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First IEC/IEEE International Standard Published
May 24, 2004
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The first IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)/IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) International Standard, which relates to instrument buses, has been published under a joint cooperation agreement.

The new IEC/IEEE standard, 60488-2, concerns the use of IEEE 488 buses in laboratory and manufacturing instruments and is based on IEEE 488.2(TM) standard. IEC/IEEE 60488-2 defines communication protocols for devices connected via IEEE 488 buses and common commands and characteristics useful in a wide range of instrument applications. It includes message-handling protocols, status reporting structures, and system configuration and synchronization protocols.

IEEE 488 buses (or general purpose interface buses) have been in use for more than 25 years and are built into millions of instruments worldwide. They enable communication among controllers (usually a computer) and instruments in research, test and production settings, such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and digital multimeters.

According to the organizations, the agreement seeks to enhance the development process for international standards. Where relevant IEEE electronic, power generation, telecommunication, and other standards already exist, these can be proposed to the IEC for publication as IEC/IEEE Dual Logo International Standards.

Under the agreement, the IEEE standards are submitted to the IEC Standardization Management Board for approval and processing by the relevant IEC technical committees. They are then subject to a vote by the IEC member countries and, if approved, are published as IEC/IEEE Dual Logo International Standards.

According to Judy Gorman, managing director of the IEEE Standards Association, dozens of other potential IEEE standards are being considered for this process. "The agreement opens the way for us to broaden our international standards collection and makes our standards more accessible. It also ensures that valuable work undertaken by IEEE volunteers benefits the entire global community."

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