IEEE stands for the "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers". The association is chartered under this full legal name. IEEE's membership has long been composed of engineers and scientists. Allied professionals who are members include computer scientists, software developers, information technology professionals, physicists, and medical doctors, in addition to IEEE's electrical and electronics engineering core. For this reason the organization no longer goes by the full name, except on legal business documents, and is referred to simply as IEEE.
The IEEE is dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence. It has about 430,000 members in about 160 countries, slightly less than half of whom reside in the United States.
The major interests of the AIEE were wire communications (telegraphy and telephony) and light and power systems. The IRE concerned mostly radio engineering, and was formed from two smaller organizations, the Society of Wireless and Telegraph Engineers and the Wireless Institute. With the rise of electronics in the 1930s, electronics engineers usually became members of the IRE, but the applications of electron tube technology became so extensive that the technical boundaries differentiating the IRE and the AIEE became difficult to distinguish. After World War II, the two organizations became increasingly competitive, and in 1961, the leadership of both the IRE and the AIEE resolved to consolidate the two organizations. The two organizations formally merged as the IEEE on January 1, 1963.
Notable presidents of IEEE and its founding organizations include Elihu Thomson (AIEE, 1889–1890), Alexander Graham Bell (AIEE, 1891–1892), Charles Proteus Steinmetz (AIEE, 1901–1902), Robert H. Marriott (IRE, 1912), Lee De Forest (IRE, 1930), Frederick E. Terman (IRE, 1941), William R. Hewlett (IRE, 1954), Ernst Weber (IRE, 1959; IEEE, 1963), and Ivan Getting (IEEE, 1978).
According to IEEE’s official website their “…core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.”
Their vision is to become essential to the technological community that exists throughout the world. They want their members to be the ones to revolutionize technology and improve global conditions. IEEE’s core values include trust, growth and nurturing, global community building, partnership, service to humanity, and integrity in action.