IEEE Central Coast News Volume 2, Number 4 (Spring 2001)

IEEE Central Coast News

Volume 2, Number 4
Spring 2001


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:

Get all the latest LA area news at the IEEE Los Angeles Council Electronic Bulletin

link to past Newsletters: Volume 1, Number 1Volume 1, Number 2Volume 1, Number 3
Volume 2, Number 1   Volume 2, Number 2    Volume 2, Number3Meet Our New Interim Chair!

We are happy to introduce Dr. Medhat Ibrahim, who will be replacing Marty Kaliski as Central Coast Section Chair. He retired from Fresno State where he served as Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1992-1995. We wish Dr. Ibrahim the best of luck with the Section and thank him for agreeing to serve.

from Dr. Medhat Ibrahim

I have agreed to serve as Chair of the Central Coast Section of the IEEE to save all the achievements attained so far. I am also convinced that the Central Coast Section should continue to play its role in fostering the objectives and goals of the IEEE in our area of the country. We should continue to interact both technically as well as socially and be an active part of the IEEE 3 network.

As I reflected on the status of CCS while I was strolling on several beautiful beaches (A must among other things a retired person should do!) somewhere in the world either outside or inside the USA, I realized that the mission of the Central Coast Section should continue for the sake of the membership.

I have worked in industry as well as universities. I am a member of some national IEEE committees and subcommittees. I look forward to meeting and working with all the members of the outgoing, as well the incoming, ExCom.  During my tenure, I hope to interact with as many members of the Section as I can, to get any feedback or suggestions. I am hoping to get a slate of elected officers for the Section as soon as it is possible.
Central Coast Greetings
by Marty Kaliski, Section Chair

The Central Coast Section is undergoing a transition in mid-June. As I indicated in the previous newsletter, I have decided to step down from the job of Section Chair at that time — after running either the Section or its predecessor “subsection” for close to seven years. (Ali Shaban is similarly stepping down from his seven-year stint as Secretary.) Despite fears that we would need to go into a “sleep state,” replacements have emerged! Dr. Medhat Ibrahim (retired EE and Computer Engineering Department Chair from Fresno State) will be replacing me, and Dr. Bill Ahlgren (a professor in my own EE Department at Cal Poly) will be replacing Ali Shaban. We even have a new member-at-large for SLO — Hans Van Tilburg of Infogard.

Medhat and Bill will be interim, “caretaker” officers (although active) until an official election can be put together later in the year. Jerry Skarnulis, our treasurer for the past few years, has offered to stay on as well, at least until the end of this calendar year. It is my hope that our monthly meetings in San Luis Obispo will continue along with the quarterly newsletter. We hope to develop regular meetings in Santa Barbara and Vandenberg as well.

I wish to thank all of the folks who have supported me and the Section over the years, either via their regular meeting attendance or by their volunteering to be speakers. I wish to give special thanks to my Executive Committee for all of their help. I would also be remiss in not explicitly recognizing my long time assistant, Carol Erickson, for her professional and conscientious preparation of our newsletters and her invaluable help with the many other Section clerical matters. Carol has done her fair share too, and has new challenges in her life that will require her full attention, so she will be stepping down as well. She is being replaced by Cal Poly EE Department Administrative Assistant, Stephanie Allen.

Having an IEEE professional section on the Central Coast remains a top priority for me, and so I am delighted that we shall continue. We hope to see you at our various activities during the year ahead.

Keeping You Informed
by John Armstrong, Computer Chapter Chair/Central Coast Representative

Computer Society News
California Conferences from

4-8 Nov: ICCAD 2001, IEEE/ACM Conf. on Computer-Aided Design, San Jose, Calif. Contact Rolf Ernst,

5-10 Nov: 5th Ann. Linux Showcase & Conf., Oakland, Calif.

7-9 Nov: MTAC 2001, Multimedia Technology & Applications Conf., Irvine, Calif. .

11-14 Nov: ICNP 2001, 9th Ann. Int’l Conf. on Network Protocols, Riverside, Calif. Contact Satish Tripathi

26-29 Nov: ASE 2001, 16th Ann. Int’l Automated Software Eng. Conf., San Diego, Calif. Contact Yves Ledru

29 Nov.-2 Dec: ICDM 01, 2001 IEEE Int’l Conf. on Data Mining, San Jose, Calif. Contact Xindong Wu

30 Nov: MBRE 2001, 1st Int’l Workshop on Model-Based Requirements Eng., San Diego, Calif.

2-7 Dec: LISA 2001, 15th Systems Administration Conf., San Diego, Calif.

11-13 Dec: Bluetooth Developers Conf., San Francisco. Contact Terri Lagrisola

7-9 Jan: WORDS 2002, 7th Int’l Workshop on Object-Oriented Real-Time Dependable Systems, San Diego, Calif. Contact Kane Kim

16-17 Jan: InfoWorld Next-Generation Web Services Conf., San Francisco.

18-25 Jan: MMCN, Multimedia Computing & Networking Conf., San Jose, Calif. Contact Prashant Shenoy

28-29 Jan: FAST 2002, Conf. on File & Storage Technologies, Monterey, Calif. Contact Ellie Young

26 Feb.-1 Mar: ICDE 2002, 18th Int’l Conf. on Data Eng., San Jose, Calif. Contact Dimitrios Georgakopoulos

Los Angeles Council News

On May 5th, the Los Angeles Council (LAC) met at UC Santa Barbara in conjunction with the Southern Area Student Paper & Micromouse contests. There were several topics discussed:

    • LAC Bulletin: All the staff was lost last fall, and no one has yet picked up the ball to get the Bulletin edited, printed, and mailed. In the interim, L.A. area meeting notices where you can see the latest information are posted at:


      There is hope though: contact was made with Doug Davolt who publishes the San Francisco area GRID:

http://www. ee. com./grid 

    He feels he can also publish the LAC Bulletin starting in the fall for a reasonable cost. Look for it.
  • Wescon: Dick Doyle and Bruce Angwin, ECI Board Members, discussed the diminishing “profit” the Council takes from the annual Wescon exhibition. There is a large reserve, so the money is there if the council needs it. The IEEE President, Joel Snyder, is looking into dissolving local Wescon management and operating the exhibition with IEEE staff from New Jersey. Everyone here feels that would be a big mistake, but the IEEE headquarters feels consolidation is necessary to cut costs to keep dues from growing.
  • Elections: Like the Central Coast, the Council elections were delayed due to a lack of volunteers. Hopefully the right members will come forward to keep both running well into the future. I understand we still need a person to attend monthly council meetings in L.A. and report; I have enjoyed my term at this job.

Thank You Marty & Ali!

by Jerry Skarnulis, Section Treasurer

I am sure that anyone reading this issue of the newsletter will notice that the current Chair (Marty Kaliski) and Secretary (Ali Shaban) will be resigning in June. As one of the remaining officers of the IEEE Central Coast Section, I would like to personally thank Marty and Ali for the tremendous job they have done over the years.
I have only been associated with them the last three years, but I was very impressed with their support of the Section in the monthly meetings at Cal Poly and the Executive Committee Meetings. Their promotion of the IEEE Central Coast Section and the Student Section has been exemplary. I would also like to thank them for their effort in getting people to replace them so that we can continue for the future.
It has been a pleasure to work with them and I wish their replacements the best of luck.

2000  Income    $6251.05
       Expenses   $5715.79
              Net       $535.26

2001   Income     $5870.40
Expenses thru 6/4  $943.04

 Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)
by Hans van Tilburg, SLO Member-at-Large

In the field of information security, a cryptographic algorithm conceals the plaintext by using an encryption key to encrypt this plaintext into a cipher text. Anyone who has the corresponding decryption key can efficiently decrypt the ciphertext into the original plaintext. Everyone else has to derive the plaintext by using the ciphertext only, and this is supposedly infeasible in a secure cryptosystem.
In the mid-seventies. the invention of public-key cryptography provided the first solution that addressed the needs of security in our modern information society. In a public-key cryptosystem, one key is kept private while the other is made public. This cryptosystem’s security is based on the assumption that it is infeasible to deduce the private key from the public key.
An important property of public-key cryptosystems is the assumption of the existence of one-way functions (i.e., functions that are easy to compute, but difficult to solve in an efficient manner). It has never been proven that one-way functions exist.
There is also a trapdoor one-way function. This is a one-way function where if one knows the trapdoor information, the inverse can be efficiently computed, thus solving the problem. Without the knowledge of the trapdoor information, the function behaves as a regular one-way function.
Numerous public-key cryptosystems have been proposed based on various trapdoor one-way functions. Most of the proposed cryptosystems have been shown to have serious security flaws or were quickly broken.
For a long time, only two types of cryptosystems have been considered secure, efficient, and practical. They both are classified according to the mathematical problem on which their one-way function is based:

  • Integer Factorization Problem (IFP): the RSA algorithm is the best known example; and
  • Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP): examples include the U.S. government’s Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), the Diffie-Hellman key agreement scheme, and the ElGamal encryption and signature schemes.

When Miller and Koblitz proposed public-key systems using a group of points on an elliptic curve, elliptic curve cryptography was born. The underlying mathematical basis for the security of ECC is the computational intractability of the Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDP). Although its application it to cryptography is recent, mathematicians have studied elliptic curves since the seventeenth century. Elliptic curves played an important role in the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
In general, cryptosystems that are based on the DLP can be rewritten as cryptosystems based on the ECDLP. We can, therefore, define elliptic curve cryptosystems that are analogous to the DLP, but based on the ECDLP. Examples of elliptic curve equivalents include:

  • the Elliptic Curve DSA or ECDSA;
  • the Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman key agreement l: scheme: and
  • the Elliptic Curve ElGamal encryption and signature schemes.

On a high level, the two discrete logarithm problems are the same; however, the ECDLP (elliptic curves over finite fields) appears to be much more difficult to solve than the DLP (finite fields). The fundamental reason for this is that the elements in the ECDLP are formed by only one basic operation: the addition of elliptic curve points. In contrast, the elements in the DLP are formed by two basic operations: the addition and the multiplication of field elements.  The power of the ECC lies in the fact that unlike the DLP and the IFP, no sub-exponential time algorithm is known to solve the problem. This means that for increasing key length, the algorithms for solving the ECDLP become infeasible quicker than those algorithms for the IFP and DLP. For this reason, the strength per key bit is substantially greater, which means that smaller key sizes yield equivalent levels of security.
Other advantages of ECC implementations are higher speeds, lower power consumption, lower band-width usage and code-size reduction. This is why ECC offers many advantages and opportunities in the wireless world.


Central Coast Section Executive Committee

Jerry Skarnulis TREASURER
Hans van Tilburg SAN LUIS OBISPO M.A.L.*
Wally Kammer VANDENBERG  M.A.L.*
    *Member at Large

Meeting Summary Notes
by Ali Shaban, Section Secretary

March 31, 2001

Present: Martin E. Kaliski (Section Chair), Jerome Skarnulis (Treasurer), John T. Armstrong (Computer Society Chair), Ali Shaban (Secretary)

Discussion Items:

  • Dr. Kaliski and Dr. Shaban will step down as Chair and Secretary on June 15, 2001, after seven years of service.
  • Jerome Skarnulis will be the caretaker of the Section until the end of the year if nobody volunteers for the Chair position.
  • Carol Erickson wants to end her assistance to IEEE Central Coast Section by June 15, 2001.  The Section account is with IEEE.
  • This will be the last official meeting of the ExCom.
  • The June 2001 meeting will be the final meeting of the Section.
  • The last volume of the newsletter will be mailed out in May. Articles for the newsletter will be sent to Kaliski in two weeks.
  • Wescon was held in February 2001. We received no rebate last year and we do not know if we will receive any this year.
  • No information from the Los Angeles Council.
  • Jerome Skarnulis provided a spreadsheet with the budget for 1999, 2000, and 2001.
  • Shaban will send the last activity report to IEEE headquarters by the end of June.

Upcoming IEEE Meetings

The following speakers are scheduled for June 2001 Central Coast Section meeting:

June 5, 2001:  Jerry Skarnulis, President. Computer Software Design LLC of Santa Barbara, on “Analytical Electron Microscopy–Past, Present and Future.”

Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month (October through June) from 7-8 p.m. in Engineering East Faculty Office Building 20, Room 206 at Cal Poly unless otherwise specified. 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 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 or mailed to the address below. Circulation: 1,017

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