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What is the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)?

IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, but the organization no longer goes by its full name. For many years now, the membership of IEEE has consisted of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals. Currently, the membership base of IEEE includes 423,000 members in more than 160 countries.

IEEE is a membership organization working to foster technological innovation and excellence to benefit humanity. As the world’s largest technical professional organization focused on technology advancement, IEEE creates industry standards to establish best practices in a broad range of technologies. Many worldwide governing bodies cite IEEE requirements as required and approved standards.

Through publications, conferences, technology standards, public policy, and professional and educational activities, IEEE has become the trusted global “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information. Striving to inspire a global community to innovate, IEEE and its members collaborate on world-changing technologies.


History of the IEEE


The origins of the organization began in 1884, during the rise of electricity’s influence and popularity in society. As the electrical profession began to take form, a group of individuals working in the electrical field met in New York to create the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). Their goal was to support professionals and aid in the innovation and betterment of humanity. Some of the early leaders included:

  • Norvin Green of Western Union, representing the telegraph industry
  • Thomas Edison, representing the power industry
  • Alexander Graham Bell, representing the telephone industry

As electric power spread quickly and companies producing electric products began expanding and commercializing, AIEE developed their focus on electrical power and its ability to change society. With AIEE’s help, the electrical engineering profession experienced growth and technical standards were created.

Alongside the electrical power growth, the radio industry arose; and in 1912 the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) was created and modeled after AIEE. Both of these membership organization continued to grow and overlap. As the interests of AIEE and IRE began to unite, the leaders of each organization recommended merging. On January 1, 1963, IEEE was formed with the core purpose of fostering technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

IEEE is an accredited standards development organization by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is engaged in accreditation - assessing the competence of organizations determining conformance to standards.