Milestone-Proposal:ASCII MIlestone - IEEE NJ Coast Section

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Docket #:2013-24

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), 1963

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

ASCII, a character-encoding scheme originally based on the Latin alphabet, became the most common character encoding on the World Wide Web through 2007. ASCII is the basis of most modern character-encoding schemes. The American Standards Association X3.2 subcommittee published the first edition of the ASCII standard in 1963. Its first widespread commercial implementation was in the American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) Teletypewriter eXchange network and Teletype Model 33 teleprinters.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE NJ Coast Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE NJ Coast Section
Senior Officer Name: Rulei Ting

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE NJ Coast Section
Senior Officer Name: Irfan Lateef

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE NJ Coast Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Krishna Raghunandan

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Newman Wilson
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Krishna Raghunandan
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Frank Lsalo
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Ralph W Wyndrum Jr
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Irfan Lateef
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Arshad Zarak
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

AT&T Labs 200 S Laurel Ave Middletown, NJ 07748

GPS coordinates:

Latitude and Longitude (Decimal) Latitude and Longitude ( Latitude: 40.3973552 Latitude: N 40° 23′ 50.48″ Longitude: -74.1356959 Longitude: W 74° 8′ 8.51″

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. This site is the AT&T Labs Building, 200 S Laurel Ave , Middletown, NJ 07748

There is a mounted bust of Alexander Graham Bell in the vicinity of where the plaque will be installed.

Are the original buildings extant?

YES, this building is current operational and used as labs facility housing nearly 5000 employees.

Details of the plaque mounting:

Ground Floor Entrance Hall Lobby

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The site is within the security perimeter of the AT&T.

Yes, visitors will have to sign in at the front desk of the facility.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?


What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

See URL -

The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII /ˈæski/ ass-kee) is a character-encoding scheme originally based on the English alphabet that encodes 128 specified characters - the numbers 0-9, the letters a-z and A-Z, some basic punctuation symbols, some control codes that originated with Teletype machines, and a blank space - into the 7-bit binary integers. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, though they support many additional characters. ASCII developed from telegraphic codes. Its first commercial use was as a seven-bit teleprinter code promoted by Bell data services. Work on the ASCII standard began on October 6, 1960, with the first meeting of the American Standards Association's (ASA) X3.2 subcommittee. The first edition of the standard was published during 1963, a major revision during 1967, and the most recent update during 1986. Compared to earlier telegraph codes, the proposed Bell code and ASCII were both ordered for more convenient sorting (i.e., alphabetization) of lists, and added features for devices other than teleprinters. ASCII includes definitions for 128 characters: 33 are non-printing control characters (many now obsolete) that affect how text and space are processed and 95 printable characters, including the space (which is considered an invisible graphic). The IANA prefers the name US-ASCII to avoid ambiguity. ASCII was the most commonly used character encoding on the World Wide Web until December 2007, when it was surpassed by the ASCII-derived UTF-8

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

This was a pioneering effort in getting to an agreement in the face of then incumbent interests in the various proprietary approaches to character encoding.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

This effort brought about an agreement on standards used across telecommunication and computer industries. It endured through worldwide implementation over decades and continues to be included in the UTF-8 coding which superseded ASCII.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

References: [1] An easy to read article is available on Wikipedia, [2] Little, John L., “Impact of the ASCII code and printing devices on conventions for alphanumeric display terminals: Part I,” IEEE Communications Society, March 1973. [3] American Standard Code for Information Interchange, ASA X3.4-1963, American Standards Association, June 17, 1963. [4] X3.2 membership,, page 4. [5] IETF RFC20: ASCII format for Network Interchange. [6] UTF-8 (UCS Transformation Format—8-bit,

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.

IEEE milestone plaque at ATT Labs Middletown - Approval DRAFT.pdf