A short history of
Past ICEM SC Chair
Life Member of the ICEM NPO Board
When I was asked by Professor Ronnie Belmans and Professor Bülent Ertan to say some words about the history of ICEM, I tried to remember what the real origin of ICEM was. Officially, no doubt, this was in September 1974, and the official founder, no doubt also, was Professor Arthur Ellison from the City University of London, UK. So, why not Professor Ellison to talk about ICEM-History?
Well: because all that European conference activities which we have today had a forerunner, and this forerunner was born-like many great things- very casually, in the mediterranian area, the cultural hub of Europe. I myself was lucky enough to participate in that development, and that may be the reason why I have been asked to talk to you this night.
The very beginning may be redated to 1966, when I had the rare opportunity to attend a summer conference in Boulder, Colorado, USA about numerical field calculations which was organized by Professor Edward Erdelyi (1908-1980). Many young individuals were present who later on should become famous Professors, among these Peter Lawrenson, Pete Sylvester, Michel Poloujadoff, and Konrad Reichert. There was also a young scientist from Italy, Enrico Pagano, with his charming wife, who instructed us on all the possibilities outside the conference. He organized meetings and sightseeing tours, and was a very lovely and agile man. Why do I mention this? Some years later, in 1970, I got a mail from Italy. Enrico Pagano asked me to send him some copies of my publications, and I was very glad to hear from him. I sent him the copies, wished him all the best, and asked him to convey my best wishes to his wife.
Only some days later, I got a letter. Dr. Enrico Pagano from the University of Naples, Italy expressing his deep gratitude for the good wishes, and also his wife did so. But obviously, he said, he was not the one which was acquainted to me from the US, because he would not know me personnally, so sorry. But of course, he continued, that should be altered immediately. He invited me and my former boss, Professor Jordan, from the Technical University of Hannover, to bella Napoli. We went there, and had a very friendly meeting with exchange of professional ideas with our Italian colleagues. This was the very beginning. We decided to organize small symposia, making use of the overwhelming area around the Gulf of Naples.
In the following year, in March of 1971, the first Symposium on Electrical Machines and Static Converters was held in Sorrento. It was a small gathering, about 30-40 persons, and, I think, I should point it out, without conference fees, dinners and banquets. Subsequent symposia were held in 1972 and 1973, both on the charming island of Capri, and it was one of these two, where Professor Arthur Ellison asked himself and other participants, wether or not these events should be extended to form an International Conference on Electrical Machines (ICEM). This should attract professionals from all over the world, and it should be centered in Europe.
Well, the British were good organizers, and they had the feeling for international connections and relationships. So, the first ICEM was inaugurated in London in 1974. We met at the City University, about 60 papers were presented from authors of Europe, Canada and the US, and there were some 200 individuals from 15 countries in attendance. The conference fee was 12 Sterling Pounds and 50 Cents (ie 15 € from today), the conference dinner was at 3 Sterling Pounds (ie 3.5 € from today). Why do I mention that economic detail ? Because I think it is worthwhile to consider how things have changed in the meantime. The frame of the conference together with its costs and obviously our pretensions also, have exploded within these 24 years. Should not we at least try to return to modesty ?
During this first ICEM, the International Steering Committee (ISC) was also founded, with Professor Arthur Ellison as its International Chairman. I confess that the nomination of the 10 members, with Professors Cruickshank, Hammond, Oberretl and Slemon, was all but democratic. The whole institution was very informal, and that has not changed up to these last days.
From the very beginning, the concept of ICEM was to create an informal, but effective forum for electrical machine engineers from all over the world, as well from universities and from industry. At the biennial meetings, intentively at the beginning of September of every even year, an exchange of ideas should take place on the basis of personal contacts and possibly friendships. A further information on what was going on in our field should be guaranteed. The center of the conference venues should be Europe.
In the following years, it turned out that the best form of organization of conferences would be to impose the total responsibility to local organisers. Without exceptions, these conditions have always been met by universities. To be more accurate, our colleagues from academia together with a local organizing committee have been always organizers. The ISC only defines the boundary conditions. This means that not only the work has to be done by the local organizers, but also that they bear the total financial risk. Of course, normally there will occur a certain surplus, but this is not always the case.
On this basis, the ICEM were run in Vienna, Austria (1976), Brussels, Belgium (1978), Athens, Greece (1980), Budapest, Hungary (1982), Lausanne, Switzerland (1984), Munich, Germany (1986), Pisa, Italy (1988), Boston, USA (1990, the first and the time outside Europe), Manchester, UK (1992), Paris, France (1994), Vigo, Spain (1996) and this year in İstanbul, Turkey.
During this time, ICEM has been developed as a high quality standard event and contributions have been attracted from all over the world. In all cases, a preselection has been done by the local organizing committee on the basis of abstracts. In this procedure, a considerable number of proposals have been rejected. The remaining number of final papers, which have been collected in the ICEM Proceedings and the number of presentations, have been always large enough. As an average of the last 7 conferences, about 270 papers have been presented (this year about 400!) either in oral or in dialogue sessions. The policy, that many participants should have the opportunity to be aware of, is that a very large number of presentations will be available to the audiance and it has been an intrinsic feature of ICEM from the very beginning. Meanwhile, this policy has been adopted by most of the succeeding conferences.
It is clear that local organizers have to claim for registration fees from every participant wether he/she will present a paper or not. Therefore, everybody must contribute financially otherwise, the conference would not work. Despite this burden, the number of participants has been increased up to 400 as an average of the last 7 conferences, the maximum beeing 594 in Paris, France, 1994, after 462 in Munich, Germany, 1986.
Meanwhile, ICEM has contributed to launch several sister events. One of them is the European Power Electronics Conference (EPE). In the early eighties, it was discussed in between Professor Arthur Ellison and Professor Gaston Maggetto from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium and Professor Leonhard from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, wether it would be possible to extend the subject of electrical machines to power electronics and its applications. At that time, we had already about 300 papers each conference, and it was considered impossible to enlarge the number of conference days beyond three. As ICEM was large enough, the power electronics section has been separated. The first EPE conference started, in 1985 for a Brussels edition and took place every odd year.
In the same way, coperations have been established with China and Australia in order to cover the Asian-Pasific area. I was lucky enough to contribute to these projects during my ICEM ISC chairmanship in between 1982 and 1988.
In 1987, the first Chinese Conference on Electrical Machines (CICEM) happened in Beijing, China. It was a great success, many Chinese colleagues attended the conference, they would not have been able to come to Europe. The following CICEM was at Wuhan in 1993, and the next will be at Xian in 1999.
In 1987, an electric energy conference was organised by our colleague Professor Ozdemir Göl in Adelaide, Australia. At this occasion, I could recrute Prof. Ozdemir Göl as a member of the ICEM ISC and establish a relationship between ICEM and Australia. The first International Conference on Electrical Machines in Australia (ICEMA) has been inaugurated by Professor Göl in 1993. It was also an exciting conference with many actual contributions in a magnificent environment.
Apart these previously described events, other electrical machines and drives conferences have been launched in Europe such as OPTIM in Romania and the Aegean Conference (ACEMP) in Turkey. Also our Italian colleagues have been still active with the biennial Symposion on Power Electronics, Electrical Drives and Advanced Machines (SPEEDAM) in Italy.
I wonder how wide a good idea can be spread out and I am also surprised by the fact that a classical subject such as electrical machines has so many fans. Today, it is so that someone could attend conferences on electrical machines and correlated subjects all over the year. In doing so for all of them, I would not find time to comply with my daily work.
What is the secret of such activities? On one hand, I guess, electrical machines are still a central topic in the education of electrical engineers, not only due to traditional reasons but also due to the physical approach. This analogous way of thinking and imaginating is necessary in our digital world of information technology. Otherwise, we will forget what real technology means, namely that it is a highly complex mixture not only of electrical but also of mechanical, thermal, and chemical phenomena, of noise, vibration, insulation, fabrication, faults. This is not a virtual reality but a down to earth view.
On the other hand, principles of electromagnetic energy conversion in connection with the rapidly developing power electronics and modern digital signal processing offer an ever increasing variety of configurations. They are far beyond the classical basic constructions. This requires a thorough physical understanding and the handling of all appropriate information techniques associated with computer simulation and data processing. Therefore, it has been fascinating to deal with electrical machines as the hub of motion technology which will be always necessary in our technical world with an increasing tendency.
Speaking of myself, I must confess that electrical machines have caught me more than 45 years ago, and did not leave me off since that time. I saw small and big ones during my apprenticeship in industry, DC, AC and special machines such as amplidynes and Scherbius-cascades. I did my studies with impact on this, I wrote my PhD thesis on electrical machines, became Professor of this subject (what I had never intended, because industry was in my mind), I tried to inspire my students, developed new drive systems, wrote publications, and I am still enthusiastic on electrical machines, although my retirement is already short before me.
Coming to the end, I would like to encourage all my colleagues, especially young scientists and engineers, to study the electromechanical energy conversion very dilebirately under all traditional and modern aspects, and doing so to have the real world in mind. I am sure that this will lead for them to a very satifsfying professional life.
I wish ICEM all the best for its further development.
Past ICEM SC Chair
Life Member of the ICEM NPO Board
Developments in the ICEM world
Trends and future
Gérard-André Capolino, PhD, DSc, Life Fellow IEEE
Past ICEM SC Chair
Life Member of the ICEM NPO Board
As my term of being the last ICEM Steering Committee Chair was over on December 31, 2019, it was my duty to explain all recent evolutions of the ICEM from an informal International Steering Committee (ISC) to a real non-profit organization (NPO) registered in Switzerland with the brand ICEM. This is also an important part of the ICEM history.
I will not recall all the history since Professor Heinz Bausch did it in the previous part and certainly much better than I could do. In 2002, I have been asked by the late Professor Michel Poloujadoff, who was among the first ICEM founders, to substitue him if agreed by the ISC. He retired in 2000 from University Pierre & Marie Curie (now Sorbonne University) and said clearly to me and probably to Professor John Tegopoulous and Professor Brian Chalmers that the 2002 ISC meeting in Bruges, Belgium will be the last to which he will participate. At that time, the ISC representation was almost based on one individual per country recognized by the electrical machines community. Therefore, I should be the representative for France. I was invited to the meeting, I was introduced by the late Professor Poloujadoff and almost discretely elected as an ISC member starting my term at the end of the 2002 ISC meeting. It was the begining of a great collaboration in between myself as a volunteer and ICEM which is not yet over at the time being !
Up to 2000, the ICEM Proceedings were based on large paper volumes (weight of several kilos) without any copyright and without any possibilty to be purchased by individuals and libraries not participating directly or indirectly to ICEM events. The edition 2002 in Bruges, Belgium was the first one with Proceedings recorded on a CD-ROM but still without copyright and without the possibility to purchase it after the end of the conference. It was not the only drawback since even the brand ICEM was not protected and did not belong to any registered organization. As a new member of the ICEM ISC, I was a little bit disturbed by these facts and also by the lack of visibility of such a large conference (500 or more attendees). I worried about what could happen if someone would like to hack the ICEM brand and to destroy what has been launched on 1974 for the first time. My conclusion was that all in ICEM was based on voluntary basis and that everything could not be considered as official.
Fortunately, I was not the only one worrying about ICEM and its future. The late Professor Brian Chalmers, who was ICEM SC Chair at that time, asked me during a very long discussion what could be done to offer more visibility to ICEM papers and what could be the IEEE position on the matter. We were both IEEE Fellows but I was the only one in the ICEM ISC being already member of the board of one IEEE society : the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IEEE-IES). Apart ICEM, in which I did publish regularly since 1978, I did attend many other IEEE conferences such as IECON, IAS Annual Meeting and more. Therefore, I was almost familiar of the way IEEE did operate for publication matters.
IEEE was, and is still, the largest international scientific organization in the field of electrical engineering and it could offer a forum for conferences and technical publications. It has more than 400,000 members in almost 160 countries around the world. Electrical machines are well represented within IEEE with not less than 3 societies having technical committees on the matter : the Industry Applications Society (IEEE-IAS), the Industrial Electronics Society (IEEE-IES) and the Power and Energy Society (IEEE-PES). Even if IEEE used to give priority to its own conferences by sponsoring them and sometime publishing post-conference papers in IEEE journals, the principle of technical co-sponsorship of external conferences has been created long time ago. In fact, based on the opinion of technical committees from organizational units (IAS, IES and/or PES) controlling the quality of papers, it was possible to have this technical co-sponsorship and to pass all papers from the Proceedings inside one of the largest data base of publications in the field of electrical engineering (more than 5,600,000 items at date). Of course, many other conditions should be met to achieve this advantage such as a minimum of 3 independent reviews per paper being in the Proceedings with all of them having an IEEE Copyright and a double-check by an anti-plagiarism software (CrossCheck). An other condition was that indivual being inside IEEE technical committees should be involved in the ICEM Technical Program Committee for each conference.
Fortunately, an interesting event did occur during the year 2004 when I was asked by Bogdan Wilamowski, IEEE-IES President at that time, to create and to chair a technical committee devoted to electrical machines inside the IEEE-IES. Even if the task was somehow difficult, I did work hard to attract colleagues from the electrical machines community and most of them had already participated to ICEM events in the past. I was lucky to succeed and this technical committee was launched with around 50 members from this community now it is 300). It was the origin of the collaboration in between IEEE and ICEM.
By coming back to the concern of Brian Chalmers, I was not sure to address it by proposing the technical co-sponsorship of ICEM to IEEE Organizational Units (OUs). However, in IEEE, personal relationships and confidence were the basis for top management decisions. Even if the priority of any IEEE technical committee was to support IEEE conferences and journals, sponsorship and technical co-sponsorships of external events were more than welcome. After further discussions with Brian Chalmers and members of the ICEM ISC, it was decided that I proposed the ICEM technical co-sponsorship to both IEEE-IES and IEEE-IAS in 2005. Much to my surprise, it was immediately accepted by both IEEE-IAS and IEEE-IES as contributions of their electrical machines technical committees. To be clear and honest, it was very easy to convince the IEEE-IES technical committee on electrical machines since I was its chair at that time.
Therefore, the ICEM2006 edition was the first one technically co-sponsored by IEEE. The first step was completed even if there were still many small issues to be fixed. For unknown reasons, but it is always the same thing the first time, all ICEM2006 papers have not been passed in the IEEEXplore. It has been perhaps a misunderstanding in between ICEM2006 organizers and IEEE. The first floor of the rocket was launched and from 2008 on all accepted and presented papers of any ICEM event were transferred to IEEEXplore. Without any doubt, this step did give more visibility to ICEM and much to my surprise ICEM papers were the ones most dowloaded of IEEE technically co-sponsored conferences in the area of power. This last fact did bring smoothness in relationships in between ICEM and IEEE for ever. In the past, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in between ICEM and IEEE was signed for multiple editions but from 2015 on, it has been signed edition by edition without any problem.
When I was elected ICEM ISC Chair in 2006 during the Chania edition, it was clear in my mind that the strong relationship with IEEE was only one step to elevate ICEM as high as possible. As said before, ICEM did not have any legal existence and even the brand could be copied without any claim possibility from our side. Moreover, any unfriendly group of people could organize ICEM from their own without the authorization of the ICEM ISC which did not have any legal existence as well. In between 2000 and 2002, the late Brian Chalmers did write a Modus Operandi which was adopted by the ICEM ISC but it was a couple of pages only known from ICEM ISC members. What could we do to change these strong drawbacks and to make ICEM more legal than before ?
The first thing was to register the brand. Even if any individual could register a brand in Europe by a logo deposit, it could not be done on behalf of the ICEM organization since it had no legal existence. Nevertheless, I decided to register the brand with the ICEM ISC consent since it did not cost a lot. A new logo was created for the ICEM2008 edition, it was nice and adopted by the ICEM ISC. This was the one which was registered and which is still active today. During the 2010 edition in Roma, it was decided to do something to make the ICEM existence more effective. Even if the large majority of ICEM ISC members were in favour of this trend, I did see clearly some reluctancies to make a progress in this direction. No need to say that it was just the begining of some disagreements inside the ICEM ISC. May I add, that ICEM2010 was the first one which used the IEEE-IES submission and review system (SUBMIT) which made the life of ICEM organizers muc more easy compared to the past. This software (PCT) did also the conference Proceedings automatic generation as well as a possibility to pass all accepted and presented papers to IEEEXplore.
Any large international conference, and ICEM is one of them, has to reward volunteers and to launch a process of awards to recognize scientific performances. Even if ICEM had paper awards, nothing was officially written and it was not done for every edition (I remember clearly a paper award ceremony during ICEM1998 but nothing for ICEM2000). In my opinion, scientific awards are very serious matters which have to avoid conflicts of interest and suspicious behaviours. It is the reason why I insisted a lot to officially appoint an ICEM Award Chair inside the ICEM ISC and to write clear rules for selecting and awarding individuals deserving these recognitions. Again, it was voted but I did see that some ICEM ISC members did not agree clearly with the process. Therefore, the late Professor Jan Malkebeek was elected ICEM Award Chair in 2008 and staid on board up to 2020. I forgot to say that when I was elected ICEM ISC Chair, I decided to run all the meetings by using the well-known Robert’s rules of order. This is certainly the best way to operate when any committee has members coming from all around the world. This is also the mode of operation used in IEEE. In 2009, all rules to deliver ICEM awards were written and they have been used to deliver the first ICEM official awards in 2010 during the Roma edition. Even if the process has been refined and if the number of awards has been increased a bit, these rules are still in operation today and we did already have 6 offical award ceremonies.
It was also in the 2010 ICEM edition that discussions have been launched to make ICEM an official organization. At the begining, it was a very contreversal item. In fact, ICEM SC members have divided themselves in two parts. The first one was conservative and did not want to change anything even if the danger to disapear was pending. The second one was more proactive and would like to make things happened by an offcial registration of both ICEM brand and organization. No need to say that I did belong to the second category which fortunately was the largest. Nothing was decided or voted on the matter during this 2010 edition. However, a sort of tension was created among ICEM ISC members. Even what was voted in 2008 for ICEM awards was asked to be re-discussed. No Sir ! Any discussions and any votes have to be asked by following strictly the Robert’s rules of order. Two motions to re-discuss previous decisions did fail because of the lack of majority.
To be clear and honest, I did not expect such reluctancies from some ICEM ISC members knowing rather well the community and having worked inside for so many years. Much to my surprise, I discovered that some ICEM ISC members were clearly in conflict of interest inside our committee since they used it to run concurrent conferences at the same time. What have been their top priorities (ICEM or other conferences) ? Up to now, I was not able to answer to this simple question. The 2012 edition in Marseille, France should have been the opportunity to go ahead with discussions to pass ICEM to a real non-profit organization (NPO). However, a small number of ICEM ISC members did try to challenge me and asked for the end of my term as ICEM ISC Chair. Unfortunately for them, their motion failed twice and they disappeared for ever from the ICEM community. In the meantime, a large IEEE Society put on the table an unfriendly proposal to purchase the ICEM as a whole. This item was very easy to be solved since a motion answering NO has been unanimously voted. However, these two events led to very short discussions on the matter of ICEM NPO and its registration because of the lack of time. It was at least decided that the NPO was the structure to be adopted and that the location for registration should be almost neutral and Switzerland was chosen.
During the 2014 and 2016 editions of ICEM, a large majority of ICEM ISC members did work hard to make what has been decided happened. The structure of the ICEM NPO was refined and a part of the surplus of ICEM2016 was used to contract with a lawyer to write the first ICEM NPO Constitution for registering it in Lausanne, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland. Many thanks to Dr. Basile Kawkabani, ICEM ISC Secretary at that time, for being instrumental for the discussions with the lawyer. The second floor of the rocket was launched ! As a final step during ICEM2018, everything was presented before the official registration of ICEM NPO in Switzerland. Unfortunately, a single request to re-discuss the NPO existence was raised but again the motion failed. At the end of 2018, a lawyer did write the final Constitution of ICEM NPO which was double-checked and corrected by a sub-committee composed of ICEM ISC members. In June 2019, it was finalized. It was officially registered in January 2020 after a new election of the ICEM NPO AdCom was finalized. Now, the ICEM NPO AdCom is composed of 22 elected members (with in fact 2 Life Members appointed as past ISC or AdCom Chairs) with a Chair, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary and a Treasurer. It has also representative from IEEE soceties. It has been fully operative since then and was in charge of governing ICEM NPO. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemia did brake all ICEM activities but the edition 2020 was organized as a virtual event for the first time in the ICEM history. Therefore, the first ICEM NPO AdCom meeting was virtual too. The last floor of the rocket was launched !
This is the conclusion of the most recent ICEM history and of its transformation from a simple ICEM ISC to a registered NPO with both a Constitution and Bylaws. Of course, if facts are real and can be testified, I added my own vision of these last years of the ICEM ISC from its Chair point of view. Nowadays, apart these administrative details, ICEM got its full independence, the conference is still very successful and its structure has been stabilized. It is a 4-day event (instead of 3) organized each even year with a full day dedicated to tutorials and then keynote speeches, oral and dialogue sessions for both regular tracks and special sessions, exhibitors, a student forum, an award ceremony and more. Moreover, a satellite event has been launched by IEEE-IES and the first edition was organized in Paris for my 60th birthday in 2013. The International Workshop for Electrical Machines Design, Control and Diagnosis (WEMDCD) is still alive today. Even if it has been of smaller size compared to ICEM, it will be an other forum organized each odd year for the benefit of the electrical machines community.
Long life and all the deserved success to ICEM ! Its future will be certainly bright.
Gérard-André Capolino, PhD, DSc, Life Fellow IEEE
Past ICEM SC Chair
Life Member of the ICEM NPO Board