ASCII coding system developer dies

Bob Bemer, a computer pioneer who helped develop the ASCII coding system and the technology that led to the “escape” key on keyboards, has died at the age of 84 after battling cancer, his caregiver said on Thursday.

Bemer died on Tuesday at his home near Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, 120 miles west of Dallas.

Bemer’s Accomplishments :

* helped create COBOL
* coined the words COBOL [2] and CODASYL [3]
* invented the ESCape sequence
* created the PICTURE clause
* helped create and standardize the ASCII character set (as in “Father of” [4])
* put the backslash into the ASCII set
* helped create the 8-bit per byte standard”

News source: Reuters He worked for several years for IBM Corp. in the late 1950s and 1960s, and it was there that he helped develop the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a format code used in most computers in the world that allows them to read text as a binary number.

Bemer is also credited with writing the computer sequence that allows for the “escape” command. The escape command was seen as a major innovation in computing because it allowed users to move backward or sideways in a program. He won the Computer Pioneer Award in 2002 from the IEEE Computer Society for his work in making it easier for people to move text and images on a computer screen. “Computer power is work power, but it is also knowledge power, of the kind that has been used throughout history for aggrandizement as well as the good of the people,” Bemer wrote on his Web site.

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