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Myron Miller: Power Electronics Publication Visionary

Dec. 15, 2017
Starting with SSPC in the 1970s, he left behinds a legacy as a forward-thinking advocate for power electronics technology.

Myron Miller passed away on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the age of 89 in Ventura, Calif. With his publications, Miller leaves a legacy as a visionary and advocate for power electronics technology. He founded his first magazine in 1975 under the name Solid State Power Conversion (SSPC). Simultaneously, Miller launched the Powercon conference, giving the power conversion industry an identity for the first time. After more than a decade of laboring over proprietary technologies in isolation, merchant power supply companies finally had two complementary forums in which they could build industry relations and develop products that were needed in mainstream markets.

In 1979 Miller was responsible for setting up the first power conversion conference and exhibit in Europe. Power Conversion ’79 was the first launch of an annual pan-European conference and exhibit. Top-level U.S. scientists met their counterparts in Europe for the first time.

Soon after, he established a similar conference in the United States. His magazine’s name was changed to Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion in 1988, and then PCIM Power Electronic Systems in 1998.

I spent many years working for Myron, as his only editor. He was always looking for new technologies to cover in his magazines. In 1986, after realizing that the driving forces within the power supply user community for even smaller product profile required next-generation high-switching-frequency technology, he started the High Frequency Power Conversion (HFPC) as a standalone conference and exhibit. By 1994 HFPC became the first conference to focus on digital power control systems. The conference also included power supply system compatibility for digital designers and electronic ballast design and control.

Suppliers later agreed that focusing on the unique design problems associated with high-frequency power supplies was instrumental in driving change in the industry. And as a result, time to market has moved up by three to five years.

In 1989, PCIM Europe magazine opened in Germany by a sister company, ZM Communications, expanding to include major fairs in Europe and Asia. Also in 1989 PCIM sponsored the first PCIM/Power Quality combined conference and exposition. A pioneering forum, Megawatts Versus Microchips, creates a face-to-face meeting between the electric utility industry and the electronics industry.

Miller introduced the Power Electronics Systems Summit in 1989. This event focused attention on power systems throughout the industry when it was recognized that power electronics had become the enabling technology in the advances of many electronic devices and systems. At the summit, the Art Fury award was presented to Dr. Fred Lee for establishing the Center for Power Electronic Systems (CPES) at the Virginia Institute of Technology.

Today, Myron’s original publication continues only online at powerelectronics.com. It continues to publish articles on power management components and systems, alternative energy sources, electronic lighting, power semiconductor, and transportation power electronics.

In 1999, Myron decided to retire from magazine publishing. By his side in all these ventures was his wife, Marji who wanted to redirect her daily activities. The magazine was first sold in 2000, and sold again two years later when the magazine began life as Power Electronics Technology. A few years later, the magazine was sold to Penton Media, which was acquired by a British company, Informa, in 2016.

After selling the magazine, Myron wanted to give something more to the industry he helped to nurture. The Gold Coast Innovation Center (GCIC) was Myron's answer. GCIC was located on the campus of California State University-Channel Islands (CSU-CI) in Camarillo, Calif.

The Center was conceived to participate in the growing global initiative to solve electrical energy challenges. Miller described the Center as “A Global Energy Empowerment Zone” that will leverage the power of organized information, knowledge, and people to support collaboration between government, industry, and academia. Miller’s vision was that this collaboration will accelerate the development of electrical energy technologies, products, and job skills required for this century and beyond.

Miller said, “At the system sublevel, power electronics and power conversion are absolutely key enabling technologies that thread through all segments of energy generation and application.”

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