Signal boost: vote in the ITSOC BoG Election!

The IEEE Information Theory Society election of Members to the Board of Governors is now open.

We hope you will take the time to exercise your vote and help choose the future direction of the society. Let’s increase last year’s voting percentage of 23.1% by voting today! Your vote counts!


You will need your IEEE Account username/password to access the ballot. For quick reference, your username is If you do not remember your password, you may retrieve it on the voter login page.

Voting must be completed no later than 6 September 2018. Any returns received after this date will not be counted. The online voting site will close at 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

If you have any questions about the IEEE Information Theory Society voting process, please contact or +1 732 562 3904.

Thank you for your participation in this election.

Alon Orlitsky,
Chair, Nominations and Appointments Committee


What’s new is old in ethics and conduct

(h/t to Stark Draper, Elza Erkip, Allie Fletcher, Tara Javidi, and Tsachy Weissman for sources)

The IEEE Information Theory Society Board of Governors voted to approve the following statement to be included on official society events and on the website:

IEEE members are committed to the highest standards of integrity, responsible behavior, and ethical and professional conduct. The IEEE Information Theory Society reaffirms its commitment to an environment free of discrimination and harassment as stated in the IEEE Code of Conduct, IEEE Code of Ethics, and IEEE Nondiscrimination Policy. In particular, as stated in the IEEE Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, members of the society will not engage in harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, or bullying behavior, nor discriminate against any person because of characteristics protected by law. In addition, society members will not retaliate against any IEEE member, employee or other person who reports an act of misconduct, or who reports any violation of the IEEE Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct.

I guess the lawyers had to have a go at it, but this is essentially repeating that the IEEE already had rules and so here, we’re reminding you about the rules. This statement is saying “the new rules are the old rules.” We probably need more explicit new rules, however. In particular, many conferences have more detailed codes of conduct (NeurohackWeek, RSA,
Usenix, APEC) that provide more detail about how the principles espoused in the text above are implemented. Often, these conferences have formal reporting procedures/policies and sanctions for violations: many IEEE conferences do not. The NSF is now requiring reporting on PIs who are “found to have committed sexual harassment” so incidents at conferences where the traveler is presenting NSF-sponsored should also be reported, it seems.

While the ACM’s rules suggest making reporting procedures, perhaps a template (borrowed from another academic community?) could just become part of the standard operating procedure for running an IEEE conference. Just have a member of the organizing committee in charge, similar to having a local arrangements chair, publicity chair, etc. However, given the power dynamics of academic communities, perhaps people would feel more comfortable reporting incidents to someone outside the community.

Relatedly, The Society also approved creating an Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (I’m not on it) who have already done a ton of work on this and will find other ways to make the ITSOC (even) more open and welcoming.

SPS: no edits after acceptance

I got an email recently saying that the Signal Processing Society‘s Publications Board has decided to “no longer allow any changes to papers once the papers are accepted… the accepted version of the papers will be the version posted on Xplore.” Associate editors are supposed to enforce this policy.

I can only imagine that this is the result of abuse by some (or many) authors to make substantive changes to their manuscript post-acceptance. That is clearly bad and should probably be stopped. However, I think this hard-line policy may not be good for a couple of reasons:

  • Even after reviewers sign off on a manuscript from a technical standpoint, there are often several small issues like grammar, typos, and so on. The only solution then would be to enter an endless cycle of revise and resubmit, unless SPS is ok with typos and the like.
  • I have had galley proofs come back with several technically substantive errors and have had to go back and forth with IEEE about fixing these. This can only get worse with this policy.
  • Due to the fast pace of research and the slow pace of reviewing, many times the references for a paper need updating even after acceptance: a journal version of a conference paper may have come out, or an ArXiV preprint may have been updated, or any host of other changes. This hard requirement is bad for scholarship since it makes finding the “correct” reference more onerous.

Overall, this shifts the burden of fine-level verification of the manuscript to the AE. For some journals this is not so bad since they don’t have long papers and AEs may handle only a few papers at the same time. For something like the Transactions on Information Theory, it would be a disaster! Thankfully (?) this is only for the Signal Processing Society. However, my prediction is that overall paper quality will decrease with this policy, driving more papers to ArXiV for their “canonical version.” Is this bad? Depends on your point of view.

100 signatures needed by 5/12 to nominate José Moura for IEEE President

As I wrote earlierJosé Moura is trying to get on the ballot for IEEE President. The deadline is May 12 and he needs only 100 more signatures to get onto the ballot. If you are an IEEE member please take the 1 minute to sign the petition to get him on the ballot.

IEEE has an undemocratic nominations process in which the IEEE Board of Directors (BoD) gets to decide who the candidates will be. Because Prof. Moura opposed the BoD proposed amendment to consolidate power into the BoD and reduce regional representation, it is not hard to imagine that the BoD would not want to allow dissenting voices in the Presidential race. 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.”

Put José Moura on the ballot!

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

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