Robert W. Bemer, 84, Pioneer in Computer Programming, Dies

In this obituary, The New York Times points out that Robert Bemer, who lived in Possum Kingdom Lake, Tex., (just west of Ft. Worth) at the time of his death “… played an important role in helping develop a standard system of translating letters and numbers into digital code that can be processed by a computer, known as the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or Ascii (pronounced AS-kee). Before Ascii, computer manufacturers had their own systems for encoding letters and numbers, making it difficult or impossible to exchange data between machines from different computer makers.

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Mr. Bemer was one of the foremost advocates who pushed for the standard, under the guidance of the American National Standards Institute (it was later adopted by the International Standards Organization). Ascii was put into effect in 1963, expanded and modified over the years, and it is an enduring standard in computing.”


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