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Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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Deji Chen on Becoming an ISA Fellow

A Conversation with Deji Chen, ISA Fellow 2024The International Society of Automation (ISA) sat down with Deji Chen, one of four individuals to be elevated to the distinguished grade of ISA Fellow in 2024. The esteemed Fellow member grade is one of ISA’s highest honors, recognizing only those Senior Members who have made exceptional contributions to the automation profession, in practice or in academia.

ISA: What does becoming an ISA Fellow mean to you?

Chen: It means a lot! During my work at Emerson, I have observed that many colleagues I looked up to became ISA Fellows, including Terry, Marty, Willy, Eric, and of course my manager/mentor Mark Nixon. It has become my dream to be recognized among them. It still feels like a dream to me right now.


ISA: What contribution to the automation industry got you nominated?

Chen: I am recognized as among the first people who pioneered bringing wireless technology to industrial automation.

WirelessHART is the first international standard on industrial wireless communication in the plant. It was initiated by Emerson. While Mark Nixon and Eric Rotvold were busy co-writing the standard text with Wally Pratt who is from the HART communication Foundation, I led a team of Ph.D. students of Professor Al Mok at the University of Texas at Austin for the literature research and technical verification. The code we wrote was later developed into the testing system for the WirelessHART certification by the HART communication Foundation. The text we wrote was later developed into a definitive book on industrial wireless sensor networks.

OPC was also pioneered by Emerson [among others]. My first job at Emerson was developing this standard with Mark Nixon's team. In the meantime, I participated in coding OPC software in the DeltaV system. OPC-UA has become the mainstream standard for IIoT.

After coming back to China, I was invited to work on IEC 30141, the IoT architecture standard. During this period, I initiated and chief-edited the IEC30165 standard (Real-Time IoT Framework) to emphasize the real-time aspect of an IoT system.

These standard works, including those of Chinese national standards, are part of my work around IIoT. ProudSmart, the IIoT company I started, has built an IIoT platform product that has been used in many smart manufacturing systems in China.


ISA: How has being an ISA member and now Fellow positively impacted your career?

Chen: My daily task at Emerson mainly was of product development. My association with ISA fulfills my craving for exploration and innovation. Some highlights of my career with ISA are receiving from ISA the Excellence in Documentation Award for the paper I co-wrote "Improving PID Control with Unreliable Communications;" receiving from ISA the Raymond D. Molloy Award for the book I co-authored "Wireless Control Foundation - Continuous and Discrete Control for the Process Industry;" and the translation into Chinese of three ISA award-winning books “Control Loop Foundation," "Advanced Control Foundation" and "Wireless Control Foundation."

More from Deji Chen

In an exclusive interview with InTech magazine, Deji Chen answered questions about his distinguished career. Mr. Chen also authored an article, "The Case for DIPS and Distributed, Intelligent Automation," which appeared in the April 2024 issue of InTech. 

Liz Neiman
Liz Neiman
Liz Neiman is the managing director of strategic engagement for the International Society of Automation (ISA), with oversight of marketing, communications, PR, events, and outreach activities. Prior to joining ISA, Liz led marketing, communications, and events activities for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as for edtech nonprofit MIND Research Institute. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

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