President's Message: September 2019

Carving Strategies to Effectively Serve the Global Membership

Frede Blaabjerg 2019by Frede Blaabjerg

Human life is always moving in waves. Sometimes it is calm, and sometimes it is quite hectic and hectic and busy when many issues must be confronted. The last few months (May to July) have been very busy for the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS). Although most of the time it was good, there were also some challenges.

Many conferences were held during this time in which PELS was the main sponsor, and the attendance was fantastic. Although most of the conferences were in Asia this year, there were also some activities in North America and Europe, for example, the IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics in Toronto, the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo in Michigan, and Wireless Power Week in London. I have had the pleasure to join four of the conferences in two and a half weeks in Asia: the International Conference on DC Microgrids in Matsue, Japan (300 attendees), the IEEE Workshop on Wide-Bandgap Power Devices and Applications in Taipei, Taiwan (150 attendees), the International Conference on Power Electronics-ECCE Asia (approximately 1,000 attendees) in Busan, South Korea; and, finally, the International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems (PEDG) (300 attendees) in Xi’an, China. All conferences were very well organized, with high- quality papers and a high technical level. Plus, there was also room for both professional and social networking in a memorable fashion.

For a modern technical society like ours, all aspects are important to be able to attract attendees in a world which is becoming more and more digitalized with a flush of social media and IT. I am quite convinced that technical conferences will still be around in 10 years and beyond despite the increasing role of the Internet. Consequently, we as a Society, always have to think about what can be done better for those attendees who pay for the conferences and spend approximately a week there. For example, just to mention two conferences, at PEDG in Xi’an, I attended a rap session, which was organized by the younger generation of power electronics researchers, and that was quite an interesting initiative. In addition, the mentorship activity at ECCE Asia in Busan was fantastic, with great attendance. We always have to think creatively and be professional to offer the best to the attendees. Thanks to all volunteers for those activities. Those efforts truly mean a lot for PELS.

In terms of age, PELS is now more than 30 years old. And, thus, according to the human timescale, it has moved into its second generation. However, on 14 June 2019, we celebrated our first IEEE technology Milestone, which was observed through a dedication ceremony in Clyde, New York, at Advanced Atomization Technologies [formerly General Electric(GE)]. It was here that the silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR)/thyristor was first introduced in 1957 by GE. It was a fantastic event with more than 40 guests hosted by the IEEE Rochester Section. A lot of history was presented around the development of the SCR, which laid the foundation for modern power electronics. The ceremony also had the honor of hosting the IEEE President Prof. José M. F. Moura.

 At the Milestone ceremony, many stories of famous inventors were told, and it was very clear that numerous new ideas and new books were published during that time, demonstrating the fast progress in technology development. With the wide-bandgap era taking place now, maybe we are moving toward a new technology Milestone. We are very grateful to our history chair, Prof. Gerard Hurley, for making this possible. If you have any ideas for the next Milestone for PELS, please contact Prof. Hurley at  For instance, a Milestone can also be a new power electronics infrastructure. Regarding our technology, I have just learned that IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics (TPEL) has published more than 10,000 papers. What an amazing accomplishment! Next year, we will publish more than 1,000 papers in the TPEL. Our field is really booming.

The vitality is further demonstrated by PELS Day, held on 20 June 2019, when we celebrated our birthday. More than 40 activities were held across the globe. Many activities were organized by Student Chapters, which has been really wonderful. With this kind of enthusiasm, we are hopeful that next year we will see even more and bigger activities around the world. Remember 20 June 2020 (what a nice number it is!). Moreover, the 3-minute presentations (i.e., the IEEE PELS Prize Ph.D. Thesis Talk or P3 Talk) on Ph.D. projects received 25 proposals, which is, again, astounding. Thanks to all who have been actively involved in this project. I am looking forward to seeing the final winners of the competition.

The IEEE has now announced that a new open access journal named IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics (together with 13 other Societies with their corresponding open access journals) has been approved. Concurrently, the IEEE is working hard to make it possible for you to submit first papers for peer-review by September/October timeframe. One of the goals is to have a fast review time and a quick final publication period: almost immediately when the paper is accepted. In terms of quality and innovation, we will make no change compared to our regular journals. An editorial board for the journal has been formed with Prof. Alan Mantooth as the   editor-in-chief (EIC) assisted by Prof. Marco Liserre and Prof. Dehong Xu as the Co-EICs. They have been asked to implement this in a very short period. For the first two years, no impact factor will exist for the journal, but it is expected to appear after three years. The papers published during the first two years will also be registered. If we are successful, I expect a high impact factor. There is also an opportunity here for you to be involved: contact Prof. Mantooth at if you are interested.

Next year, we will update our strategy (PELS 2020+ strategy), and different steps will be taken in the organization to implement that process. First, we will soon have a market survey to determine what more needs to be done as a Society and what is the number of potential memberships that we can serve from a global perspective, with industrial and academic views. This is being led by PELS Executive Director Mike Kelly. In parallel, the PELS sponsored IEEE Future of Electronic Power Processing and Conversion took place in June in Tromso, Norway, where some high-level specialists convened to explore technology development for the next five to 15 years. This is used not only as a platform for new initiatives in new areas but also as an indicator to check within the organization whether we are missing something. For example, do we need to establish new technical committees? The focus of this era is especially on global warming and what power electronics technology can do to address the problem. Furthermore, the strategy will gather inputs from the Long-Range Planning Committee as well as the Administrative Committee members. As a result, we will have a strong strategic platform for the next five years that should be approved by 2020.

By the time you read this president’s message, it will be fall, and winter will be coming soon. I encourage you all to look at the conferences being held and take the opportunity to attend. Also, check next year’s conferences, and consider submitting papers; this will offer great opportunities to network professionally and technically. All of the upcoming conferences can be found on the PELS website (