After 18 months of meticulous planning and hard work, the inaugural IEEE Life Members Conference took place in Austin, Texas, this April. For those on the planning committee, it was a moment of great pride and accomplishment.

“IEEE Life Members are an underutilized resource in the IEEE. The Life Members Conference showed how Life members can continue to contribute to IEEE’s mission and stay engaged with the latest technical developments,” said Tom Coughlin, 2024 President & CEO, IEEE

LMC Conference Committee

LMC Conference Committee

 “The Conference Organizing Committee did a remarkable job,” said Michael Andrews, conference chair. “They identified our members’ key areas of interest and recruited speakers who shared their insights and experiences, playing a pivotal role in making the conference a resounding success. Importantly, the conference provided Life members and attendees representing all IEEE member grades the opportunity to expand their skills and value to other members, mentees, and the industry.”

IEEE Senior Life Member Maxine Cohen provided a recap of the conference: 

It was exciting, hectic, stimulating, hard work, and a lot of fun. About 200 people attended, including sponsors, speakers, participants, and companions. The Austin Hyatt Regency provided the conference with a lovely setting on a lake within walking distance of downtown Austin.

The conference kicked off with a series of engaging workshops on Sunday morning, introducing the MOVE vehicle and program. We were privileged to have Thom Singer, Michael Andrews, and Tom Coughlin share their insights, followed by Rodney Brooks’ captivating opening keynote session. Brooks, responsible for making robots family-friendly, “answered seven questions that must be answered about AI and the “laws of robotics.”

The afternoon was filled with three sets of parallel sessions, each delving into intriguing topics like bridging the age-tech gap, a panel on 6G, effective human-machine partnerships, AI in finance, and renewable energy. The day concluded with a corporate mixer and a delightful dinner.

2024 Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers: from left, Rodney Brooks, Karen Panetta, Mike Branch, and Dr. Vincent Kim

Monday started bright and early with breakfast and Karen Panetta’s keynote session. Panetta talked about how she and her team have linked observing the world around her, coupled with the needs of her elderly father, to AI research and product development. 

Once again, three parallel sessions covered finance strategies, cybercrimes, quantum computing, space technology, smart cities, and beyond the smart grid. Next was lunch, followed by a keynote by Mike Branch, who demonstrated the link between vehicular use and driver habits to increase vehicles’ and roadways’ efficiency and safety. The afternoon had a mentoring workshop and brainstorming panel on how to use IEEE tools. Again, it ended with a dinner.

Tuesday was a shorter day and started with breakfast and a keynote by Vincent (WooPoung) Kim. Dr. Kim presented the technologies that drive essential changes in semiconductor packaging design. He provided a perspective of what Samsung is doing in chip architecture that will essentially double I/O capabilities, enable faster cache, and make it possible to build larger memory systems. 

Then, two sets of three parallel sessions covering machine learning, generative AI, ethics, the metaverse, perpetual technology of the future, and the internet of things. There was a lunch and a closing session, including a panel on the Next Chapter for Life Members and an outbound challenge. 

Something for Everyone

After the closing, there were two optional corporate tours: a 3D-printed house, a showcase of innovative construction technology, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas, a hub of cutting-edge research and development.

All conference participants and accompanying companions were treated to three meals daily and breaks during the conference. There was time to mix and mingle between sessions and when visiting the sponsor booths and displays. 

The conference also featured a Life Member’s Awards presentation, recognizing the outstanding contributions of IEEE Life Members, and a presentation by the IEEE Foundation, showcasing the foundation’s initiatives and achievements. Evening activities included a pop-up group of singers and guitar players from our own.

Conference Collage

There was time to mingle and play at the conference, in addition to the outstanding learning sessions.

Conversations overheard included the following comments:

  • Great lineup of speakers
  • Registration was very organized
  • Enjoyed being with stimulating and interesting people, both retired and still working
  • Didn’t know anything about the MOVE vehicle before
  • Enjoyed the History Center exhibit
  • More time is needed to socialize and interact
  • Easy to attend, and food was included
  • Cannot wait until next year

In addition, there was an optional companion program that included a tour featuring Austin Highlights, a visit to the State Capitol, and a walking tour by the lake by the hotel (unfortunately cut short by some rain). These activities were designed to provide a deeper understanding of the local culture and environment, enhancing the overall conference experience.

We congratulate the planning committee for their exceptional efforts in organizing and executing the highly successful IEEE Life Members’ inaugural conference. Special commendations are due to Michael Andrews, Terry Branch, Greg Ledenbach, George Arnold, Kirpal Khalsa, Maxine Cohen, Sophie Tang, Halden Morris, Fawzi Behmann, Kai Wong, Laura Hall, Beth Csider, and Tom DuHamel for their dedication and hard work in making this event a success. Their commitment to excellence and meticulous planning has set a high standard for future conferences. We thank them for their outstanding contributions.