Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – March 2016

We continue our survey of Pulse issues from the 1980’s with those from May, June, and September 1985. The Section’s May meeting was held jointly with the Industrial Robotics Sub-Chapter. The topic was “The Design of Industrial Robots”. The speaker was Professor C. S. George Lee of the University of Michigan. He described how he was able to achieve fine motor control by the use of a knowledge-based system together with adaptive controls. The Section Chairman, Arnold Goldman, wrote a column that commended Professor Velio Marsocci of Stony Brook for making student activities an integral part of our Section’s activities. Having and acknowledging student activities continues to be a high Section priority. The Consultant’s Network had a forum with several speakers on “Consulting as an Alternate Career”. This generated a great deal of interest because our Section’s Consultants Network was relatively new then.

The June Section meeting was a tour of the FAA’s Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center, located on Stewart Avenue in Westbury. The attendees were guided through one of the world’s busiest air traffic control centers which had Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark under its jurisdiction. The Communication Society presented a talk on Satellite Television. The speaker was Peter Lubell of HBO. This field was in its infancy then. A satellite dish and its microwave receiver were technically feasible but too expensive. However, prices came down due to advances in microwave integrated circuits such that it now competes very well with cable TV.

The next (September) issue described a joint meeting of the Section and the AI Committee on “IN-ATE Fault Diagnosis, an Expert Guided Search”. The speaker was Richard Cantone of Automated Research Corporation. He described an AI system that guided the technician through a complex diagram and suggested where the next test should be performed. His technique appeared to be useful in diagnosing faults in large systems. The AP Society had a talk on “Radio Astronomy – a Challenge for the Microwave Engineer” Dr. Sander Weinreb of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) was the speaker. We were privileged to have him speak because he was and still is one of the most knowledgeable people in this field. His talk was of particular interest to me because I was developing millimeter wave mixers for a major radio telescope in Japan. The AP Society sponsored another talk on the “Design of Linear and Planar Microwave Arrays”. The speaker was Dr. R.S. Elliot of the University of Illinois. Here again, we were privileged to have a distinguished lecturer.
This issue also contained position papers on candidates for IEEE President-Elect. One of the candidates was our own Henry Bachman, who went on to win the election.

Looking at these activities, you sense that our members were being apprised of new developments in many exciting fields including robotics, AI, satellite TV, radio astronomy and phased arrays. Furthermore, one of our members was on his way to becoming an IEEE President.
As always, I wish to thank Rod Lowman, our town historian for saving these issues of Pulse and James Colotti, our webmaster for scanning many of them into our ieee.li website.