Edit Section: Oral-History:William G. Duff You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason: You are not allowed to execute the action you have requested. Warning: This page already exists, but it does not use this form. Established date: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember IEEE Region: 12345678910 Geographic region: Region area: Principal cities: Home page: Free text: ==About William G. Duff== William G. Duff (Bill) has 53 years of experience in the development of engineering technology for achieving electromagnetic compatibility(EMC) in communication and electronic systems. He has a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering (EE) from George Washington University (1959), a Masters Degree in EE from Syracuse University (1969), and a Doctorate in EE from Clayton University (1977). His experience includes EMC analysis, design, test and problem solving for a wide variety of communication and electronic systems. He, along with several co-inventors received a patent for developing a feasible EM emission tool to detect degradation in cables and connectors as a result of corrosion. This development is important because it has been observed that 30 to 50 percent of all electronic subsystem failures result from cable and connector problems. He has written six books and more than 40 technical papers on EMC. His relationship with IEEE began as a college student and he continued to participate in conferences as his professional career developed. In 1961, he won the AIEE Best Paper Award for his paper entitled “Graphical – Numerical Prediction of Tuned RF Amplifier Output Spectrum.” Over his career he served as Chairman of the EMC Society Fellow Evaluation Committee, Associate Editor of the EMC Newsletter, President of the EMC Society, and Director of IEEE Division IV – Electromagnetics and Radiation. His major honors and awards include Fellow of IEEE (1981), IEEE EMC Society Richard R. Stoddard Award for Outstanding Performance (1984), IEEE EMC Society Lawrence G. Cumming Award for Outstanding Service (1985). He was elected to the IEEE EMC Society Hall of Fame (2010). In this interview Duff focuses on his relationship with IEEE. He discusses his time as a student member, joining the EMC Society once he found his career track, and his time as President of the EMC Society. Additionally, he talks about his career as an EMC Engineer and how his membership in IEEE helped advance his career. ==About the Interview== WILLIAM G. DUFF: An interview conducted by Sheldon Hochheiser for the IEEE History Center, August 9, 2012. Interview #619 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. ==Copyright Statement== This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA or email@example.com. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: William G. Duff: an oral history conducted in 2012 by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA. ==Interview== INTERVIEWEE: William G. Duff <br>INTERVIEWER: Sheldon Hochheiser <br>DATE: August 9th, 2012 <br> PLACE: Pittsburgh, PA ===Family and Education=== '''Hochheiser:''' Good morning. This is Sheldon Hochheiser, of the IEEE History Center. It is the 9th of August 2012. I'm here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the EMC Symposium with Bill Duff a past president of the EMC Society. '''Duff:''' Good morning. '''Hochheiser:''' Okay. If we could we start with a little background. Where were you born and raised? '''Duff:''' I was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. I spent three years in Rome, New York working at Rome Air Development Center (RADC) as a contractor. But, other than that, I spent all my life in Northern Virginia. '''Hochheiser:''' What did your parents do? '''Duff:''' My mother was the City Collector for the City of Alexandria and my father was a bus driver for AB&W. '''Hochheiser:''' Were you interested in science and technology and electrical things when you were growing up? '''Duff:''' Pretty much so. I had a high school math teacher, Mr. Irving Lindsey, that took me under his wing and encouraged me to go into some field of science or engineering. He was an excellent teacher and made a big influence on my life. ===College Education=== '''Hochheiser:''' And was he instrumental in your selecting George Washington University for college? '''Duff:''' That was one factor. The other factors were I could stay home and go to college at George Washington. And they had a good engineering school. '''Hochheiser:''' So you went to George Washington specifically with engineering in mind. '''Duff:''' Engineering or some field of science. I had a professor at George Washington that tried to get me to go into chemical engineering. But I was interested in electrical engineering. There were a lot of things happening in electronics at that time. '''Hochheiser:''' Yes, the transistor was just coming on the scene. '''Duff:''' Right. We were going from vacuum tubes to transistors. And there were a lot of interesting things going on in the field. A lot of new electronics. '''Hochheiser:''' What was the EE curriculum like at George Washington? '''Duff:''' One of the professors there was very active with the students. He was the faculty advisor for the AIEE Chapter, which they had at that time. And he made a big influence on the students, but the curriculum was more oriented towards AIEE type things than IEEE or IRE type things. '''Hochheiser:''' Right, more towards power engineering '''Duff:''' More towards power engineering. I spent three summers working for PEPCO, which is the Potomac Electric Power Company. And after those three summers of working at PEPCO, I decided I didn't want to go into power engineering. At that time, power engineering was more of a handbook type of engineering. There weren't a lot of new things happening. And so, I decided I wanted to go into electronics. There was a company in the Washington area, Jansky and Bailey. They were very well known at that time as a consulting firm. They had the first FM radio station in the Washington area and a lot of other things of interest. So I went to work for them. They had several members of their staff that had gone to George Washington University and they played an active role in my making the decision. '''Hochheiser:''' Now you mentioned one of the professors was the advisor to the AIEE Student Chapter. Did you then join the Chapter? '''Duff:''' Yes, I did. '''Hochheiser:''' Were you active in it? '''Duff:''' Pretty much so. I attended meetings. I didn't run for any office or anything like that but I attended the meetings. We had technical sessions. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. Did you also join AIEE then? '''Duff:''' Yes. ===Beginning a Career at Jansky and Bailey=== '''Hochheiser:''' So you were telling me about joining Jansky and Bailey through their connections in the area. They had a number of people who had gone to George Washington. So this then led you to join the firm when you graduated. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' What did you work on at first? '''Duff:''' When I first went to work for them they had just received a large contract from the Air Force Rome Air Development Center (RADC) in Rome, NY. It was to develop a computer program that the Air Force could use to help them avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI) problems when they set up an airbase or made any changes to the equipment at an airbase. They were mainly concerned about transmitters interfering with receivers. I started the work on that right away. As a result of that, I got into electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). '''Hochheiser:''' You didn't study EMC while you were at George Washington. '''Duff:''' No. '''Hochheiser:''' It was your first assignment when you started your career. '''Duff:''' That's correct. '''Hochheiser:''' So the contract was at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome New York. Duff. Right. I stayed in the Washington area and just made periodic trips to Rome. But about five or six years later, the Air Force wanted to set up an EMC capability in Rome. And so I went up there with three other engineers and set up a Jansky and Bailey office in Rome. We worked on EMI problems out of the office in Rome. I spent three years there and then came back to the Washington area. '''Hochheiser:''' Now would those three years correspond to when you took your Master's degree at Syracuse? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' When I first looked at your resume, I said this isn't the DC area. Why is he taking a Master's in Upstate New York? '''Duff:''' Yes, Syracuse had an extension school at Griffiss Air Force Base (AFB). I actually took the courses right in Rome. '''Hochheiser:''' Made it very convenient. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' What was the curriculum in that Master's program? '''Duff:''' It dealt a lot with the kind of things I was working on. The Air Force, at that time, was very interested in setting up an EMC capability, so the curriculum had a lot of courses that related to that. A lot of the courses dealt with EMI problems, between transmitters and receivers. '''Hochheiser:''' When did you get involved in the EMC-S or, were you involved back when it was still a professional groups? '''Duff:''' No, When I became involved in EMC. It was already the EMC-S. '''Hochheiser:''' You spent the three years in Rome. Did that take you through the end of this project? '''Duff:''' No, the project went on for years. '''Hochheiser:''' Okay, but it was necessary for you to be in Rome. '''Duff:''' Right. Well, the agreement I had originally was I'd go to Rome for one year. I don't like cold weather. When I got up to Rome I wasn't too happy about staying longer. But I did extend my stay for two years. I continued to work on the project from Virginia and continued to head up the group, even though I wasn't in Rome. In fact, we grew to about 20 people in the office in Rome. I was in charge of that group, even though I wasn't in Rome full-time. I made a lot of trips to Rome, and, I spent a lot of time in Rome. '''Hochheiser:''' I bet you had to go up there fairly often. '''Duff:''' Yes. ===AIEE and IEEE activities === '''Hochheiser:''' As someone who was already a member of AIEE, do you have any recollections of the merger that created IEEE? '''Duff:''' I'm aware of it, but I didn't really know much about it at the time. '''Hochheiser:''' It didn't really have much effect on your level of participation. '''Duff:''' That's correct. I did write a paper that I presented that got a best paper award. That was AIEE. '''Hochheiser:''' Yes, I know. I noticed that. Is that a paper you presented at a conference or published? '''Duff:''' It was published and it was presented at a local meeting. '''Hochheiser:''' In Washington? '''Duff:''' In the Washington area. '''Hochheiser:''' Then did you become involved with the Washington section? '''Duff:''' Not really. I served as an officer in the Washington section at one point in time. But, I didn't have a lot of involvement in it. '''Hochheiser:''' When did you first become involved in the Society? By attending symposia? Publishing? Some other route? '''Duff:''' I guess attending symposia. It was EMC. They had an EMC Chapter. I got into the EMC Chapter. I Became active in the Chapter because that's what I was working on. I wrote a number of papers. '''Hochheiser:''' A number of papers that you presented at symposia? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' Would this have still been in the 1960's when you started going to the symposia? '''Duff:''' Yes, I started maybe in the early to mid-1960's. I graduated from college in 1959. '''Hochheiser:''' Right, I know that. '''Duff:''' I moved to Rome in 1965. I think it was1965 through 1968 that I was in Rome. And it was when I was up there that I got involved in IEEE. They had an active Chapter up there because they had so many people interested in EMC. '''Hochheiser:''' Right, there was an active EMC Chapter in Rome, an active Chapter of people working in EMC. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' You got involved with that and then from there you started going to the symposia. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Were the symposia considerably smaller in those days? '''Duff:''' Yes, they had another organization that had symposia. The Armour Research Foundation had the Armour conferences. For a while there were both the Armour conferences and the IEEE EMC Symposia. The Armour conference finally gave way to the IEEE EMC symposia. But for a while I was involved in both of them. I wrote and presented papers at both symposia. ===Developing a Career in EMC=== '''Hochheiser:''' Now as far as your career, at some point I noticed that Jansky and Bailey became part of a company called Atlantic Research. '''Duff:''' That's right. I never changed jobs, but I actually ended up working for eight different companies through acquisitions and mergers. Jansky and Bailey was bought by Atlantic Research. For a long time it operated as an independent company, but was a part of Atlantic Research. And then Atlantic Research was bought by Susquehanna. There was a whole series of acquisitions after that. '''Hochheiser:''' Did all of this corporate maneuvering affect your work much? '''Duff:''' For the most part, things tended to get worse each time we were acquired. The company that acquired us wanted their people in management positions. The standing joke around there was “well, I guess we have to break in a new set of bosses.” It was pretty much that way. Jansky and Bailey was a small company, but they were a very good company. And Atlantic Research was a good company to work for also. But then we started going through a lot of acquisitions and all the acquisitions weren’t as good as when Jansky and Bailey was acquired by Atlantic Research. '''Hochheiser:''' How long did this project with the folks at RADC last? '''Duff:''' I worked on an uninterrupted series of Air Force contracts for over 20 years. '''Hochheiser:''' And were they generally with Rome? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' That's one of the main Air Force Research Centers, right? '''Duff:''' Yes. It was at that time. '''Hochheiser:''' You worked then on a variety of different Air Force projects dealing with EMC? '''Duff:''' Right, they all were directed towards developing a capability for designing installations like at an airbase. There were several types of interference problems. First, there's the EMI problem where a transmitter is interfering with receivers. Second, there's the problem where transmitters are interfering with other electronic equipments. Third, there is the problem where electronic equipments are interfering with receivers and fourth, there is the problem where electronic equipments are interfering with electronic equipments. The first work that we did at Rome was dealing with transmitters interfering with receivers. We developed math models and computer programs that would handle that problem. About the same time, the DOD formed ECAC, which was the Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center. They had pretty much the same mission we did, but it was for all types of transmitters interfering with receivers, not just Air Force. The Rome project was primarily concerned with Air Force problems. ECAC used a lot of the modeling techniques that we had developed for the Air Force to help get set up with their capability. They later became known as the Joint Spectrum Center and still exist now as the Joint Spectrum Center. Basically ECAC handled problems between the services. Whereas, the Air Force handled just Air Force problems. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. So some of the work you did went into the ECAC area? '''Duff:''' They had some very similar models to the ones that we developed. And I think that the base for some of their models came from our work. ===Increased Involvement in the EMC Society=== '''Hochheiser:''' You mentioned that there was a very active EMC Chapter in Rome. And after the few years in Rome, the late 1960's, you went back to Washington. Was there an EMC Chapter there? '''Duff:''' There sure was. By this time EMI had become quite a problem. There was a lot of activity in that area. '''Hochheiser:''' Did you become involved with the Chapter? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' Were your activities mainly with the Chapter or did you also do things at that time at the section as well? '''Duff:''' No, I never really got involved with the section too much. I was more oriented towards the technical, things which were at the Chapter level. '''Hochheiser:''' That makes sense, but I don't know if I don't ask you. '''Duff:''' The section was involved with a wide range of different areas, not just EMC. I was mainly interested in EMC at the time. '''Hochheiser:''' When did you first become involved beyond attending and giving papers at symposia with the overall Society? What role? '''Duff:''' I guess my first role was I ran for the EMC-S Board of Directors and was elected. '''Hochheiser:''' About when was this? '''Duff:''' I think it was in 1979 when Jackie Janoski was the President. '''Hochheiser:''' Oh okay, now we're back in the late 70's. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' You ran for the Board of Directors for the EMC-S. Who chose the members of the Board of Directors? '''Duff:''' That was an election with all the members participating. '''Hochheiser:''' You ran and the members voted and you got elected to the Board and Jackie was President. '''Duff:''' Right. And then, Don Heirman became President. And I became President after him. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. And I think that was 1982 and 1983. '''Duff:''' Yes. It was in that timeframe. '''Hochheiser:''' What are your recollections of the EMC-S Board while you were a member? '''Duff:''' I don't really have any outstanding recollections. ===Elected President of EMC Society=== '''Hochheiser:''' That's okay. What led you to decide that you wanted to be the President of the Society? '''Duff:''' Actually, I didn't decide. They had an election coming up. I was approached and asked if I would run for President. I hadn't really planned to run for President, but, I gave in to the people that approached me and told them I'd run. Then, I was elected. '''Hochheiser:''' Was the President chosen then as it is now by the Board? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' The Board of Directors is an election of the membership, but the President is elected by the Board Was there a nominations committee? You were approached by people about whether you would be interested. '''Duff:''' Yes, I don't think it was a formal nomination committee. '''Hochheiser:''' As it is now. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' Things change over the years. '''Duff:''' Yes, I don't recall it being formal. '''Hochheiser:''' Were there any particular things that you hoped to accomplish as President? '''Duff:''' There were a lot of things I got involved in as President. I didn't have a lot of ideas as to what I wanted to accomplish, because I hadn't really planned to run. And when I ran, I wasn't really expecting to be elected. But one of the things that became a matter of interest was we were trying to get more participation from some of the Third World countries. In some of these countries’ individuals didn't have enough money to pay IEEE dues. I got involved with Presidents of other Societies in the division and active at that level. We set up a program where we would assist people from certain countries that didn't have the money to pay their own dues. '''Hochheiser:''' This was yourself and other Presidents within Division Four societies working together? '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Where did the money come from to do this, do you recall? '''Duff:''' It came from the individual Society budgets. '''Hochheiser:''' In this time period, would that also have included people from Eastern Europe? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' I know at that time the folks there had a lot of currency problems as well. '''Duff:''' Right. A lot of those countries had active EMC interests but they didn't have the money to join. '''Hochheiser:''' Were you successful in increasing the number of people coming to the conferences from these countries? '''Duff:''' I think we were, Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' Wonderful. How was other global participation, from countries like Western Europe, who might not have the financial barriers? '''Duff:''' Well, at this time, in addition to the EMC symposia that was supported by the IEEE, there were several other groups that shared or that held EMC symposia. One of them was a group in Europe. I made a trip to one of their conferences and basically gave a talk on IEEE, the IEEE EMC Society, and its activity in EMC. We tried to work together with these other symposia. It was a case where these different symposia were competing with each other. We were trying to coordinate them and make sure they didn't have symposia on the same date and things like that, to coordinate the activities so that the different symposia wouldn't get in each other's way and interfere with operations. '''Hochheiser:''' People who wanted to could attend both symposia. '''Duff:''' Right. We also set up a procedure where we cooperated. We set up a status we called cooperation. We had a formal definition of it. If we cooperated with another symposium, we would be active in helping them set up the technical program. We would not be responsible for any funding. We set up a procedure so we could interface with different symposia and cooperate without getting in each others way. '''Hochheiser:''' That seems clear as one area where you did some very good and important things while you were President. Any other areas such as membership in general? '''Duff:''' Yes, we also set up a procedure for increasing the membership here in the US. If someone attended a symposium, we would waive their membership fee for the first year. We would pay that out of the symposium dues part, at cost. That helped to increase the membership in the US considerably. Because people now had an incentive to go to the symposium and they would get free membership for a year. '''Hochheiser:''' If you're offering a free membership just for attending the symposium, they're more likely to join the Society. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' I noticed that that's still being done. I saw that in my registration packet. '''Duff:''' Yes, I think that started there in my term as President. '''Hochheiser:''' That's great. Any issues dealing with publications, the newsletter or the transactions? '''Duff:''' No, in fact, you're probably aware the newsletter just recently became a magazine. '''Hochheiser:''' Ah, I didn't know that. I didn't notice that transition. '''Duff:''' Yes, I think there've been three issues now that have been published as a magazine instead of a newsletter. I was involved in working on the newsletter for 30 years, I guess. As it started off, Tony Zimbalatti had a section in the newsletter that he wrote called Point and Counterpoint. Then he stopped that and I took it over and had a section that we called EMI Problems and Solutions. People would submit their problems and other EMC members would give the solution. Then I took over the EMC Personality Profiles and had that column for a number of years. '''Hochheiser:''' Any issues related to standards? '''Duff:''' Don Heirman was very active in standards. I've never really been active in standards. At the time that I was President, part of the FCC charter was to minimize EMI problems between transmitters and receivers. They didn't have the authority to regulate susceptibility. They could regulate emissions from transmitters, but they didn't have the authority to regulate susceptibility. Susceptibility was starting to become an issue mainly because there were a lot of home entertainment devices that were interfered with by external radios, land mobile, and other transmitters. During the time that I was President the FCC approached Congress and got permission from Congress to regulate susceptibility. We submitted a letter to a lot of the lawmakers in Congress taking a position that we felt that it was necessary to give the FCC the authority to regulate susceptibility as well as emissions because there's really a system problem and just regulating emissions wasn't going to solve the problem. The FCC got the authority to regulate susceptibility. They never really did anything. They used it as a club to hold over the head of companies. They basically said, okay, you've been getting by with these receivers that are very susceptible (TV receivers, AM/FM radio receivers). They all were very susceptible and they had a lot of the EMI problems. I think that the FCC had 80,000 problems a year that were reported as a result of transmitters, primarily land mobile and Ham radios, interfering with home entertainment receivers, televisions, radios, and stereos. The FCC used that as a club to hang over the head of the industry. As a result of that, the industry started policing itself. EIA came out with susceptibility standards. '''Hochheiser:''' EIA? '''Duff:''' Electronic Industry Association. It was a volunteer association that consisted of the companies in the industry. They had all gotten together to come up with standards for the electronic equipment. '''Hochheiser:''' This legislative effort started in the early part of the 80's, somewhere around that time? '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' I thought that was what you were saying. I just wanted to check. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' One of the things you needed to do as president was to run the board meetings. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' How did you manage the Board? '''Duff:''' One of the things that I noticed when I was on the board, before I was president was that the Board meetings would drag on for a long period of time. I thought they went for much longer than we really needed. It was obvious that there would be some topic that we were dealing with and it seemed like everyone wanted to have their say. It would become obvious after a while that people were saying the same thing. They're all in agreement, but they still wanted to debate the issue. I tried to encourage the Board members to not come up with redundant issues things. When it got to the point where it appeared that everybody was in agreement, we'd take a straw man vote and if everybody was in agreement, then we could wrap things up. I tried to run the Board meetings more efficiently. I think I was able to do that. I think we significantly cut down length of time that the meetings took. ===Member of the Technical Activity Board and Symposia Concerns=== '''Hochheiser:''' As the Society President you also were a member of IEEE TAB. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Was this your first exposure to overall IEEE beyond the society? '''Duff:''' Yes, it was. '''Hochheiser:''' How did you find TAB meetings? '''Duff:''' At first I was kind of floundering because it took me a while to get an understanding of what was going on there and what TABS responsibilities were. I did find it was helpful interfacing with some of the other societies and other divisions outside of just IEEE EMC Society. I would say it took me a year to really get my feet on the ground as far as TAB was concerned, to where I felt like I could contribute. '''Hochheiser:''' I take it you found that there were things in TAB that were useful to you, to bring back to the Society? '''Duff:''' I think this effort that we had to increase the membership in Europe and other countries was helpful. That was something that benefited the Society in the long run. '''Hochheiser:''' Were there any issues with the symposia while you were President? Or did things run smoothly there? '''Duff:''' I don't recall any issues there. There was one symposium that we had that lost a lot of money. It did poorly financially, but that wasn't when I was President. I think when I was President we were still recovering from the impact of that. '''Hochheiser:''' Before you were President there was a symposium that lost money. A financial hole that you had dig yourself out from. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' It took a while. '''Duff:''' Yes. The symposium that lost a lot of money was in Anaheim. A lot of people went to the symposium and didn't really attend the sessions. They went to Disneyland instead. '''Hochheiser:''' Too much in the way of distractions. '''Duff:''' Too much competition, Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' I suppose among other things that was a lesson in where and the where not to hold a symposium. '''Duff:''' Right. As a result of that they put some bounds on the budgeting process and so forth but I wasn't involved in that. '''Hochheiser:''' Anything else you recall from your two years as President? '''Duff:''' No, the Society grew and we had a lot more activity as far as meetings were concerned. We started having mini symposia. These would be like one day meetings. '''Hochheiser:''' Held at different time of the year from the main symposium? '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Would these be more narrowly focused on specific areas of EMC? '''Duff:''' Some of them were focused. If we had a meeting in Seattle. It might be focusing on the aircraft issues, because of Boeing being there. Usually there was some particular focus for these meetings. ===Becoming an IEEE Fellow and Completing his Doctorate=== '''Hochheiser:''' If we can just step back a bit. One thing I noticed is that in 1981 you became a Fellow of the IEEE. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' What were the accomplishments that were recognized for it? '''Duff:''' It was for the “development of design and analysis technology for achieving EMC at the system level”. '''Hochheiser:''' Were these still coming out of Air Force contracts? '''Duff:''' Yes. For the first 20 years I guess that I worked in the field of EMC I was working on Air Force contracts. '''Hochheiser:''' One other thing I noticed in the late 1970's is you earned a Doctorate. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' And my understanding is that this is from Clayton University. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' My understanding is that Clayton was one of the real pioneers in distance learning. '''Duff:''' Yes, that's true. What happened was I was taking courses at Syracuse to apply towards my doctor's degree. My advisor was Dr. Irv Gableman, who was the Chief Scientist at Rome Labs at the time. While I was going through this process he retired and became affiliated with Clayton University. Rather than start over again on my dissertation and the process, I went with him. He continued to be my faculty advisor. That was the easy out. The other alternative would have been to start over again at Syracuse or George Washington University. Between those two schools I had enough credit hours to qualify for the Doctor's degree at either one of those schools. But the work that I was doing became the basis for my dissertation '''Hochheiser:''' As is the case for quite a number of people. '''Duff:''' Yes, actually for my Master's degree, the work that I was doing at Rome served as the basis for my thesis. '''Hochheiser:''' Then it continued and served as the basis for your dissertation. '''Duff:''' Well, it didn't really. We received a contract from the FAA via NASA Langley. The FAA was interested in developing an automated landing system for aircraft. I got involved in working on that project, partly because one of the problems was EMC. We developed a computer model that could be used to evaluate different automatic landing systems. The FAA had three or four different versions of landing systems that they wanted to evaluate. They had scanning beam, Doppler, microwave and conventional instrument landing (ILS)systems . I think they had four different systems and I was involved in developing a computer model that they could use to evaluate the different systems. Like I said, one of the problems was EMI. They found that the aircraft had natural resonance frequencies. If you happened to be on one of those resonance frequencies, the aircraft would start to have wide excursions from the landing pattern. That served as my dissertation at Clayton. '''Hochheiser:''' It sounds like after 20 years of working on Air Force contracts, now you were working with the FAA, NASA, and other government agencies. '''Duff:''' That's true. I had started working beyond just the Air Force contracts. At about that same time, we shifted from the transmitter-receiver interference problem to the intra-system problems within an aircraft. We were concerned about equipment on the aircraft being interfered with by transmitters, and receivers being interfered with by equipment on the aircraft like power supplies and things other than just transmitters. This was the intra-system problem. We started working on that with the Air Force and worked on that for another ten years. During that time I became involved in a large program that the DOD had. It was called SEMI, which was Special Electromagnetic Interference. They were concerned about the vulnerability of weapons systems, to EMI. This was during the early stages of Vietnam. The pilots would find that when they launched a weapon system, the onboard transmitters, like their HF communication system, would interfere with the operation of the weapons system. The weapon systems were electronically guided and these electronically guided missiles and bombs were very accurate but they had severe interference problems. The DOD set up a program called SEMI that was to deal with those problems. Rome got involved in it. Rome had the Air Force part of SEMI which was called HAVE NOTE. We tested all of the Air Force weapon systems to determine their vulnerability to interference and to minimize that vulnerability. I worked with the Air Force on their part of the problem. I also worked with the Army out of White Sands and the Navy at Dalghren. They all had large anechoic chambers. The anechoic chambers are a large, shielded enclosure. '''Hochheiser:''' I was in the one at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, so I’m just a little bit familiar with properties of those chambers. '''Duff:''' We would put the weapon systems in an anechoic chamber and simulate the operation of the weapon system. We'd give it a target and move the target around within its performance envelope and inject interference into the chamber and see what effect that had on the weapons. At that point in time, almost all the weapons were susceptible to certain types of interference. The pilots would find out they'd be over North Vietnam and they wanted to launch a missile or a bomb, they had to shut down their onboard communication systems, particularly HF, to keep from interfering with the weapon. Of course, the pilots didn't like that. They also had to shut down their jammers. Here they are over North Vietnam, ready to launch a weapon, and they have to turn off their jammers until they launched the weapon and it gets a certain distance away from the aircraft. I worked on that problem for about ten years. Most of the work that I did was for the Air Force, but we did work for the Army too, out of White Sands. ===Continuing Volunteerism with IEEE=== '''Hochheiser:''' After you completed your term as President of the Society, did you continue to remain active? Did you continue to remain on the Board or in be other ways active? '''Duff:''' Yes, I continued to remain very active. I was on the EMC-S Board. I was nominated to run for the Division IV Director, and I was elected to that. '''Hochheiser:''' That's well into the 90's when you're Division Director. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' How did that come about? '''Duff:''' They had a nominating committee, and again, they approached me and asked me if I'd run for the Director of Division Four, which the EMC Society was in. There was agreement that the two largest Societies would alternate with the nomination for Divison IV Director. If they didn't have this agreement, the larger Society would elect the division director each year. '''Hochheiser:''' With the agreement, sometimes the Division Director would be from EMC-S, sometimes it would come from another society and the two largest societies agreed not to nominate people in the same year. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Right, I understand, that makes sense. '''Duff:''' Exactly. So I ran and was elected. '''Hochheiser:''' When you ran was this a contested election? Was there another nominee? '''Duff:''' Yes, there were other candidates. '''Hochheiser:''' Did you do anything in the way of campaigning? '''Duff:''' Just the normal biographical sketch that you submit to IEEE and you state what you hope to accomplish and why you should be elected. '''Hochheiser:''' What did you hope to accomplish? '''Duff:''' At that time, I was interested in this effort to make it possible for individuals to join IEEE that wouldn't be able to otherwise. '''Hochheiser:''' Continuing this interest that you'd had for many years then, because you were interested and worked on that when you were President of the Society in the 80's ===Work as the Region IV Director=== '''Hochheiser:''' You get elected. Now you're on the IEEE Board. '''Duff:''' Yes. '''Hochheiser:''' How did you find the IEEE Board? '''Duff:''' Again, it took me a year to figure out what I could do and what I could accomplish. At first it was a frustrating experience, because you're suddenly thrown into this Board and there were lot of things that were ongoing. At first you didn't know much about what was going on. I didn't. It took me a while before I felt like I could contribute. '''Hochheiser:''' Beyond this issue, which is what you were particularly interested in, are there any particular crises or problems that stick in your mind that the Board needed to pay attention to during that period? '''Duff:''' Yes, about this time IEEE was undergoing financial problems. There was a lot of controversy within the societies as to how they should be handled, within societies and within IEEE. They had taken over. I'm not sure of exactly what was going on, but they took over a lot of the budgeting process '''Hochheiser:''' The overall IEEE? '''Duff:''' The overall IEEE, I think took over. '''Hochheiser:''' A lot of the budgeting project that had been done at the society level. '''Duff:''' Right. I think I'm correct in saying that. It's been a long time. I know there was a problem with finances and took a lot activity to get that straightened out. The EMC Society has been, for the most part, has been very sound financially. They usually end up with a big surplus from the symposium. They haven't had any major financial problems for a number of years now. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. But you discovered that when you were on the Board that there were other societies that were not in this good financial shape, thus, leaving a problem for the overall IEEE to deal with. '''Duff:''' Right. Somehow they were getting support from the societies. And in some cases, the societies weren't too happy about having to give them that financial support. '''Hochheiser:''' Another thing you would've found on the Board in addition to all the division directors, there are all he regional representative from the geographic organizations. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Were there conflicts there between these two groups, these two perspectives? '''Duff:''' I think so. I don't recall any details right now, but I know there were issues. '''Hochheiser:''' How did your IEEE activities relate to your career? '''Duff:''' I think for the most part my activity in IEEE helped my career. It certainly helped me with being recognized as a key person in the EMC world. That helped my career. Being elected Fellow and being President of the EMC Society, all of those things were all considered positives by the company that I worked for, which was Atlantic Research through much of that time. ===Volunteerism in Recent Years=== '''Hochheiser:''' How time consuming was being IEEE EMS President? '''Duff:''' I would say I spent probably a day a week on the average. When you had things going on like during the symposium you'd be spending a week or a couple of weeks of time concentrated just before the symposium. In addition to being President. I was very much involved in the symposia. I was technical papers chairman on one of them, technical program chairman on another, and chairman of the symposium in the year 2000. '''Hochheiser:''' What does is being chair of the symposium involve? '''Duff:''' It's a major responsibility. It involves all the coordinating, all the activities which involve getting exhibitors support, setting up the technical program, setting up all the social functions. It's pretty time consuming. The had the symposium that we had in Washington, DC. It was very successful. We had 3,500 people there, which was by far the largest symposium we've had. For the reception we got the Air and Space Museum. In order to get the Air and Space Museum, you have to make a donation to the Smithsonian. We had the whole Air and Space Museum for the reception. Particularly people from outside the US really seemed to enjoy that. We got very good comments on it. '''Hochheiser:''' Another thing that I believe happened around the time you were on the Board was the transformation of the United States Activities Board into IEEE USA. Do you play any role in this? '''Duff:''' No, I didn't. I think being involved in the EMC Society was demanding enough. '''Hochheiser:''' In what ways have you remained active in either overall IEEE or in the EMCS since completing your Board service in the late 90's? '''Duff:''' I mentioned that I was the associate editor of the newsletter. I also served on the Fellow Evaluation Committee and I was chairman of the Fellow Evaluation Committee for EMC-S For quite a few years. I've been active attending symposia. '''Hochheiser:''' Have you been attending meetings of the Chapter? '''Duff:''' The Washington, DC area hasn't had a very active Chapter since we had the symposium in the year 2000. They're trying to become more active now. They've put in a bid for the symposium in 2017. In order to be active you have to have a nucleus of people. They don't have that in the Washington Chapter. They're trying to rebuild it. They've got a couple of people that have taken on the responsibility of chairing the symposium and other activities to try to rebuild the Chapter. ===Latter Phase of Career – Sentel Corporation and L-3=== '''Hochheiser:''' I notice in looking over your career that at some point in this period your affiliation is listed in what they call the Sentel Corporation. '''Duff:''' Right. '''Hochheiser:''' Was that different from all these acquisitions? '''Duff:''' Yes, Atlantic Research was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. I noticed at some point in your directory listings it said Computer Science Corporation. '''Duff:''' Yes. I had always worked for a small company basically. I started off with Jansky and Bailey. Atlantic Research bought Jansky and Bailey, but they still operated like a small business. I liked that type of an atmosphere. When Computer Sciences bought Atlantic Research, what was left of Atlantic Research, it was a whole different culture and I wasn't too happy with it. I left and went to Sentel. Sentel's another company in the Washington area. It was a small business. They were involved in EMC, so I went to work for them. '''Hochheiser:''' What projects were you working on when you worked at Sentel? '''Duff:''' They had Navy contracts. I was working primarily on Navy contracts. '''Hochheiser:''' Was this the first time you were really working on Navy contracts? '''Duff:''' No, we had developed some computer programs for the Navy called platform analysis. It was to help the Navy design the top side of ships so they wouldn't have EMI problems. This involves is finding the optimum location of the antennas and ultimately, minimizing EMI problems. I worked on that and had developed the computer program for the Navy that was very similar to what we did for the Air Force, except it was for ships instead of aircraft. The work was very similar to what I had been doing all along. '''Hochheiser:''' How long were you with Sentel? '''Duff:''' I don't remember exactly. It was a couple of years. It wasn't a long time. I was working with Sentel and then I had an opportunity to do some consulting for Coleman Research Corporation, which was later acquired by L-3. L-3 is another huge company. '''Hochheiser:''' Yes, L-3 is a company I've heard of. '''Duff:''' Coleman Research had received a contract from DARPA to work on interference problems for ultra-wideband systems. DARPA wanted to develop some communication systems that were based on ultra-wideband. They had a lot of advantages. They were more secure. They were harder to jam, more jam resistant. They had quite a few advantages, but they had the problem of possibly causing interference to other systems. Coleman Research had gotten a contract from DARPA to investigate this problem. They approached me and asked me if I would work for them as a consultant. It sounded like really good opportunity. I went to work for Coleman Research as a consultant, worked on the DARPA contract. Found that ultra-wideband systems were indeed sources of interference. They would jam almost anything if the conditions were right. As a result of that, I thought about the IED problem and thought maybe ultra wideband could be used to solve the IED problem. . '''Hochheiser:''' IED? '''Duff:''' The improvised explosive devices. These are the roadside bombs. I still had a good working relationship with Sentel. I talked to Sentel about this problem and the use of ultra-wideband to maybe act as a jammer. They decided they liked the idea and they funded me to develop a jammer. We developed an IED jammer that was very effective under certain conditions. The problem was, the jammer that was being used by the military before this was a brute- force jammer. It jammed not only the roadside bombs, but it also jammed all the communications in the convoy, the GPS and everything else that the convoy needed to accomplish their mission. There was a recognition that these brute-force jammers had some good points, but there was concern that they also had some problems. The jammer that we developed using ultra-wideband was a smart jammer. If you knew the characteristics of what you're trying to jam, you could select the parameters, the pulse width, the frequency, all of the parameters in such a way that you could jam the IED's very effectively. But the problem was you didn't always know the parameters. We demonstrated this at Fort Monmouth and some of the members of DOD liked it and others weren't too enthused by it. We got a patent on it. It's never really been used. As a result of that, I was involved in working with ultra wideband. It's a new type of interference problem. Coleman Research was bought by L-3, somewhere during that time. I still continued to consult for the new company. They had gotten a contract from the organization that's responsible for safety in coal mines. They wanted to develop a tracking and location system that they could use to help miners that were trapped in the coal mine get out and help the rescuers to get to the miners. We developed a system that was tested and worked very well in the coal mines. In fact I went down in several coal mines, and that's quite an experience, the first coal mine I went down in was 1,600 feet. The mine was 1,600 feet below ground level, which is a long way down. You're on an elevator that goes slow and it takes quite a while just to get from the surface down to the bottom in the mine. Then they had four parallel tunnels that went out from where the elevator took you. Each one of these tunnels was miles long. Only one of the tunnels had a railcar. You get in a railcar and you ride through this tunnel. It takes you another 15 to 20 minutes to get to where you're going. Then you start to have thoughts about gee, it took me about 40 minutes to get here. If we had an emergency it would take me longer than that to get out and it's kind of a chilling thought. You can't focus on that too much. But anyhow, we developed a location and tracking system that we tested in the coal mines. It worked very effectively. L-3 has since put in a number of systems in different coal mines. The Mine Safety Organization had an edict that all the coal mining companies had to have some kind of a system for location and tracking. I worked on that for four years as a consultant for L-3. Then we developed the system and they went into the installation mode. I wasn't a part of that because my role was developing it. '''Hochheiser:''' Right. Your work was done. '''Duff:''' My work was done. Then I did some other consulting, mostly small jobs. I've been teaching courses in EMC. I taught for ATI, which is Applied Technology Incorporated. They're a company that provides courses. I taught for them. I just recently gave that up because I have problems with my back. And in fact, I turned the work over to Daryl Gerke and Bill Kimmel. I don't know whether you've met them or not. They're very active in EMC. I just recently wrote a book, which was published by SciTech. I'm writing another book now. The first book was on EMC Design of Electronic Systems. The book I'm writing now is on EMC Design of Wireless Systems. Again, they're the two types of problems that involve transmitters interfering with receivers and the problems involved with transmitters interfering with other electronic systems. I've written five books total that have been published. I really enjoy writing. I feel it's a way I can make a contribution. Plus I can work at home, which has some advantages and some disadvantages. The advantage, you never have to leave home. The disadvantage is you never leave work. ===How has EMC and the EMC Society Changed Over Time=== '''Hochheiser:''' Looking back, in what ways has the field of EMC evolved and changed over your many, many years of activity? '''Duff:''' I think there's certainly a lot more electronic devices now. The interference problems have expanded considerably. Almost every field of electronics has potential EMI problems. I think we're going to see a lot more of these kinds of problems. I had an interesting thing happen in just the last couple of months. We had a bad storm that hit the Washington area. It hit most of the Mid Eastern part of the country. My wife and I went out to do some things the first day of this storm. We were without power. So went out to do some things and to get ready for an extended period without power. They were saying it would be a week maybe before they got the power back on. We suddenly discovered that without power a lot of things shut down. For example, you couldn't get gas. Most of the gas stations were closed, because they have electronic pumps now. The credit card authorization is electronic. You put your card in, it sends off the card number and verifies it, and all that wasn't working. ATM machines didn't work. I got a feel for what life could be like without power. You have the potential for interference causing large outages in the power grid. They have this concern now. In fact Don Heirman is working on that, the smart grid. There you have the potential for large interference signals, like might be produced by lightning or by high altitude nuclear explosion. If you have an explosion, high altitude nuclear explosion over the center of the US, it would wipe out all the electronic equipment that's not protected over the whole US. There's a lot of interest in that problem now. We're so dependent on grids. We’ve got communication grids. We’ve got power grids. And all of them are potentially susceptible to EMI problems. There've been a lot of problems. The Black Hawk helicopter, when they first started flying the Black Hawk they had interference problems to the flight control system. If the Black Hawk flew near a FM radio station, it was potentially susceptible to interference. A number of Black Hawks crashed in the early days. Some of those crashes were attributed to EMI. We had the sudden acceleration problem with automobiles. And it's a question as to whether that may be an EMI problem or not. Todd Hubing is working on that. It seems like every new electronic device that we have, has potential EMI problems. And I think we're going to experience it a lot more. You've got all the wireless devices now. When they first came out with the Blackberry it had EMI problems. '''Hochheiser:''' Similarly, in what ways has the EMC Society evolved over your many years of activity and attendance? '''Duff:''' There are a lot more companies and people involved in the Society, which I think is an indication of the fact that the problems have been growing. One of the things I've become aware of and that is of concern to me is that we've got a situation where we have a lot of experienced people and we have a lot of new people and there's a big gap in between. At least I see that there is. This past year in particular we've lost a lot of our key people. That's a concern that we're losing our corporate knowledge every time we lose a person. Just recently we had several of our key technical people pass away. You may have heard of Clayton Paul. '''Hochheiser:''' Yes, several people have mentioned him to me. '''Duff:''' Clayton was one of our top engineers. Clayton and I worked together at Rome. He worked on the Rome post-doc program. We worked together at Rome and worked together on a lot of problems after that. I had real close relationship with Clayton and was certainly sorry to see he's deceased. Gene Cory was another one. We've just lost a lot of people recently. I think it would be good if the IEEE could somehow set up a mentoring system where your experienced people could mentor the new people coming into the field. They've got the gold program, which I think is a good thing. It seems like there's some way that you could use the gold program to assign new people to more experienced people for mentoring. I don't know whether there are any plans to use the gold program in that way or not, but it certainly would seem to be a good use of part of the gold program. ===Final Thoughts=== '''Hochheiser:''' As you may have noticed, when we started I had a bunch of cards face up and now they're almost all face down. Let me ask you, can you think of anything that you would like to add that I didn't think to ask you about? '''Duff:''' I found that being active in IEEE has been a very beneficial thing. One of the things that's always impressed me is that there's a lot of competition in the EMC community, but yet, when it comes to IEEE activities, all this competition seems to fall by the wayside and people work together. And this has been true particularly with the symposia. It's a massive effort. It requires a lot of coordination, a lot of working together. One of our fiercest competitors in the Washington area was a company by the name of SFA, Sax Freeman Associates. Ernie Freeman was the founder of the company. And Ernie and I, we often competed with each other. But yet, if I had an IEEE requirement that needed to be taken care of I could call Ernie and he'd pitch in and help. This to me has always been very impressive. The fact that you have this competitive aspect and yet, you pull together on working towards IEEE activities. '''Hochheiser:''' One thing that strikes me about EMCS is the relative number of practitioners as opposed to academics. There are other Societies that seem to be far more tilted towards academics than people like you, who are working engineers. '''Duff:''' Yes. One of the reasons for that is I think EMC is a type of problem that a lot of times you can't really approach academically. It's the kind of problem that’s just not approachable from an academic standpoint. There's some real tough problems you have to deal with. A lot of the EMC requirements involve making measurements. And if you look at the list of exhibitors, you'll find that a lot of the exhibitors are companies that make measurements, EMI measurements, to ensure that equipment complies with standards or to characterize the equipment from an EMI standpoint. I think the measurement activities are not something that you can approach analytically. '''Hochheiser:''' Makes sense. Anything else you'd care to add? '''Duff:''' No, that's all I can think of. '''Hochheiser:''' Well, again, thank you very much for your time. '''Duff:''' You're welcome. [[Category:Electromagnetics|Duff]] [[Category:Electromagnetic compatibility|Duff]] [[Category:IEEE|Duff]] [[Category:Awards & fellow activities|Duff]] [[Category:Conference activities|Duff]] [[Category:Sections|Duff]] [[Category:Student branches|Duff]] [[Category:Governance|Duff]] [[Category:Boards|Duff]] [[Category:Societies|Duff]] Summary: This is a minor edit Watch this page Cancel Retrieved from "https://ethw.org/Oral-History:William_G._Duff"