Review of the November 4, 2004 TAB OpCom Meeting:

A Sad Day for TAB

New Orleans, LA

By: Joe Bumblis, TCCC Chair


TSC-SC Activity


On November 4, 2004 an extremely disturbing set of events transpired at the IEEE Computer Society Technical Activities Board (TAB) Operations Committee (OpCom) meeting. The newly created Technical Steering Committee (TSC – discussed in more detail below) apparently felt they were empowered to pursue their own self-interests by organizing several of their own conferences without regard or consideration of other conferences and activities already established by such Technical Committees (TCs) as TCEC (TC on Electronic Commerce) and TCI (TC on the Internet). Both TCEC and TCI are well established Technical Committees in TAB. After the TSC-SC committed this breach in TAB policy and protocol by extending well beyond their original charter, they managed to wait until the 11th hour (seriously, 11 hours into the OpCom meeting) to push trough their request to become a full Technical Committee bypassing the established TAB procedures regarding TC creation. It appeared somewhat suspicious that the TSC-SC briefing and OpCom vote were delayed until the majority of OpCom members left the meeting; even though it was Item 7 (out of 15 items) on the published agenda. At the time the vote was taken only eleven (11) voting OpCom members remained out of approximately 35 OpCom members at the start of the meeting. This was all done with the support of the TAB OpCom leader Yervant Zorian.


I find the actions of the TSC-SC leader (Liang-Jie Zhang) extremely appalling, and the deception and bias openly displayed by the OpCom leader Yervant Zorian even more appalling and grossly negligent regarding the needs of the TAB OpCom volunteer membership and the policies and procedures of TAB OpCom.


Not only did the TSC-SC group manage to bypass the TAB procedures regarding Technical Committee creation, they also managed to extend the life of their TSC; a totally absurd set of circumstances which can only be described as a small set of individuals fulfilling their own self-interests at the expense of not only other TCs, but also at the expense of IEEE Computer Society members that pay membership fees. I as a paying member of the IEEE (Senior Member) and a paying member of the Computer Society am totally disgusted with this set of events.


Attached is a presentation by Jen-Yao Chung (IBM Research) and Kwei-Jay Lin (Univ. California, Irvine) Co-Chairs of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Electronic Commerce (TCEC) as presented at the November OpCom meeting. It illustrates the frustration of the TCEC Chair and members regarding the unorthodox and suspicious activities of the TSC-SC committee and their Chair, Liang-Jie Zhang.


TSC-SC Recent History


During the TCCC ExCom teleconference of June 16, 2004 I reported on the proposed Technical Steering Committee (TSC) discussed during the June 11, 2004 IEEE Computer Society Technical Activities Board (TAB – meeting. For a refresher (see: ExCom 6-16-04 Conference Call Minutes.doc  for a copy of my entire report), the following is what I reported on June 16, 2004 to the TCCC ExCom:


“A major portion of the TAB OpCom meeting was consumed by discussions surrounding the proposed formation of a Technical Steering Committee (TSC). My impression is the TSC is being driven by the TAB OpCom Chair Yervant Zorian.  In essence, Yervant is proposing a top-level committee to encourage more cross-functional collaboration. As depicted in the drawing below, the TSC would become yet another level of bureaucracy needing a budget and some level of authority over a wide range of domains.


Most TC Chairs strongly oppose the formation of the TSC as currently defined. The majority feel they - and their technical committee members - will loose what little control they currently have in running conferences, setting direction and charters of their TC, and possibly forfeiting TC budgets ($) to fund the TSC. It is very unclear what service the TSC would offer TC’s and their membership. This discussion will continue at the next OpCom meeting currently scheduled for November 5, 2004.


TSC-SC Details


According to the TSC-SC web page: “Services Computing has become a cross-discipline that covers the science and technology of bridging the gap between Business Services and IT Services. The underneath breaking technology suite includes Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA), business consulting methodology and utilities, business process modeling, transformation and integration. This scope of Services Computing covers the whole lifecycle of services innovation research that includes business componetization, services modeling, services creation, services realization, services annotation, services deployment, services discovery, services composition, services delivery, service-to-service collaboration, services monitoring, services optimization, as well as services management. The goal of Services Computing is to enable IT services and computing technology to perform business services more efficiently and effectively.”


Editorial Note: This begins to sound more and more like an effort by the TSC-SC leader (Liang-Jie Zhang) and his committee members to engage in funding conference and research activities that promote outsourcing of American technology jobs to offshore concerns. These sorts of activities come at the expense of the very people (IEEE and Computer Society paying members) that stand to loose their jobs due to continued outsourcing of American technology functions to overseas concerns. The IEEE openly opposes H1-B extensions, L1-B expansions, and the offshoring of American technology jobs

[ ]. Yet, here the TSC-SC has been given permission by TAB OpCom (at least the remaining eleven voting members) to continue using Computer Society funds to advance their own research interests and to create conferences to enable more American technology jobs to migrate to overseas concerns.


The TSC-SC web page furthers describes their activities as “The current flagship conferences sponsored by TSC-SC are the IEEE International Conference on Web Services (ICWS - ) and the IEEE International Conference on Services Computing (SCC - ). All TSC-SC activities will be made visible through IEEE Services Computing Community portal ( ) on the Web, electronic mail, journal editing network, international conferences and in newsgroup.”


Technical Community on Services Computing (TSC-SC) home page is located at:



Report of Computer Society Financials by Anne Marie Kelly


The IEEE Computer Society contracted an outside consulting firm to analyze Computer Society cash flow, and to recommend possible actions the Computer Society can take to improve their financial position. Three years of data were given to the consulting firm regarding Computer Society cash flow from membership fees, conferences, and package services (e.g. digital library, publications, etc.). Some benchmarking was done with other societies; ACM refused to be benchmarked. After the consulting firm completed their research, analysis, and creation of some very impressive Power Point slides; they presented their findings to the Computer Society.


In essence, the primary suggestion by the consulting firm is for the Computer Society to focus on marketing. I found several issues regarding the study and recommendation; some of my concerns that I discussed during Anne Marie’s presentation are outlined below:


1.      The three years of data used by the consultant only represented cash flow. Neither the data nor analysis focused on the demographics of Computer Society conferences. Conferences are an important source of cash flow for the IEEE and the Computer Society. I mentioned to Anne Marie that in the late-1980’s, both the LCN and InfoCom conferences hosted 70% of their papers and participants from industry. Today, one would be hard pressed to find anyone from true industry (engineering and/or manufacturing) at either LCN or InfoCom. IEEE and the Computer Society conferences have become publication venues for Ph.D. students and other academics trying to further their academic careers through IEEE publications. All this at the expense of practitioners from industry who pay most of the IEEE and Computer Society membership fees. The bottom line is students do not spend money, and academics do not purchase services. Anne Marie acknowledged that the study only looked at cash flow. A conferences demographic study is being planned.

2.      The primary recommendation from the consultant suggests the Computer Society should focus more on marketing. As mentioned above, it is doubtful that “marketing” will do much in regards to Computer Society cash flow since “…students do not spend money, and academics do not purchase services.”  The key (in my opinion) is to reach out to industry - the founders of the IEEE and its societies - to regain their interest and offer services that industry and technology practitioners see as a value-added part of being successful in the marketplace. Let us not forget IEEE stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

3.      There has been a significant decline in Computer Society membership and conference attendance. Even with this decline Computer Society staffing has remained flat for several years. Since the larger conferences are being replaced with smaller conferences and workshops, Computer Society staff is being stressed dealing with the many more conference commitments like hotel contracts, TMRF formatting and balancing, conference security, and accounts payable activities. Anne Marie mentioned they need to grow the Computer Society staff to maintain the demand by the increase in small conferences and workshops.


Other TAB Activities



Technical Committee, Technical Council, and Task Force Membership Database


The TEchnical Committee Archive (TECA) is an active project to create a database of Technical Committee, Technical Council, and Task Force membership searchable by the individual Chairs or their designates. To date, only four TC’s have been added; TCCC has not yet been added. The current plan is to grant static rights (granted by administration) and dynamic rights (position dependent; e.g. Chair, Vice-Chair, etc.) to the TC Chair and/or authorized designates for TECA access. There is still significant work to do before the project is complete. Please see: for more information (you may need your IEEE web account to access this page).





A report given by Jack Cole highlighted the IEEE*USA activity regarding a public policy initiative called the Committee on Communications and Information Policy (CCIP). According to charter, IEEE*USA is the only part of the IEEE authorized to work on public policy. See  for more details.


Technical Committee, Technical Council, and Task Force Reports


There were approximately 35 representatives at this TAB OpCom meeting representing many of the Technical Committees, Technical Councils, and Task Forces currently active in TAB. Most reports were either verbal, or presentations were given from personal laptops. I will forward any presentations made available to TAB OpCom members.


New Technical Committee


Paul Croll presented a plan to create a new Technical Committee on Systems Engineering. Details will be presented in June 2005 TAB OpCom meeting as the committee begins forming its charter, mission, and collaboration with similar TC’s.



Joe Bumblis

Chair, TCCC