IEEE CS History: The 1970s

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As the 1970s dawned, a tremendous evolution in technology continued. The decade saw the development of Unix, the establishment of Xerox PARC at Stanford University, the development of the first microprocessor, and the first email.

In 1971, the Computer Group became the Computer Society. For the IEEE Computer Society, the 70s was a decade of significant growth in both the depth and breadth of services. Membership more than tripled. The number of officers doubled from to 10. By the end of the 70s, Computer Society membership had grown to 43,930, including 7,833 students and 3,943 affiliates. There were more than 100 chapters, including 30 student branch chapters.

The IEEE 754 floating-point working group was created in 1977 and eight years later the Microprocessor Standards Committee completed the IEEE 754-1985 binary floating-point arithmetic for computer microprocessors. The society's publication program grew rapidly. The Computer Group News, renamed Computer in 1972, became a monthly publication in 1973, and significantly increased its tutorial-oriented content. At the same time, IEEE Transactions on Computers was unbundled from it, making Computer the only publication received automatically with society membership. The subscriber base to the now optional transactions held up well, and the society learned it could expand its publications program outside the membership dues structure.

The society introduced the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering in 1975 and the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence in January 1979. The decade saw the publication of more than 25,000 periodical pages: about 13,500 pages for the IEEE Transactions on Computers, about 4,100 pages for the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, over 400 pages for the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis & Machine Intelligence, and over 8,000 editorial pages for Computer.

Also during this time, the society formalized its non-periodical publications into the Computer Society Press, which produced mainly conference proceedings, tutorial texts, and reprints in the 70s.

Fourteen new technical committees were formed, making a total of 20 by the end of the period. The committees contributed significantly to growth in the number of specialty conferences and meetings. In the late seventies, the Computer Society was sponsoring or cosponsoring about 50 technical conferences, meetings, and symposia, many with ACM.

The Computer Society was also the first IEEE society to establish student branch chapters. This activity began in 1974 as an experiment and was subsequently adopted by the IEEE. Additionally, the society formalized and expanded its awards program in this decade.

Late in the decade, the society started the election of officers and members of the board of governors (BOG) directly by members. Before then, all officers (chairs/presidents and members of BOG) were elected by the board itself. There was only one candidate for each position, but petition candidates were allowed. It was not until 1984 that the election became competitive.

The staff supporting the society's operations also grew. The position of executive secretary was created in 1971. By the end of the decade the Computer Society staff numbered 16 permanent employees: two in the executive secretary's home office in Silver Spring, Maryland, and 14 in the publishing group's rented space in Long Beach, California, plus several temporary part-time people in both locations. The needs and viability of the publishing organization grew to the extent that, late in the decade, the society started the process of acquiring its own building in Los Alamitos, California.

By the end of the seventies, Computer Society membership had grown to 43,930, including 7,833 students and 3,943 affiliates. There were now more than 100 chapters, including about 30 student branch chapters.

1978
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis & Machine Intelligence is launched.

1977
The IEEE 754 floating-point working group is created.

1976
The Software Engineering Technical Committee starts the Software Quality Assurance standards working group. The Education Committee launches its first model curriculum.

1975
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering is launched

1974
The Computer Society becomes the first IEEE society to establish student branch chapters. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering is launched.

1973
Computer, now monthly, becomes the Society's flagship publication.

1972
The Computer Program Test Methods conference articulates the need for software engineering standards. Computer Group News is renamed Computer magazine.

1970
The Computer Group becomes the IEEE Computer Society. The Distinguished Visitor Program begins providing speakers to chapters. The Computer Society elects its first president.

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