Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – June 2016

We continue to peruse Pulse issues from 30 years ago starting with April 1986. The Section meeting for that month featured a lecture “A Demonstration of NMR Scanning” by Raymond Damadian, MD of Fonar. NMR is an acronym for nuclear magnetic resonance which was the phenomenon that was the basis of MRI. Dr. Damadian and his company were one of the earliest to market an MRI instrument. I recall being at that lecture and was duly impressed. Dr. Damadian some years later, made the newspapers for protesting his not winning the Nobel Prize. Credit for the original invention was given two professors from Stony Brook University. However, Dr. Damadian’s work contributed in a major way towards making the MRI the reliable diagnostic imaging technique that we have all benefited from.

The Computer Society’s lecture was “Digital Audio: Perspective” by David Smith of Editel. This was an era where digital communication was in the process of replacing analog and its benefits needed to be explained to engineers. We take for granted that almost all audio is now digitized by it was not yet the case then.

Our Section’s AI Committee sponsored a talk on “Determining the Relevance of CUES; a New type of Decision Support” by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz of Grumman. He described how a computer can be programmed to sift through data to make correct decisions.

The Section’s MTT Society organized a one-day symposium on “Hybrid to Monolithic and Something in Between”. This was anera where monolithic microwave IC’s were just beginning to be developed. There was still a case to be made for hybrid IC’s where discrete solid state devices were bonded onto a circuit pattern that was printed on analuminasubstrate. Monolithic IC technology has since matured thanks to the DARPA MIMIC program which was started about the same time of this Symposium. I have good memories of the Symposium because I was the moderator of a panel discussion.

In addition to all of these important activities, there was an announcement that there were three new IEEE Fellows from Long Island. They were Karl Packard of AIL, Henry Bachman of Hazeltine and Dr. Robert Boorstyn of the Polytechnic Institute.

The Section meeting talk for May was “Industrial Static Electricity – Benefactor or Curse” by Dr. Glenn Schmieg of the University of Wisconsin. While most of us see it as negative, he showed several examples of static electricity’s benefits.

The AI Committee’s lecture was “Knowledge Engineering, Your First Expert System Prototype: A Case Study” by Diane Tosh of E Systems. Her talk described how you design a knowledge-based system.

The Computer Society’s May talk was “Systolic Arrays and Applications to Image/Signal Processing” by Dr. Henry Chuang of the University of Pittsburgh and the AP Society’s lecture was “Radar Signature Technology” by Dr. Oren Kesler of Texas Instruments. Low radar cross section or RCS was important in designing stealthy aircraft. His talk was on techniques to measure and reduce RCS.

The issue also had an article by the late Irwin Feerst that expressed concern about calling people engineers if they did not graduate from an accredited school.

These twoPulse issues announced talks on, what was then, new and exciting topics such as MRI, digital audio, microwave integrated circuits, knowledge-based and expert systems, signal processing arrays and methods to reduce radar cross section. This gave our members ample opportunity to keep up with their particular field of interest.

As always, I wish to thank Rod Lowman, our former Historian, for preserving these Pulse issues and Jim Colotti, our webmaster, for posting many of them on our ieee.li website.