Put José M.F. Moura on the IEEE President Ballot!

José Moura was nominated to be considered as a candidate for IEEE President. The IEEE Board of Directors (BoD) is the body that decides who the candidates will be. They were also behind the proposed IEEE constitutional amendment that was opposed by more than 25 IEEE Societies because it was a rather naked power grab that would have moved much of the constitution to bylaws that could be amended by a small group of individuals, reducing regional representation, and reducing technical activities representation. You can think of it as an attempt by the BoD to Make IEEE Great Again. Prof. Moura spoke up against the amendment (including at an ITSOC BoG meeting) and in the end the amendment did not pass.

It is likely that the BoD’s decision to not nominate him is retaliation for his actions in defense of what he (and many others) felt are the best interests of the IEEE. While this Trump-esque approach to handling dissent may be popular in Washington, it seems quite inappropriate for an international organization such as IEEE. There is a petition at the IEEE website to put him on the ballot. It needs around 4,000 signatures and students members are also welcome to sign. You sign in with your IEEE account and then go to “Annual Election Petitions.” Note this is not a vote for him, but rather allowing him to be on the ballot. Please consider signing!

PSA on IEEEtran.cls

Apparently there’s a PSA out about using the latest version of IEEEtran.cls. Stefan Moser is a big proponent of IEEEeqnarray which he says is even better than my beloved align environment. He also hates on the shorthand \[ \] for resulting in “poorly readable” source code, but I guess I disagree on that point. He even says it’s better than multline! I guess I’ll have to revise my LaTeX practices… but only when I write IEEE papers.

Student Promotion: Signal Processing Society Provides Steep Price Slash

Or SPSPSPSPS, for short. I’ve been over-busy and lax on posting, but I’ll provide some recap of ITA soon, as well as some notes from the Bellairs workshop I just came back from. The winter is a bit jarring. To the point of the subject:

In case you hadn’t heard, the IEEE Signal Processing Society is currently running a campaign that allows IEEE Student and Graduate Student members to join the SPS for free for the 2015 membership year. The promotion is running now through 15 August 2015. Only IEEE Student and Graduate Students are eligible, as this offer does not apply to SPS Student or Graduate Student members renewing their membership for 2015.

This link directs to the IEEE website with both IEEE Student membership and the free SPS Student membership in the cart.

If a student is already an IEEE Student of Graduate Student member, he/she can use the code SP15STUAD at checkout to obtain his/her free membership.

If you have any questions regarding the SPS Free Student Membership campaign or other membership items, please don’t hesitate to contact Jessica Perry at jessica.perry@ieee.org.

Please spread the news to others who may be interested in joining the SP Society.

Quote of the day : squabbles

I am writing a paper at the moment on some of my work with Steve Checkoway and Hovav Shacham on voting, which has involved a pretty broad literature search in social choice theory. I came across this quote about approval voting (AV) as an alternative to plurality voting (PV) in the paper Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting by Steven J. Brams and Peter C. Fishburn (Soc Choice Welfare 25:457–474 (2005)):

The confrontation between theory and practice offers some interesting lessons on “selling” new ideas. The rhetoric of AV supporters has been opposed not only by those supporting extant systems like plurality voting (PV)—including incumbents elected under PV—but also by those with competing ideas, particularly proponents of other voting systems like the Borda count and the Hare system of single transferable vote.

We conclude that academics probably are not the best sales people for two reasons: (1) they lack the skills and resources, including time, to market their ideas, even when they are practicable; and (2) they squabble among themselves. Because few if any ideas in the social sciences are certifiably “right” under all circumstances, squabbles may well be grounded in serious intellectual differences. Sometimes, however, they are not.

I don’t think it’s particular to the social sciences…

On another note, the IEEE adopted AV at some point but then abandoned it. According to a report on the (very partisan) range voting website, there are shady reasons.