The Beginning (1971-2000)
Digging into the IEEE organisation records uncovered a letter dated 15 Dec 1971, from Emily Sirjane, Manager, Membership services to Mr HB Shah, Bombay informing the approval of the petition to establish Bangalore Subsection of the India Section on 14 Dec 1971. The letter goes on to add that the territory of the new Subsection was all the state of Mysore. Mr PN Hiriyannaiah, founder secretary/treasurer of Bangalore Section recounting the establishment of Bangalore subsection and initial activities said, “IEEE Bangalore sub-section was established at the instance of the then India Section and the initiative of two senior members, Mr L Subramanyam of Bombay Section and Dr HV Gopalakrishnan. When they thought about it, they wanted a firm ground to start and a dynamic person with professional attitude to take over the chairmanship. Hence Mr Ravi L.Kirloskar was approached and he not only accepted to become Chairman, but also contributed to its growth. He attended all the committee meetings and gave both secretarial help and financial support. The India Section found the growth phenomenal. Bangalore sub-section was asked to host Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) during 1975, which turned out to be very successful with technical sessions at the premises of the Institute of Engineers and the exhibition at Banquet Hall of Vidhana Soudha.”
The number of members as on 31 Dec 1976 was 313 consisting of 240 higher grade members and 73 student. In comparison, as on 31 Dec 2000, membership stands at 1657 ( Higher grade: 1188 and Students: 469). The higher grade members include 4 Fellows, 99 Senior members, 744 members and 341 Associate Members. There were 18 Life members in the higher grade members.
Membership profile over the years
Over the years, the composition of the membership has gradually changed, in keeping with the shifting pattern of employment. In the early years, most of the members were drawn from the R & D, public sector establishments, and various IT and Start-up companies such as the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Defence R&D laboratories (DRDO), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), and C-DoT, while in the last decade the bulk of the membership has come from the leading Communication and Computer companies such as TCS, Infosys and technology start-ups. The nature of activities has gradually evolved to meet the changing and more diverse needs of the membership.
A major event of the Section was the International Conference that was organized jointly with the Indian Institute of Science in December 1984, to commemorate both the IEEE Centennial and the Platinum Jubilee of the IISc. The conference was titled “International Conference on Computers, Systems and Signal Processing”. This conference featured a large number of papers (more than 300), by a galaxy of very prominent researchers, and was scheduled in 7 parallel tracks.
A subsequent International conference on Communications, Control and Signal Processing, held in July 2000, was also well attended. The conference was inaugurated by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India. Plenary talks were given by Prof. T Kailath and Dr Narayan Hingorani. 82 technical papers were presented in 18 sessions over three days.
As already mentioned, the ACE ’75 was hosted when Bangalore was a sub-section under India Section. The Section hosted the ACE during 1990 titled “Technology Scenario for the Nineties”.
Section Annual symposium
The Annual Symposium titled “Symposium on Intelligent Systems”, was launched in 1991. The title remained same till 1997. Later the Symposium is run with different titles. The Symposium in 2000 on ‘Telecom and Internet technologies for the Net economy’ featured two plenary talks by Prof. VU Reddy and Dr Uday Shukla. Two tutorials and several papers were the other highlights. The major objective of these symposia has been to encourage young researchers and students to present their work. Recently, the papers submitted for the Varadan Memorial Student Paper Contest of the Section have been scheduled for presentation at the Annual Symposium.
The most frequent activity has been technical lectures, on a wide variety of topics. The visits by the IEEE Technical Activities Board delegations have drawn very large and responsive attendance from both members and nonmembers. Visits as part of the IEEE Distinguished Lecturer Series have been very successful. Apart from this, on many occasions visitors to Bangalore have been invited to give technical talks. In recent years, many tutorial programs have been arranged, to help the members in their efforts to keep their skill set up-to-date. Some of the prominent speakers include Dr Paulraj, Dr Sreedhar Mitta and Prof. SS Iyengar. In 2000, a small begining was made to reach the technical activities to the professionals residing in and around Mysore by organising a Section colloquium at Mysore.
Annual General body Meeting
AGM is the time for the IEEE members to get together to know the summary of the previous year’s activities. to honour the members, who got special recognition/awards, to distribute paper contest prizes and to elect executive committee for the new year. This is also the time where the spouses of members take part in the event in a relaxed setting usually held in a star hotel. Several prominent people who were honoured include Prof. Indiresan apart from IEEE Fellows.
The Section newsletter, the ‘Broadcast’, was launched as a Quarterly in 1997, with Mr. S.V. Sankaran as its Editor. The Web page was set up on 19 Feb 2000 by Mr. Arjuna Rao Chavala. These two media form a strong and reliable link of communication to the members. Prof. K Rajgopal maintained email based communication with members who have email addresses for several years. A mailing list for the Section executive committee and a mailing list for professionals interested in IEEE activities were launched in the year 2000. An email account with VSNL (email@example.com) too has been started to serve as a permanent electronic address for IEEE Bangalore Section.
The Section launched an Industrial Electronics/Control Systems joint chapter, a Computer Society chapter, a Power Engineering chapter, an Industrial Applications chapter and an Industrial Electronics chapter in 1982. Some of the founding Chairmen of these chapters were Mr N Ramachandra, Prof. V Rajaraman and Prof. K Parthasarathy. Some of the later Chairmen of the Computer Society Chapter included Prof. LM Patnaik and Dr R Srinivasan. The Computer Society chapter was active in the late 1980’s, and then became inactive in the early 1990’s. Other chapters had a few years of fruitful operation, and then had to be discontinued, due to relocation of office-bearers, and changes in the interests of members. The Computer society chapter has been revived in the year 2000 with Mr S Nagarajan as Chairman, as part of a Computer, Communication and Engineering Management Joint Chapter,and is operating successfully. A Signal Processing Society Chapter was launched in 2000 with Prof. VU Reddy as the Chairman. The GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) group of the Bangalore Section was formed on August 3, 2000 with Mr A Anoop as the Chairman. Since its formation, the group has conducted several programs, attended mainly by young engineers from the IT industry. The group has been successful in generating enthusiasm about the IEEE among the young engineers in Bangalore.
During the early period, the Bangalore Section encouraged students to become members. The section offered incentive to students with one year subscription to the membership from the Section. Mr Ravi L .Kirloskar also offered the incentive from his company.
The branch at the Indian Institute of Science was started in 1981, and was active till the 1990s. Intially all student members within the Section took an active part in this branch, and helped to run the K. Ramakrishna Memorial Lecture and Contest. Prof. K. Rajgopal of this branch won the Best Counsellor award. Subsequently, student branches were formed in all parts of the state. The student branch at the Karnataka Regional Engineering College, Surathkal was started in 1988. KREC Surathkal student branch won the student branch membership growth award during 1991 and won a Bronze award in IEEE worldwide student branch website contest during 1997-1998. The Sri Jaychamarajendra College of Engineering Branch in Mysore was formed in 1992. The KLE Society Engineering College in Bagalkot has held paper contests, and its Counsellor, Mr. Suresh Jangamshetti, won the Best Counsellor award. Branches have been formed at RV college of engineering and at Ghousia College of Engineering in Channapatna. A new branch at the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore started functioning from 2000. A total of 18 student branches have been started over the years. Some of the Professors who guided the student branches were Prof. MH Dhananjaya (SJCE), Prof. DB Fakruddin(KREC) and Prof. Kumara Sharma(MIT).
SJCE and MIT have been very active branches with annual technical event called Cyberia and Intellect respectively. UVCE student branch has been reactivated in 2001 and they conducted their technical event called Impetus.
Mr BRV Varadan memorial student paper contest
Mrs BRV Varadan, who was residing in Bangalore donated money to be used for perpetuating the memory of her husband Mr BRV Varadan. Mr Varadan was a member of IEEE Delhi Section and had a special liking for IEEE. The Section instituted a student paper contest named after Mr BRV Varadan in 1991. Several students of various engineering colleges in Karnataka won the contest over the years. In 2000, a separate contest for post graduate students has been launched.
IEEE Fellows who have belonged to the Section include Dr.M Ramamoorty, Dr. M Vidyasagar, Prof MAL Thathachar, Prof LM Patnaik, Dr. Paulraj and Prof N Viswanadham and Prof. VU Reddy. Several IEEE awards for technical excellence were won by several members. Some of the notable awardees include by Prof LM Patnaik, Dr Anurag Kumar and Dr Kumar N Sivarajan.
Mr Ravi L Kirloskar became the Chairman of the India Council after Mr FC Kohli’s term. Later Mr PN Hiriyannaiah succeeded him. Prof. HP Khincha, Chairman of the Section during 1986-87 has been Secretary of Region 10, Chair of India Council and also held several IEEE Headquarters posts. Prof. H.P.Khincha, Prof. Lawrence Jenkins, Mr S Parameswaran, Prof. K Rajgopal, Mr SV Sankaran, Dr Surendra Pal and Mr KN Srinivasan were awarded IEEE Millenium medals. GOLD group was awarded IEEE Gold leadership recognition award during 2001. Several members received awards and recognition from other professional societies such as IETE.
Visits of Dignitaries
During the early periods of Section’s history, there were several visits by IEEE Presidents from headquarters almost every year. Mr Guarrera, Mr Dillard were the early IEEE Presidents who visited the Section during 1970’s Dr Charles Alexander, IEEE president visited the Section during April 1997. Technical Activities Board Colloquium team comprising of Dr Michael S Adler and a team of 6 visited the Bangalore Section during 1999. Several Chairmen and some executive committee members of the Section participated in Sections congress and Region 10 meetings.
The Section played a major role in the starting of Proficience, an evening course program run by the Centre of Continuing Education of the Indian Institute of Science, with involvement from a group of professional organizations in Bangalore. The program has run since 1981, and has made available to professionals a wide variety of high-quality graduate level courses. The Section is represented on the Proficience Governing board, and its members have served as Coordinators of the program.
In 1990, an IEEE task group headed by Prof. NJ Rao, IISc critically evaluated the under graduate programme in Electrical and Electronic engineering curricula and prepared a resource document which became a catalyst for revamping the curricula.
Outlook for the future
The past 40 years constitute a period of strong growth in membership and a consolidation in activities. The Section is in very good financial health, and good precedents and traditions have ensured that it functions in a smooth and consistent manner. We have been fortunate in attracting a dedicated and talented group of volunteers to serve on the Executive Committee. Their involvement has guaranteed the type and quantum of technical activities that are mandated by the large and diverse membership, and holds out hope for the successful and fruitful operation of the Section in the future. Major concerns remain, the most important being the health and growth of student branches, and the establishment and running of society chapters. These are some of the challenges to inspire future office-bearers. The Section can look forward to becoming the leading IEEE section of India in the next 40 years.