IEEE Central Coast News Volume 1, Number 1 (Summer 1999)

IEEE Central Coast News

Volume 1, Number 1
Summer 1999


The Official Publication of the Central Coast Section of the Los Angeles Council, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Find us on the Web at:

Central Coast Greetings
by Marty Kaliski, Section Chair

As you know by now, the IEEE’s Central Coast Section officially exists and this is our first official newsletter as a section. Formed by coalescing activity in three distinct geographical regions (SLO County, the Santa Barbara area, and Vandenberg Air Force Base), our section is geographically broad and has about one thousand members. We are a member of the Los Angeles Council.

My philosophy as Section Chair is a simple one: we want to send the message to the world that there is meaningful technical activity going on in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. We have been holding monthly meetings at Cal Poly, in San Luis Obispo, during the academic year for several years now. We will continue to do so. We encourage similar meetings at Vandenberg and in Santa Barbara. We will support appropriate technical ventures at both the student and at the professional level. We are, in this vein, committed to the strong support of our student branches and to the development of technical chapters within the section.

This simple newsletter is a start in this direction. We plan to publish it quarterly and we hope you will exploit its presence by letting us know your ideas. You can reach me at or at (805) 756-2781 if you have any questions or suggestions.

North American Power Symposium
  (NAPS): Past, Present & Future
by Ali Shaban, Secretary

A Bit of History

The North American Power Symposium (NAPS), originally the Midwest Power Symposium (MPS), was established to provide an academic setting where students and faculty could discuss research and education programs at their universities. The first Midwest Power Symposium was held in 1969 with the following stated purpose:

"The purpose of the Midwest Power Symposium is to stimulate advanced scholarly work and more research activity in the field of electric power engineering. This symposium is to be a forum where advanced students, their academic advisors, and practicing engineers can present the results of their work, discuss the activities of their colleagues, and publish their technical accomplishments with a minimum time delay."

This statement of purpose has remained unaltered throughout the history of MPS/NAPS. The name change to the North American Power Symposium became effective in 1985. The IEEE Power Engineering Society has been very helpful in publicizing symposiums, as well as encouraging student attendance.

Present Trends, Future Prospects

Since its inception, MPS/NAPS has maintained its student orientation and academic atmosphere. The dedication of power engineering faculty has kept the original purpose alive and spread its impact significantly. Recent meetings indicate that NAPS will continue to provide a valuable experience for graduate students as well as faculty. In addition, with the growing involvement of undergraduates in research, it is likely that future meetings will include more participation by these future engineers.

With the rapidly changing electric utility industry, the challenges of power engineering education and research are reaching new levels. The future prospects for NAPS are visible from another look at its purpose, which included four primary goals:

[Go]NAPS ’99 will be held in San Luis Obispo Oct 11-12. For further information about NAPS ’99, please visit the website EPI/NAPS
  • To stimulate advanced scholarly work: The growth in power engineering activity in all fronts attests to the results of this goal. It remains the underlying motivation for the symposium.
  • To make students the primary focus of the meeting: To this day, presentations of papers by students rather than faculty members are strongly encouraged at NAPS. In many cases, MPS and NAPS have provided the first setting for formal paper presentations by students. This emphasis is expected to remain a strong guideline.
  • To facilitate discussion among colleagues: The interaction among colleagues at MPS/NAPS has remained a valuable forum for future, new and seasoned faculty members. As the number of different host institutions grows, this interaction is expected to grow even further.
  • To allow for early publication: Many benchmark papers on power engineering were initially discussed or presented at MPS/NAPS meetings. Thanks to many participants who donated their holdings, a complete collection of all MPS/NAPS proceedings is on file at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Copyright clearances are being sought to make these available in full duplicate form.

While the topics of discussion at future NAPS meetings are expected to change drastically with the power industry, the overall symposium structure will likely remain in its present form. As Paul Anderson stated in his recent letter about NAPS, "I am a bit surprised that it has survived all these years, but it obviously continues to fill a need."

The Midwest Power Symposium and North American Power Symposium meetings have played a significant role in the careers of many power engineers and faculty. For students, it provides a valuable introduction to the process of making technical presentations. For faculty it is one of the rare examples of a true balance between teaching, research and service. For all groups, it provides an informal atmosphere for interacting with colleagues. The symposium bridges the local university activities and major international society meetings. One of the strengths of NAPS is its diversity in host institutions and unique programs. All recent signs indicate that NAPS will continue to provide a valuable forum for power engineers to grow and strengthen their role in academia and industry.

Reference: G.T. Heydt & P.W. Sauer, "A History of the North American Power Symposium," Proceedings 1994 North American Power Symposium, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, September 26-27, 1994, pp.3-12.

Central Coast Section Treasurer’s Report
by Jerry Skarnulis, Treasurer
The financial consolidation of the separate IEEE Sections into the IEEE Central Coast Section has been completed. We are now in a position to evaluate the different options available to us to get the best return on our money.

We have decided on a budget for the organization’s activities for the coming year. As far as financial health is concerned, I can report that the organization is in the comfortable position to be able to support any of our future plans.

I have composed a series of Expense Directives and created a form that can be used to cover all of the expense reporting for the section. If anyone has payment requests from our section or questions, please contact me at

Keeping You Informed
by John Armstrong, San Luis Obispo Member at Large
To introduce myself, I retired to the Central Coast from Caterpillar in Illinois in 1994, just in time to help Dr. Kaliski organize the San Luis Obispo subsection. I had previously served the IEEE in the Central Illinois section. Starting in ’97, I served as Santa Barbara section Secretary for two years, and helped reorganize it into the Central Coast section with new bylaws. For the past two years, I have served as our representative on the Los Angeles Council (LAC) board, and currently serve as its Secretary. The LAC board is responsible for half ownership of the Wescon electronics convention, and profits from that venture every year fund the LAC bulletin and add greatly to the return that we get from our dues to National IEEE.

The Los Angeles Council reorganized a year and a half ago in order to be more responsive to the needs of the local sections. Under the new bylaws, the local sections directly run the LA Council. A major responsibility is the 16 LA area technical chapters. However, we no longer have a professional staff to create the Bulletin and to respond to member concerns. Your inquiries, which once were handled by the LAC office, must now go to National IEEE in New Jersey. The officers now must do additional chores that previously were performed by paid staff. Through these changes, the LAC has been able to greatly increase the distribution of the annual "surplus" from Wescon. Your LAC board is working to make this smooth, but communication is sometimes difficult.

If you have any concerns or comments about the LAC organization, you can direct them to me at

IEEE Student Branch – Active in 1998-99
by David Braun, IEEE Advisor
The IEEE student branch in San Luis Obispo had a busy, productive year. Their standout activity was upgrading the Electrical Engineering Department’s Student Development Laboratory at Cal Poly to implement an IEEE Student Branch Center of Excellence, made possible by a grant from IEEE. A new computer network was installed and the technical library was expanded.

The student branch also hosted a visit of officers from UCSB’s student branch. The students toured Cal Poly's EE Labs and made plans for more significant exchanges next year.

Other events, held yearly, included IEEE student branch meetings, held once or twice per month with approximately one speaker from industry per month. The club also participated in National Engineers Week, Open House, and the EE Department Banquet.

Publishing Information

IEEE Central Coast News is published quarterly by the Central Coast Section of the Los Angeles Council, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. in San Luis Obispo, California. Inquiries, comments and submissions may be e-mailed to Carol Erickson at or mailed to the address below. Circulation: 968.

IEEE Central Coast Section
c/o Martin Kaliski
Section Chair
2831 El Cerrito
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


Start with the fundamentals of electronics and work your way through switching, analog  (TIA-533)
and digital communication and transmission, speech coding and compression, telephone networks
and standards such as IS-41, IS-136 and IS-95.  Read comments from students, click here.

When: 10-day course, August 23-September 3, 1999

Where: Cal Poly State University

San Luis Obispo, California

Sponsor: Institute for Wireless Education (IWE)

For: Engineers and Technicians

Cost: $3,750

For registration and housing information, contact Diane Van Noy at (805) 756-6320 or