments from changes in traffic flow, which it measured with GPS and an accelerometer. Their research won several awards, and the system was covered by The Boston Globe.

In 2010 Balakrishnan and two cofounders commercialized CarTel by launching Cambridge Mobile Telematics. Today the Massachusetts company is the largest telematics service provider in the world. Insurance companies, car manufacturers, rideshare services, and public agencies use CMT data to assess driver behavior, encourage safer driving, dispatch roadside assistance, and more.

Balakrishnan, an IEEE Fellow, is this year’s Marconi Prize winner for his “fundamental discoveries in mobile sensing, networking, and distributed systems.” The award, given by the Marconi Society, is considered to be the top honor in communications.

“On paper this award honors me, but it really is a recognition of my 30-plus Ph.D. students, postdocs, collaborators, and the team at CMT who have worked incredibly hard in creative ways to take research ideas and have them really impact the world,” he says. “It honors the field of mobile sensing and networked systems.”

Hari Balakrishnan talks to the Marconi Society about his career highlights and his thoughts on receiving the prize.
Marconi Society

Using data to make driving safer

Balakrishnan came up with the idea for CarTel while talking with fellow MIT Professor Samuel Madden, a director of the university’s Data Systems and AI Lab and an expert on data management and sensor computing.

“I told him we should start a research project that takes sensors that we both know a lot about, attach them to cars, measure what’s happening, and then try to understand the data,” Balakrishnan recalls. “This was before iPhones, Androids, and Google Maps.”

They later founded CMT, with Madden serving as its chief scientist.

“CarTel was one of the first projects in mobile sensing,” Balakrishnan says. “We showed that it could work at scale.

“I was trying to figure out how to commercialize it using the notion of mobile sensing for social good.”

Help came in 2009 from William V. Powers, a seasoned sales executive who became Balakrishnan’s business partner. He is also a CMT cofounder and the company’s CEO.

Balakrishnan says that although the startup had the technology, it didn’t have a business model. After reading articles about how insurance companies were using expensive hardware to measure people’s driving to set premium prices and uncover fraudulent claims, they found their model.

“Our mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer.”

“It clicked in my head that we had shown, in principle, how to do that with consumer phones and inexpensive Internet of Things [IoT] devices that could be put into a car without professional installers,” he says.

That early system evolved into DriveWell, an AI-driven platform that gathers data from monitors including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and position sensors in smartphones, dashcams, and IoT devices such as the DriveWell Tag.

The platform combines the information with contextual data to create a picture of how drivers are operating their vehicles, measuring factors such as hard braking, excessive speeding, and phone distraction, Balakrishnan says.

“Our mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer,” he says.

DriveWell has provided services to more than 30 million vehicles to date. Insurance companies including Admiral, Discovery, HUK-Coburg, MS&AD, and USAA use CMT’s programs to offer discounts to better drivers. CMT recently partnered with Hyundai to offer its customers real-time roadside assistance and repair services. There are also DriveWell, FuelStar, and Openroad mobile apps for motorists who want feedback about their driving.

The first indoor location system

Balakrishnan has created other systems that use sensors for practical purposes. Between 1999 and 2004, he oversaw the development of the Cricket indoor location system. It combined radio frequency and ultrasound technologies. Beacons mounted on walls and ceilings publish information on an RF channel, which sends out a chirping signal. The beacon then sounds out a corresponding ultrasonic pulse. Receivers attached to mobile devices listen for the RF signals and the ultrasonic pulse. Cricket uses the different speeds of sound and of RF to calculate the distance between the receiver and the beacon.

The system provided space identifiers, position coordinates, and orientation. Cricket provided distance ranging and positioning precision of between 3 and 5 centimeters. It was used in areas where GPS didn’t work well, such as hospitals, office buildings, and research centers.

“GPS only works outdoors,” Balakrishnan says. “Even today, you can’t get GPS signals inside. When your apps show you the location inside, it’s using other technologies.”

The research team open-sourced the hardware and software, and more than 1 million units were built and deployed.

“This approach didn’t scale to every device in the world,” Balakrishnan says, “because adding ultrasonic hardware to every device is not practical. However, with modern smartphones capable of sending and receiving ultrasonic signals on their speakers and microphones, the approach developed in Cricket might become useful in the future. Indeed, some recent proposals for contact tracing for COVID-19 have used this approach.”

portrait of two men in tuxedos against a green backdrop with white text Info for editor if needed:
This year’s IEEE Medal of Honor recipient Vint Cerf congratulates Marconi Prize winner Hari Balakrishnan at the Marconi Awards Gala, held on 27 October in Washington, D.C.Marconi Society

A love of research and academia

Balakrishnan earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1993 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He picked the field, he says, because he thought it would let him make practical use of mathematics.

“I knew nothing about computer science,” he says. “I had never programmed a computer before. But I knew I was interested in things that were mathematical in nature, and I enjoyed both math and physics greatly. After about a year and a half, I felt like I understood what the field was about. By the time I finished my undergraduate degree, I absolutely loved it.”

While pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, he became passionate about conducting research, he says. He enjoyed it so much, he says, that he wanted to make a career of it.

He’s also known for his early research on how to improve wireless networks—which can be found in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library and which won the 1998 Association for Computing Machinery’s Doctoral Dissertation Award.

In the final year of his Ph.D., in 1998, he decided to pursue an academic career. He interviewed for a faculty position at MIT and knew immediately it was where he wanted to work, he says. The university hired him that year, and he has worked there ever since.

“I felt like this was the place where people were on the same wavelength as me,” he says. “It’s always good to go to a place where people appreciate what you do.”

Despite his entrepreneurial success, Balakrishnan continues to teach.

“I just really enjoy working with students and just love research,” he says. “I enjoy teaching students and, frankly, they teach me as much as I teach them.”

The IEEE community

Balakrishnan says he intially joined IEEE as a student to get the discounted rate for membership and conference registrations. But after he began working, he realized that it’s important to be part of a “professional community that has like-minded people who care about the fields that I care about,” he says. “IEEE has benefited my career because I’ve been at conferences and events where I’ve made professional connections that will last a lifetime.”

He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

IEEE recognized him in 2021 with its Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award for “broad contributions to computer networking and mobile and wireless systems.”


Notice to Membership

Notice to Membership

The IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee (EMCC) received a complaint against Dr. Peng Zhang, a member in the grade of Senior Member of the IEEE. A hearing board appointed by the IEEE Board of Directors found Cause that Dr. Zhang violated Section II, Subsection 8 of the IEEE Code of Ethics. The IEEE Board of Directors sustained these findings and imposed the sanction of a five-year suspension from IEEE membership on Dr. Zhang, in accordance with IEEE Bylaw I-110.5. The IEEE Board of Directors also determined that this notification to the IEEE membership should be made. For identification purposes only, Dr. Zhang has past affiliations with a university in the state of Connecticut and, as of the date of this notice, current affiliation with a university in the state of New York.


USC Professor’s Simulation Software Teaches Systems Engineering Topics

USC Professor’s Simulation Software Teaches Systems Engineering Topics

Azad M. Madni spent some 40 years working on artificial intelligence and simulation technologies that allowed U.S. soldiers to safely train for combat operations in virtual worlds. Now Madni—a professor of astronautics, aerospace, and mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California—is working to transform engineering education. But he hasn’t abandoned the world of simulation.

Azad Madni


University of Southern California, in Los Angeles


Professor of astronautics, aerospace, and mechanical engineering

Member grade

IEEE Life Fellow

Alma Mater

University of California, Los Angeles

In 2013 the IEEE Life Fellow created the Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering Education (TRASEE) paradigm, in which professors use simulation software to teach topics through storytelling and role-playing techniques, allowing students to apply their engineering lessons to real-world situations.

For that and other “pioneering contributions to model-based systems engineering, education, and industrial impact using interdisciplinary approaches,” Madni received this year’s IEEE Simon Ramo Medal.

Ramo was a leader in microwave research who headed the development of General Electric’s electron microscope. Ramo served as a presidential chair and professor of electrical engineering at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering from 2008 until he died in 2016.

Madni says the award is “the crowning achievement” of his career as a systems engineer. It’s particularly special to him, he says, because he and Ramo were colleagues at USC.

From NASA to teaching at USC

Madni, who grew up in Mumbai, became captivated by the U.S. space program after listening to the 1962 “We choose to go to the moon” speech delivered by John F. Kennedy at Rice University, in Houston. The president’s speech was designed to bolster public support for his proposal to land a man on the moon before 1970.

Madni, who knew he wanted to become an engineer, decided he wanted to be part of the “space adventure,” he says.

He moved to the United States to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. Finding himself drawn to systems engineering after taking a UCLA class in the field, he decided to merge his new interest with his passion for space.

After graduating in 1968, Madni joined Parsons Corp. in Los Angeles as a full-time systems engineer and analyst working on defense programs. At night, he took graduate courses at UCLA, and in 1971 he earned his master’s degree in engineering.

He went on to pursue a Ph.D. while also working full-time at Rockwell International’s space division in Downey, Calif., as a simulation systems engineer.

At the time, the company was the prime contractor for NASA’s space shuttle program. Working on the program was a dream come true, he says.

He developed a model-based analysis program to virtually test the performance of the shuttle’s navigation system. He also led the creation of a simulation program that analyzed the navigation system’s performance under different high-stress conditions. Madni’s model-based approach reduced the need for extensive hardware-in-the-loop testing and consequently reduced costs, he says.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1978 in engineering systems with a concentration in computer methodology and AI, he joined Perceptronics in Woodland Hills, Calif., as director of artificial intelligence and software research, eventually rising to executive vice president and chief technology officer.

“IEEE is the premier engineering society.”

In 1980 he began working on a distributed simulation technology for the U.S. Army. He led a team that was designing a program to train soldiers and allow them to complete practice missions in safe, virtual environments. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Army sponsored the work.

At the time, the training simulators used were expensive to build, underutilized, and inflexible.

Madni says he had two goals for the new simulation system: to lower costs, increase utilization, and allow military personnel to modify the scenarios as needed. The technology he and his team developed did just that.

He later returned to the simulation effort, this time focused on enhancing it with immersive story-telling techniques. The project was funded by the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, DARPA, and the U.S. Department of Energy as well as several aerospace and automotive companies.

Madni modeled the simulations after video games and movies, engaging multiple senses to create more immersive experiences for users.

Today the Army uses the two systems, called the “game-based training simulations for part-task training” and the “VR-enabled distributed simulation system for collective training.”

Madni left Perceptronics in 1994 to help found Intelligent Systems Technology, an R&D company in Los Angeles that specializes in modeling and simulation technology. He served as the startup’s CEO and CTO until 2009, when he joined the USC faculty as head of the interdisciplinary systems architecting and engineering master’s degree program. Madni is the founding director of USC’s Distributed Autonomy and Intelligent Systems Laboratory, which conducts research in augmented intelligence, autonomous systems, cyber-physical-human-systems, and transdisciplinary systems engineering.

“My father had a passion for education and instilled that same passion in me from a very young age,” he says. “His dream for me was to someday be a faculty member at a prestigious U.S. university. By joining USC, I have fulfilled his dream and have contributed to transforming engineering education for 21st century engineering challenges.”

three men standing in suits for a portrait against a white background with black writing
Life Fellow Azad Madni [middle] proudly displays his IEEE Simon Ramo Medal at the IEEE Honors Ceremony. He is accompanied by IEEE President-Elect Thomas Coughlin [left] and IEEE President Saifur Rahman.Robb Cohen Photography

Teaching systems engineering through storytelling

It was at USC that Madni developed TRASEE.

Instead of a typical lecture format, students start with a short scenario and a technical problem to solve. Each member of a group is assigned a role. The teams use a digital twin—a virtual model—of a machine relevant to the story to assess how well their efforts are succeeding.

Madni says the approach helps students pick up information faster, gain leadership skills, and learn to work with others outside their discipline and from other cultures.

“By taking abstract engineering concepts and embedding them in stories, I’m able to communicate the ideas to students much more clearly,” he says.

According to a 2018 study, students who learn through role-playing exercises score 45 percent higher on tests than those taught through traditional lectures.

Madni has been recognized by several organizations for creating TRASEE. This year he received the National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. The prize includes a US $500,000 award; Madni donated half of the money to the NAE and half to USC.

Networking with engineers from different disciplines

Madni has been an IEEE member for 46 years. Since 1980 he has held several leadership positions and has presented papers at IEEE conferences worldwide.

In 2013, he cofounded the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society’s technical committee on model-based systems engineering and serves as its chair. The committee creates educational resources, and members are involved in standardization efforts. Members also hosted panel sessions at the 2023 International Conference on Systems Engineering Research and presented research papers. As chair, Madni has led several collaborative efforts with professional engineering societies including International Council on Systems Engineering and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

Madni is also an active volunteer with the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, the IEEE Computer Society, IEEE-USA, and the IEEE Systems Council.

“IEEE is the premier engineering society,” he says. “It goes well beyond electronics and electrical engineering. It encompasses many disciplines including biomedical engineering, control systems engineering, cybernetics, systems engineering, and engineering management.

“IEEE being multidisciplinary makes it an ideal forum for networking with engineers from different disciplines.”

Madni says he enjoys mentoring aspiring engineering students and young professionals working in both academia and industry. He says this is his way of giving back and he enjoys helping them to “realize and live their dream as I did.”Source: IEEE SPECTRUM NEWS

Get to Know the IEEE Board of Directors

Get to Know the IEEE Board of Directors

The IEEE Board of Directors shapes the future direction of IEEE and is committed to ensuring IEEE remains a strong and vibrant organization—serving the needs of its members and the engineering and technology community worldwide—while fulfilling the IEEE mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

This article features IEEE Board of Directors members Leila De Floriani, Kathy Herring Hayashi, and Vincenzo Piuri.

IEEE Fellow Leila De Floriani

Director, Division VIII

Portrait of a smiling red haired woman in a black shirt and beaded necklace.
Rosella Murgia

De Floriani is a mathematician, computer scientist, and educator with academic experience in Europe and the United States. She is a pioneer in data visualization and geometric modeling. Her work on multi-resolution terrain modeling and visualization has been extensively used in geographic information systems, video games, flight simulators, and web-based terrain navigation tools. Her recent work on topology-based analysis resulted in software tools for tree segmentation and reconstruction from big forestry data acquired through lidar. These tools have been used to track forest characteristics in connection with carbon emission evaluation and forecasting forest evolution.

As the 2020 president of the IEEE Computer Society, De Floriani established a permanent committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Additionally, she strengthened the society’s leadership in open access and open science—focusing on research reproducibility, which led to a roadmap for professional societies. She is also a member of the IEEE Conferences Committee.

Having authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications, De Floriani served as editor in chief of the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics from 2015 to 2018. She introduced research reproducibility projects by publishing papers enhanced with reproducible code and data.

De Floriani is a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition and Eurographics Association. She was named a pioneer by the Solid Modeling Association designation that honors early contributors and those who have expanded the field. She also received the IEEE Computer Society Golden Core recognition for her long-standing service to the society.

She is also an inducted member of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Community Visualization Academy and the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu honor society.

IEEE Senior Member Kathy Herring Hayashi

Director, Region 6: Western U.S.

Portrait of a smiling woman with gray hair and glasses
SemiCon Headshot Central

Kathy Herring Hayashi has been involved in the semiconductor industry her entire career. She has developed, deployed, and analyzed advanced software tools to create computer and mobile phone chips. She designed advanced in-house CAD software tools for the semiconductor industry, transitioned to commercial electronic design automation tools, and then brought her professional leadership to focus on semiconductor-yield solutions. Herring Hayashi currently works with semiconductor workflows in large-scale computer environments.

Herring Hayashi has served in a wide variety of leadership roles, interfacing within many levels of IEEE. She has a track record of projects that embrace innovation and community leadership. As the IEEE Region 6 director, Herring Hayashi has led region-wide initiatives related to semiconductors, engaging young professionals and supporting sustainable and global humanitarian related technologies. In this role, she also establishes Board-level policies and interfaces with IEEE volunteer leadership. She serves as Vice Chair of the IEEE Global Semiconductors ad hoc and is a member of the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) and IEEE-USA Board of Directors.

She says that by working together with IEEE members, the IEEE community can help others reach career goals by showing them the full benefits of the organization.

Herring Hayashi has received many honors. She was named one of the Women of Influence in Engineering from the San Diego Business Journal, and she received a Pinnacle Award from Athena, which recognized her as one of San Diego’s outstanding technology leaders. She also received the IEEE MGA Innovation Award for initiating the industry IEEE Evening of Innovation collaboration for members at the IEEE Honors Ceremony. Herring Hayashi is a member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu.

IEEE Fellow Vincenzo Piuri

Director, Region 8: Africa, Europe, Middle East

Portrait of a smiling man in a suit and tief
Vincenzo Piuri

Piuri is a scientist, educator, and community leader. His theoretical research deepened interdisciplinary aspects of artificial intelligence to allow for adaptivity to evolving environmental situations and operational needs. His scientific achievements have enhanced applications in industry, the environment, biometrics, and ambient intelligence. Piuri’s original research results have been published in more than 400 international journals, conference proceedings, and books.

A member of the IEEE Computer, Computational Intelligence, and Instrumentation and Measurement societies, Piuri has served scientific and professional communities and IEEE for almost 40 years. He has spent the last 15 years in worldwide leadership roles.

In his IEEE volunteer activities, Piuri focuses on serving with a human-centered personalized approach, empowering everyone in the community to be leaders in technology and innovation, and embracing emerging technologies. By nurturing local communities, supporting underserved groups and geographical areas, and promoting cooperation, he has been a champion of proactively ensuring equal opportunities and promoting diversity and inclusion.

Piuri was the past editor in chief of the IEEE Systems Journal and former associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing; he has also served as associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Computers, the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, the IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, and IEEE Access.

In addition to being an honorary professor at several universities around the world, he is a distinguished scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Piuri received the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society Technical Award in 2020 and in 2019, he was inducted into the IEEE Technical Activities Board Hall of Honor.


Remembering IEEE Director Emeritus Theodore W. Hissey

Remembering IEEE Director Emeritus Theodore W. Hissey

IEEE Life Fellow Theodore W. “Ted” Hissey died on 14 October at the age of 97.

An active volunteer whose involvement with IEEE spanned more than six decades, Hissey served as IEEE director emeritus from 1994 to 1996. In 1997 he was vice president of the IEEE Foundation.

More recently, he focused on facilitating partnerships and establishing joint awards with other technical societies in IEEE Regions 8, 9, and 10. But in a 2014 interview with The Institute, Hissey said his real passion was organizing outreach events for students and mentoring new volunteers through IEEE Young Professionals.

“I seek out and mentor ambitious young professionals and encourage them to seek higher-level positions within IEEE to bring their fresh and innovative ideas into the organization,” he said.

To honor his mentoring activities within IEEE YP, in 2017 the IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award was established. It recognizes young engineers for contributions to the technical community and IEEE’s fields of interest.

“Theodore Hissey was the kindest and most empowering soul,” Eddie Custovic says. The IEEE senior member received the 2022 IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award.

“His encouragement and support is something that helped me tremendously in my early career,” Custovic adds. “Receiving the 2022 IEEE award that bears his name is the greatest highlight of my professional career. His legacy and what it means to be a selfless leader, will continue to serve our global IEEE community as exemplary. He will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Uncle Ted.”

A jet-setting career

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in power engineering in 1948 from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Hissey joined Leeds and Northrup (L&N) in Philadelphia as an applications engineer. The company made electrical measurement instruments and control and power systems. He worked there for 43 years, serving in a variety of engineering and management positions.

While at L&N, Hissey joined a number of technical and standards committees and helped establish IEEE conferences. His work took him to more than 50 countries, and he befriended many engineers around the globe.

Those contacts helped Hissey and L&N take on several international projects such as setting up telemetry systems for Aramco, a national oil and natural gas company in Saudi Arabia. He spent time in Brazil helping engineers there expand and stabilize the power grid.

Later he was a principal engineer at Macro Corp., an engineering consultancy firm based in Horsham, Pa.

In the 2014 interview, Hissey credited some of his career achievements to his involvement with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers—one of IEEE’s predecessor societies—and later IEEE.

“Organizing and attending global conferences, networking with engineers, and having access to the latest technical research really helped me keep up as hardware and software evolved,” he said. “IEEE paved a road for me throughout my working life.”

Giving back and guiding others

Hissey’s involvement with IEEE can be traced to the late 1940s, when he chaired Penn State’s student AIEE chapter.

He became a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society governing board in 1973, and he served as society’s 1985–1986 president.

Toward the end of his career, he was on the IEEE Board of Directors, and he was director of IEEE Division VII (Energy and Power Engineering). He also served on several committees as well as the Regional Activities (now Member and Geographic Activities), Standards, and Technical Activities boards.

He served as IEEE treasurer in the early 1990s. In 1994 he was appointed acting IEEE executive director.

In 1996, Hissey began serving on the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors and in 2005, became its director emeritus.

Hissey enjoyed sharing his wisdom with the next generation. “I tell young people they’re in a different world today than when I started out in the late 1940s,” he told The Institute in 2014. “In those days, companies were more supportive of their employees; their professional development was a priority. Now young professionals often have to learn these skills on their own.”

Through his mentorship, “Uncle Ted” helped many volunteers feel as though they did not have to go it alone.

“Ted’s support of [students and young professionals] was outstanding,” says Francisco Martinez, 2021 director of the IEEE Foundation. “He motivated them not only to improve their professional skills but also to continue their involvement with IEEE.”


Augmented-Reality Platform Lets Consumers Customize Products

Augmented-Reality Platform Lets Consumers Customize Products

Interactive 3D and augmented reality online are making it easier for car manufacturers, fashion brands, and other businesses to design and produce their products. The platform developed by startup Emersya of Montpellier, France, pioneered the approach for product development, allowing teams to collaborate in 3D on design from ideation to market.

Companies purchase a subscription to access Emersya’s platform. From there, company designers upload a 3D model of their product and then start building their collections, selecting colors, materials, and graphics before determining which to sell.





Montpellier, France



Emersya can create a configurable 3D model of an item that can be displayed on the manufacturer’s website so that customers can view the product while deciding whether to purchase it. The virtual product can be rotated 360 degrees, and in some cases can be customized by the customer. When customers are purchasing a car, for example, they can choose the vehicle’s exterior and interior colors as well as add-ons such as a sunroof.

Emersya’s interactive viewers are embedded on the websites of more than 1,000 retailers.

For its innovation, Emersya was named the winner of the 2022 3D Retail Coalition Digital Transformation Grand Challenge. The award, from the IEEE Standards Association, recognizes a solution that transforms the way companies create, make, and sell new products by harnessing the power of scaling and automation of 3D digital product creation.

“We’re happy to get this prize because it highlights what we’ve worked on for years and shows that we are offering what the industry needs right now,” says cofounder Aurélien Vaysset, the startup’s CEO. “No other platform is doing what we do. Our customers can create whatever they dream of on our platform, rather than being confined to select features, and in only a few minutes.”

Speeding up product development

Design teams don’t have to have a technical background to use Emersya’s platform, Vaysset says, because it is built to be simple and intuitive.

Designers start by uploading a 3D model of the product they want to produce. There are free tools available to create a 3D model if the team using Emersya does not have a design background. Emersya’s customer support team can assist as well.

When the 3D asset has been created, it can be used to create an interactive and AR product experience for retail. It can be animated to enable customers to simulate product features, visualize interior components, and enlarge the view to get a better look.

white running shoes with an arrow pointing to 3 different colored running shoes with an arrow pointing to a laptop screen with a deconstructed running shoe
Using Emersya’s augmented-reality platform, a company’s designer, like this sneaker manufacturer, can build a 3D model of its product. The 3D asset can then be displayed on the manufacturer’s website so that customers can view the product to decide whether to purchase it.Emersya

The designers can share the virtual product with other team members for feedback, which they can provide directly on the platform by leaving notes. Collaborators can rate the designs on a scale of 1 to 5 so that teams can vote to determine their favorite.

Once the final design or designs are selected, and the company is ready to sell the product, an HTML link is automatically generated to embed the 3D visualization on the retailer’s website.

Customers can go online to examine the 3D representation and learn more about the item’s features. If, for example, customers are deciding whether to purchase a baseball cap, they can click on the image to read about the hat’s features, and they can rotate it to see different angles.

Emersya also can provide product information in different languages.

Customization: The future of retail

Emersya’s platform can help customers create their own custom products. Appliance manufacturer KitchenAid, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Mich., integrates Emersya’s 3D configurator on its website to let customers choose the color of the doors and handles. Surf clothing brand Billabong, headquartered in Gold Coast, Australia, allows customers to select a range of colors and prints for their wetsuit and to add text if they like.

Emersya also offers an augmented-reality tool for retailers to incorporate on their websites and embed on their mobile apps. The tool enables customers to visualize their selected product for scale in their physical surroundings.
Luggage retailer Samsonite USA, headquartered in Mansfield, Mass., incorporates the AR technology on its website so customers can select a suitcase and then take a photo of themselves to gauge the relative size of the luggage. The AR feature gives customers a more comprehensive view of the product—which helps them make a more informed decision, Vaysset says.

Samsonite’s interactive Web AR experience powered by Emersya

A monthly subscription starts at a little more than US $300 (€290) for a small project and goes up from there depending on the company’s size, the number of collaborators, and the number of products and configurations designed.

Ready to ship while reducing waste

Many of the businesses that use Emersya’s platform manufacture on demand instead of in mass quantities. “It saves companies from making more than they can sell,” Vaysset notes.

That is especially true of fashion-industry companies, which typically offer collections split into four seasons: spring/summer, autumn/winter, resort, and pre-fall.

“Overproduced products have a big impact on the environment, and our goal is to help companies be environmentally friendly,” Vaysset says. “Not to mention, being wasteful is expensive for companies.”

He adds that providing more product information and—in some cases—customization options to customers reduces returns.

Every year, companies in the United States spend almost $50 billion on product returns. The returned goods are responsible for massive landfill waste and produce more than 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to an article in Fast Company.

Vaysset became interested in interactive 3D for the Web in 2008 while pursuing his master’s degree in computer science and computer graphics at École Supérieure d’Ingénieurs de Luminy, in Marseille, France. The technology was emerging at the time, and he recognized an opportunity to apply it for product development online.


IEEE’s Honor Society Gave This Boston University Student Tools to Succeed

IEEE’s Honor Society Gave This Boston University Student Tools to Succeed

When Joseph Greene was inducted into IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu almost a decade ago, the undergraduate EE student never imagined the impact IEEE-HKN would have on his life. As a member of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Boston University, he learned leadership and communications skills while accepting different roles. Through his network of honor society members, he also found a mentor who helped him get an internship at a major research institute in Georgia.

“What I find incredibly alluring about IEEE-HKN,” Greene says, “is that not only can I engage with this organization that’s brought so many benefits to me, but I also get to work with others to have an impact outside the walls of IEEE-HKN.”

Now a Ph.D. candidate in computational imaging at BU, Greene continues to be involved with the honor society by mentoring grad students and organizing events to engage alumni.

An active and involved volunteer

Greene’s parents are not engineers. He says he picked up his love of engineering from the science fairs he participated in throughout middle school and high school in Westford, Mass. Also, his father, a senior sales manager for Thermo Fisher Scientific, a provider of medical equipment headquartered in Waltham, Mass., exposed Greene to the field of medical imaging by bringing him along to trade shows.

“It was there that I got to explore and engage with a diversity of different engineers,” Greene says. “It was really those experiences that helped show me the fascinating products you can realize and the amazing applications you can apply those technologies to with a little bit of engineering know-how.”

While a freshman in high school, Greene took a mechanical engineering course, which he says solidified his decision to pursue an engineering career.

“As our final project, we built a modified chair to support one of the students at our school who had special needs,” Greene says. “She had a tendency of injuring herself if she sat on too rigid a structure. What was memorable about this project is that it was my first chance to experience how engineering can be applied to have a tangible impact.” For his high school senior project, he built a movement-tracking eyeball robot using an Arduino microcontroller with ultrasound detectors.

He got involved with IEEE-HKN in 2014 after attending an event held by the Kappa Sigma chapter at BU, where he was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

“I really enjoyed spending time with the community,” he says, “so when I had the opportunity to join its ranks and have an impact on the local campus and bond more with my peers, I was ecstatic.”

After that he became active in the chapter’s events such as tutoring students for upcoming tests and finding speakers from the university or local companies to talk about their research projects to students.

He also created several programs for the honors society, including an Arduino and coding workshop for high school students and BU undergrads. Greene was a guest lecturer for an introduction to engineering course at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, also in Boston.

“If you want to make sure that you’re on the forefront of engineering leadership, you should definitely consider joining IEEE-HKN. It makes sure you have the opportunity, resources, and network to thrive and succeed.”

One of his favorite activities, he says, has been building a sense of community among the honor society’s members.

“When our chapter was struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, I held virtual town hall meetings and game nights, where students could congregate, talk about their concerns in an open environment, have some fun, and forget about their worries for a brief moment,” he says. “By offering a consistent community and safe space, our events impacted approximately 30 to 50 students over the year and also helped our chapter focus on community service to overcome the challenges of COVID.”

Greene became more involved in leading the chapter, holding several positions including vice president and president. He also served as a student governor on the IEEE-HKN board.

“The thing that’s impacted me most about IEEE-HKN is that by engaging as a volunteer, you’re taken seriously,” he says. “For example, when I served on the board of governors, I was one of two students on this board of very impressive professionals with long, successful careers, and my voice was taken as seriously as theirs. My vote counted just the same as theirs.

“I felt like when I gave my opinions, the rest of the board was more than willing to listen, engage, and help me build my vision for the organization as a whole. It truly was a defining experience that gave me the opportunity to grow as a student leader.”

Greene participated in several of the society’s student leadership conferences, where he was a presenter and keynote speaker.

It wasn’t until he attended his first IEEE-HKN international student leadership conference, held in Boston in 2019, that he realized just how large the honor society was.

“It was awesome to be in the same room with like-minded student leaders from across the world, collaborating on great ideas about how they can benefit not just the organization but also the community outside the walls of IEEE-HKN,” he says.

Kappa Sigma received the 2021 IEEE-HKN Outstanding Chapter Award for its activities.

man and woman standing in front of a large blue curved sign that reads u201cIEEE-Eta Kappa Nuu201d
Joseph Greene and IEEE-HKN’s program director Nancy Ostin display the honor society’s banner at the 2022 IEEE-HKN Student Leadership Conference. Joseph Greene

Helping other grad students succeed

Even after earning his bachelor’s degree in EE in 2018 and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering in 2019, Greene has continued to volunteer.

He launched and runs a number of events and programs for his fellow grad students to show them the value of their membership and keep them involved with IEEE.

One is a professional-to-student mentoring program that partners people from industry and academia with students to build working relationships between the two as well as provide career, technical, and personal advice. Since the program launched last year, Greene says, more than 40 people from five continents have participated.

“Across the board, students find the experience invaluable,” he says, “and carry their mentoring relationships well beyond the end of the program.”

Another of his creations is the IEEE-HKN GradLab YouTube podcast series, which he says covers “everything about grad school that they don’t teach you in a classroom.”

“How to Survive and Thrive in Your First Semester of Grad School” is one of Greene’s podcasts.

The series addresses topics such as how to survive the first semester, ways to mitigate conflict, and learning what it takes to transition from graduate school to a career in industry or academia.

“We try to give graduate students the tools they need to succeed,” he says. “Going through graduate school myself, there’s a lot you end up figuring out along the way!”

The importance of mentorship and soft skills

Greene, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in computational imaging, is on track to graduate next year.

He describes computational imaging as a mixture of optical design, algorithms, and deep learning to try to push the physical limits of conventional systems.

He spent his summer this year as a graduate research intern at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, in Atlanta. There he applied his knowledge of computational imaging to remote sensing technologies, and he explored the effects of atmospheric propagation and turbulence on remote sensing tools.

He credits his mentor—M. Ryan Bales, IEEE-HKN president—for helping him get the internship. The IEEE senior member is a chief scientist with GTRI’s Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications Laboratory.

Greene says he believes every student needs a mentor.

“What I found most rewarding about having a mentor is they offer a much broader perspective than just your collegiate needs,” he says. “Ryan and I discuss everything, from what I want out of a career and what will matter to me five or 10 years down the line in terms of formulating my career, to skills to help me get through the Ph.D. program and even personal advice such as managing a work-life balance.”

Greene credits IEEE-HKN with giving him the soft skills that many employers are looking for.

“College teaches you how to invest well in your technical skills, and it does a phenomenal job of preparing you for the workforce. “However,” he says, “there are many other aspects I found from my internships that go into being a complete professional, such as the leadership, project management, and soft skills I was able to grow through IEEE-HKN.

“If you want to make sure that you’re on the forefront of engineering leadership, you should definitely consider joining IEEE-HKN. The organization, staff, and volunteers are dedicated toward making sure you have the opportunity, resources, and network to thrive and succeed.”


IEEE President’s Note: Connecting the Unconnected

IEEE President’s Note: Connecting the Unconnected

At IEEE, we know that the advancement of science and technology is the engine that drives the improvement of the quality of life for every person on this planet. Unfortunately, as we are all aware, today’s world faces significant challenges, including escalating conflicts, a climate crisis, food insecurity, gender inequality, and the approximately 2.7 billion people who cannot access the Internet. Bridging the divideThe COVID-19 pandemic exposed the digital divide like never before. The world saw the need for universal broadband…Source: IEEE SPECTRUM NEWS