IEEE Central Coast News Volume 1, Number 3 (Winter 2000)

IEEE Central Coast News

Volume 1, Number 3
Winter 2000


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:

link to Volume 1, Number 1 Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 2        .
Central Coast Greetings
by Marty Kaliski, Section Chair

Happy New Year! If you are reading this, then you must have survived the Y2K “crisis” in one piece—at least we hope so.  With the new year upon us, it is time for our annual officer elections.  Alas, our call for nominees brought us no great surprises (as you will see from the enclosed ballot).  Unless I have the ignominious distinction of losing an unopposed election, you will have me as your Chair again for one more year. My goals for the Section remain the same:  to increase the involvement and professional awareness of IEEE members in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties (including Vandenberg AFB).  We are off to a good start—not only have we been holding our long standing monthly meetings in SLO, we began what we hope to be regular meetings in Santa Barbara as well.  We are also in the planning stages for periodic meetings at Vandenberg.  I want to thank all of my fellow officers for their hard work and dedication.  We can candidly say that the Section is in good condition as of this writing.

With a circulation of close to 1,000 members, I know that there are many potential speakers out there, just waiting to be coaxed.  Please consider talking at one of our regional meetings.  We will all benefit from your expertise and experience.  One of the challenges of our leadership group is to keep the momentum of our professional meetings intact, and we need your help.

This newsletter contains some timely and interesting articles.  Of particular note is Wally Kammer’s report on the Sections Congress he attended for me last Fall in Minneapolis.  He characterized this as one of the most rewarding meetings he has ever been to, and you should find his article to be most interesting to read.

Let me once again wish you all a Happy New Year—and we look forward to meeting you this year at one of our planned meetings and activities.

Officer Election Ballot Enclosed with Newsletter

    Enclosed with the paper newsletter is a flier containing your ballot to vote for Central Coast Section officers for the term beginning January 1, 2000 and ending December 31, 2000.  The flier also includes statements from the candidates. Please note that we do not have a candidate for the PACE coordinator position.

Election of Central Coast Section officers shall be by secret letter ballot of Section Members, excluding Student, Affiliate and Associate Members, with a plurality of votes cast being sufficient for election.

[Go]Don’t forget to vote! 
Please mail your ballot by February 18, 2000.

Those eligible to vote must be in good standing and include:

 Life Fellows
Life Senior Members
Life Members
Senior Members
Members The deadline for receipt of your ballot by the Teller’s Committee is 12:00 noon on February 22, 2000; therefore, it is advisable that you mail your ballot by February 18, 2000.

Central Coast Section Treasurer’s Report
by Jerry Skarnulis, Treasurer

We are coming to the end of the Financial Year.  We have stayed within our budget for the year, even though we’ve had some unexpected expenditures.  If anyone has any outstanding expenses for the current Financial Year, please submit them ASAP.

I expect that we will enter the new Financial Year in very good condition and can undertake any new endeavors for the year.

It has come to my attention that a check sent to a member has gone missing. You should receive a check from me within two weeks of  submitting your expense form.  If you don’t please contact me.  I do not request any acknowledgement that the check has been received, so if I don’t hear from you, I assume that everything is OK.

Keeping You Informed

News from John Armstrong, San Luis Obispo Member at Large

I am pleased to announce that I have won election to the Los Angeles Council office of Vice Chair – Chapters. However, only 140 members bothered to return ballots for the uncontested election this year, so it was not a real big deal. My task will be to promote the interests of the 24 Chapters in the L.A. Council area, to help them serve their members, and complete the reporting requirements of IEEE headquarters, while having fun doing it. The L.A. Council helps conduct the WESCON conference every year to earn money that helps support our Sections and Chapters, and the monthly Bulletin. The Chapters are the chief way to network with others in your same specialty and are an important benefit of IEEE membership. I will be actively promoting the rejuvenation of the Central Coast Computer Society Chapter and entertaining requests for additional Society’s Chapters. Contact me if you have an interest in the Computer Chapter or in starting up another one.

Unfortunately, the WESCON income has been falling for the last several years in spite of severe cost cutting by our management company, ECI. This means the money available for distribution to the Sections next year will be cut severely, but an increase in the National rebate will make up some of the difference. In order to maximize the distribution, the Council is working to cut our costs, especially the monthly Bulletin.

As a Council officer, I will be attending the L.A. monthly meetings on a regular basis, but Dr. Kaliski will need to appoint an additional person to represent the Central Coast Section’s interest on the Council.
Section Representatives to the L.A. Council:
1.    Represent the interests of their Section on the Council Committee.
2.    Report on the Council to their Executive Committees.
3.    Participate in the 12 monthly Council Committee meetings.
4.    Participate on the Finance, Publications, or WESCON Support Committees.

The meetings are often held on Saturdays due to travel distances involved, and I will usually be available to car pool. Contact Dr. Kaliski if you have an interest in representing the Central Coast in this capacity, even if only for one meeting or so.

News From Wally Kammer, Vandenberg Member at Large

I had the privilege to attend the IEEE 1999 Section Congress held in Minneapolis this year.  Section Congress is held every four years and is sponsored by IEEE Headquarters.  The proceeding is a formal activity with a representative sent by each section as a voting member.  The activities take place over a period of several days wherein sessions are held on a variety of subjects.  Most presentations were by IEEE members with a few by Headquarters staff. The presentations covered a wide range of subjects and were intended to both inform and stimulate thinking about solutions to problems. In fact, the ultimate objective is to provide guidance to the overall operation of the IEEE, particularly the Sections.  Perhaps some of you may not realize the importance of the IEEE Section.  The function and contribution of the Section is perhaps the single most important part of IEEE membership.  Some examples of issues presented and discussed in this Section Congress include IEEE membership (both US and world), headquarters services and support, member recruitment, Section leadership and organization, member participation, technical publications and technical program development.

I selected to attend sessions on Section development and leadership mainly because of our recent combining of three former Sections into our current Central Coast Section.  I learned a great deal from the presenters coming from other Sections in other parts of the US and world.  Most Sections have similar problems, especially in Section member participation and in filling leadership positions.  Headquarters is encouraging more involvement by this generation of engineers in the leadership of the IEEE Sections through the GOLD program (Graduates of the Last Decade). These are the younger engineers that will be the technical leaders of the future.

There were several excellent sessions on how to approach your employer for support of IEEE activities, including such small but important tasks as program reproduction services and meeting facilities.  This can be a sensitive issue for some employer supervisors and as you may know, IEEE does not allow corporate membership.  At the end of the formal sessions, we gathered into working groups and voted on issues to bring to the general assembly for action.  Much was accomplished and headquarters will publish all of the results.

My feeling is that each of us should have the opportunity to attend a Section Congress and have the opportunity to learn as much as I did.

The Cal Poly Polymer Electronics Lab
by David Braun, EE Department, Cal Poly

The appeal of using paper-thin displays to replace computer monitors and chunky TVs launched a new multidisciplinary program at Cal Poly—the Polymer Electronics Laboratory. Translating such an alluring design concept into practical technology relies on the recently discovered semiconducting plastics. The simplicity and low cost of these materials allowed Cal Poly to assemble a state-of-the-art laboratory to further both research and educational projects. Semiconducting polymers are finding numerous new applications in the areas of large-area electronics, lightweight displays, and portable computing. These paint-on semiconductors also make excellent tools to teach students about semiconductor device concepts and fabrication.

The technology is surprisingly simple. Each pixel in a polymer LED display is a plastic sandwich consisting of a film of semiconducting polymer(s) sandwiched between two electrodes. Polymer LED fabrication usually begins with a transparent and insulating substrate coated with a transparent conductor. A spin coating step is used to deposit one or more polymer layers onto the substrate. After transfer into a vacuum chamber, the top metal electrode is applied using a vacuum evaporation process.

Students not only learn about the new technology in the classroom, they participate in research on how to advance it. Students design, build, and test new polymer LEDs. Students were also instrumental in designing and constructing the facility. Several faculty currently collaborate on the project. They include David Braun from Electrical Engineering, Kevin Kingsbury from Chemistry, Linda Vanasupa from Materials Engineering, Mark Cooper from Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Ron Brown from Physics. Grants from the National Science Foundation and funding from Cal Poly provided the first fabrication equipment and support the research and education projects. More information is available on the Web at

31st North American Power Symposium Attracts World-Wide Participation
by Ali Shaban, EE Department, Cal Poly

It was a pleasure to organize and serve as the general chair of the 31st North American Power Symposium (NAPS) in 1999. NAPS was held in San Luis Obispo on October 11 and 12. The symposium was hosted by Cal Poly, through the Electric Power Institute and the Power Engineering Society, through the Power Engineering Education Committee. A Web site was established for the Symposium in November 1998, which included information on student financial support, the technical program, registration, student lodging, and a Hearst Castle tour. Seventy-nine papers were included in the Proceedings of the 31st Annual North American Power Symposium. Twenty-one papers were from authors outside of North America, and they represented 12 different countries, including Belfast, Brazil, France, Singapore, South Africa, and Sweden. Twenty-five papers were considered for the student prize paper contest. The winners of the contest were:

First Place (from Drexel University): An Educational Hardware and Software Platform for Sub-Transmission and Distribution Systems
Second Place (from the University of Wisconsin-Madison): On the Importance of Customer Location in Demand Management Contracts
Third Place (from the Illinois Institute of Technology): Competitive Energy and Ancillary Service Markets

Funds to assist students with travel, lodging, and registration were provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the College of Engineering, the Electrical Engineering Department, the Electric Power Institute, the IEEE Central Coast Section, Duke Energy, Nevada Power, and Thoma Electric Consulting. We were able to pay 100% of student lodging, registration, and travel expenses. At this point, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank all of our sponsors. A total of 95 participants, consisting of students, faculty and industry representatives attended the conference. Fifteen parallel sessions, a panel session, and a banquet speaker were scheduled and 74 papers were presented. The papers covered topics including deregulated power system, electric machines, fuzzy logic/neural networks, power electronics, state space estimation, transmission and distribution systems, power generation, power engineering education, transformers, power system transients and stability, and power system harmonics/power quality. The conference was a great success.

Upcoming IEEE Monthly Meetings at Cal Poly

February 1, 2000: Walt Bremer on “Geographic Information System (GIS) Technology: A Brief Overview.”

March 7, 2000:  Hermann Thomas on “Light Curtains for Safeguarding, Profiling, and Part Ejection Verification.”

April 4, 2000:  Eric Richardson on “Engineering Telecommunications Networks”

If you are interested in speaking at a Central Coast section meeting 
or being a guest on his weekly radio show “Technology and You,”
please contact Marty Kaliski at:
(805) 756-2781

Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month from 7-8 p.m. in Engineering East Faculty Office Building 20, Room 206 at Cal Poly. Refreshments are available around 6:30 p.m. Meeting information will be announced via e-mail. Please notify Carol Erickson at if you are not receiving these announcements and you would like to.

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: 1012.

IEEE Central Coast Section
c/o Martin Kaliski, Section Chair
EE Department
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407