Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – March 2017

We will resume our look at early issues of Pulse to note some of the significant events of past years. We start with the May 1985 issue.

The Section and the Intelligent Robots Sub-chapter co-sponsored a talk on “The Design of Intelligent Robots.” The Speaker was Professor George Wu of the University of Michigan. He described the design of a feedback control loop to obtain fine robot motions. These were still early days of robot development, and it was interesting to know that our Section was keeping up with the latest developments.

A forum on “Consulting as an Alternate Career” was one of our Section’s PACE activities. Several members of our newly formed Consultants Network gave their views on being a consultant and suggestions for success.

The June issue had an announcement of a tour of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center. The tour gave many insights as to how aircraft controllers for the metropolitan New York area worked.

Our Communication Society Chapter presented a talk on “Satellite Television – The Space Age Transmission System” by Peter Lubell of HBO. He traced the evolution of satellite delivered TV services from 1975 to the then present. He chronicled all of the changes in technology and regulatory environment over the past ten years. He noted that one of satellite TV’s early successes was the late Mohammed Ali’s prize fight the “Thriller in Manilla” had much to do with popularizing the technology.

The Section’s September meeting was co-sponsored by its Artificial Intelligence Committee. The talk was “In – Ate Fault Diagnosis as Expect Guided Search” by Richard Fantone of the Automated Reasoning Corp. It was an expert system that guided a technician that serviced electronic systems. In – Ate’s database was able to change by adding prior experience as to which is the best method of detecting a system fault. By now, we have expert systems to aid in medical diagnosis and many other fields.

Our MTT and AP Society Chapters presented a talk on “Radio Astronomy A Challenge for the Microwave Industry” by Dr. Sander Weinreb, who was then at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Greenbank, WVA. He showed the types of sensitive receivers and specialized antennas that are needed to obtain signals from distant galaxies. Radio astronomy receivers are now an integral part of many of NASA’s space telescopes.

A talk on “High-Speed Digital IC Performance Outlook” by Dr. Paul Greiling of Hughes Research Laboratory was jointly sponsored by the MTT and Computer Society Chapters. He emphasized the use of gallium arsenide to get higher clock rates that were then attainable with silicon IC’s. With recent advances in CMOS and Silicon – germanium processing technology, silicon IC’s still dominate, but at the time of this talk, GaAs ICs were the way to go.

The September issue also contained a Section Endorsement of our own Henry Bachman who was running for 1986 IEEE President. He was elected and served as President in 1987. Henry was given our Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Looking back at these issues reinforces the importance of engineers keeping up with advances in the field and that the opportunities our Section provided over 30 years ago clearly served that purpose. Our Section continues in that tradition, which, in my view, is one of the best of many benefits of IEEE membership.

Acknowledgment: I wish to thank our former Historian, Rod Lowman for saving these issues of Pulse and for Jim Colotti for making many of them available in the Pulse archive on our section’s website.