Talk:Expanded Definition of Milestones

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Changes to Milestones Definition -- Juancarlos (talk) 05:44, 26 October 2016 (CDT)

The suggested expanded definition of an IEEE Milestone seeks to clarify many operational aspects (like language, geographic distribution, . . .) that do not contribute to the core attributes of importance, significance, excellence which have made the program so valued and appreciated all over the world.

Their inclusion in the text dilutes the key condition of historic significance which we, the Committee have to preserve for the Program to keep its value and in honor of the traditional high-standards that have been sought for the previous Milestones, always the most outstanding achievements.

There is a perception by many that somehow the condition of being a truly outstanding achievement may not be met in some present-day proposals. In the proposed definition the issue of the threshold of importance (requested by members of the Committee) is not being properly addressed. The definition of the IEEE Milestone should focus on and deliver the message of enhancing the value of the key attributes and relegate the secondary clarifications into a different piece of text.

I propose to add "the most" in the first phrase of the definition, as follows:

The IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honors THE MOST significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE."

As to the listing of fields -which is NOT mentioned as a subject needing clarification, FIRST I think it is not necessary and SECOND I strongly disagree with many of the listed ones. We must preserve the historically coveted value of the IEEE Milestones in Electrical and Computing Engineering, not popularize them by loosening and losing their true character. And which is the intended difference between "areas" and "fields" ?

Responses to History Cttee questions & Proposed action (JV) -- Administrator7 (talk) 21:49, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Some of the details the History Committee suggested ought to be considered were

1. Whether we have too many milestones, or too few;

In my opinion, we have too many. For example, last year we approved a milestone for a hydroelectric plant. This was the 16th milestone for a hydroelectric plant. There are on the order of 1,000 hydroelectric plants in the world, so, do we have ~984 more to go? ;-).

Should our milestones not be peer-reviewed at least as thoroughly as our publications are? Our publications are reviewed by a minimum of 3 experts. The acceptance rate of a good journal is on the order of 30%. What is our acceptance rate for milestones? Since I'm involved in the HistCom, it seems to be 100%. Moreover, everyone here has the same vote regardless of expertise.

2. Whether a Milestone proposal must meet a "threshold of importance" ;

Yes - for the reasons stated above. I'd like to see our milestone proposals reviewed by experts in the society or council whose scope includes the subject of the milestone.

3. Whether to rename the program;

Absolutely yes! The IEEE is a lot more today than just EE and CS. We need to catch up with IEEE's governing documents.

Nearly 20 years ago, the Board of Directors passed a resolution that states, per last para. at "Only the letters I-E-E-E may be used as the name of the organization. IEEE has grown over the years to represent a much wider array of technical interest areas than 'electrical and electronics engineering.' "

Shortly thereafter, our bylaws were changed to what is presently Bylaw I-104.11, "The IEEE-designated fields..." - see below.

Correspondingly, other parts of our governing documents had been changed. For example, per Bylaw I-102, "For admission or transfer to the grade of Senior Member, a candidate shall be an engineer, scientist, educator, technical executive, or originator in IEEE-designated fields (Bylaw I-104.11)." Similarly, "Member. The grade of Member is limited to those who have satisfied IEEE-specified educational requirements and/or who have demonstrated professional competence in IEEE-designated fields of interest."

Bylaw I-104.11, IEEE-designated fields of interest include "Engineering; Computer sciences and information technology; Biological and medical sciences; Mathematics; Physical sciences."

Specify a limit to how many milestones can be proposed in a calendar year (or specify that there is no limit)

Specify a limit to how many milestones an organizational unit may dedicate (or specify that there is no limit)

Specify a limit to how many milestones a geographic area may dedicate (or specify that there is no limit)

These three are unnecessary if we have proper peer review of milestone proposals.

WRT the PROPOSED ACTION: Resolved that IEEE History Center staff replace the existing definition of an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing with the following revised definition (in bold) on the Milestone Program Guidelines page on the ETHW,

I propose that we divide the question into two parts: 1) That the existing definition of an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing be replaced with one that conforms to IEEE's governing documents, and then discuss what the new name should be. One possibility is "an IEEE Milestone in Electrotechnology."

Note that IEEE's Mission, Vision, Core Values, Strategic Plan... carefully avoids the use of EE and CS. I believe that we should too. See

Amendment to the proposed definition of Milestones -- Apyuste (talk) 08:33, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

To me, the discussion it is not whether too many or too few milestones, but if a technical achievement deserves to be raised to the brand category of an IEEE Milestone.

Since the general tendency is to increase the number of designated fields and to broaden the type of potential achievements, I find quite difficult to draw an objective clear line to separate those ones deserving from those ones not deserving to be named as a Milestone. So, my opinion is more favorable to replace the current advocacy duty for a blind reviewing process to be carried out by two or three reviewers. This suggestion goes one step further from John Vig’s idea, in the sense that in addition to call up for reviewers I propose to delete the advocate-leading figure.

In relation to the name of the program, I am in favor of changing. But, unlike opinions coming before me, I think more interesting to take advantage of such a consolidated and well-known brand as “Milestones” and name the program as, simply, “IEEE Milestones Program”. This label is: short, clear, and very able to embrace both current and future designated fields.

Let me one clarification about the expression ‘product’. In according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), products can be classified into goods and services. Then, once the expression ‘product’ is used, the word ‘service’ comes to be redundant.

I also suggest to replace the word “paper” for “publication” in order to expand the set of “documents” eligible for a Milestone.

I suggest deleting the IEEE student’s branches as sponsoring units. On the other hand, I suggest adding up the IEEE Regions to the group of Milestone sponsoring units.

The use of the term “Regional” is too troublesome. It is not only that there is not a general consensus about what a region means and how many squared kilometers should comprise. But, it is that depending of which country in the world, the meaning of region can be totally different. Therefore, I suggest suppressing that word but, at the same time, keeping the meaning by using the general expression: “major geographical importance” or “remarkable geographical importance”.

I find the last paragraph with those “no maximum or minimum number” declarative sentences absolutely not necessary. Coming back to the start of my post, the point should not be weather there are or there should be many or few milestones, but if those selected really deserves to be distinguished with such brand recognition as an IEEE Milestone.

All my aforementioned comments have been incorporated into a new amended definition to Milestones as shown next:

The IEEE Milestones Program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE. The designated fields are: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. It is a program of the IEEE History Committee, administered through the IEEE History Center. Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products (either goods or services), seminal publications, and patents. Milestones honor the achievement, rather than a place or a person. Milestones are proposed by any IEEE member, and are sponsored by any one or more IEEE Organizational Unit(s) (OU) such as IEEE region(s), section(s), society(ies), or chapter(s). To be proposed as an IEEE Milestone, an achievement must be at least 25 years old, have benefited humanity, and must have had a major geographical importance. The achievement must not be the subject of current litigation.

The official IEEE plaque is the English-language plaque. The sponsoring organizational unit(s) may, at their expense, request a plaque or plaques in other languages. The translation must be made—or validated by—a third-party professional translator at the sponsoring organizational unit(s)’ expense.