Interview of Robert Stewart by Steve Diamond

Finding mp3 file

Provenance of this interview

We have an audio CD with a handwritten "label" on the CD saying:


A 2012-02-03 email from Steve Diamond to Dave Walden further explained: "When I did the interview with Bob Stewart, it was a phone call. I was in my office at Cisco in San Jose, and Bob was at home in Los Altos."

Time log of interview questions

The questions as listed below are sketches of the actual questions by interviewer Steve Diamond, along with the start time (minute and seconds) of the question. In some cases there are hints at topics covered in the answers, introduced by a dash. The recording begins with 12 seconds of music.

  • :13 Introduction by Steve
  • 1:15 How did you first become involved with the IEEE standards activities? - it started with the origins of the microprocessor standards committee in the Home Brew Computer Club - Dr. Feng became involved
  • 4:19 Dr. Feng went on in the Computer Society, did he not?
  • 4:39 What became of S100 after the initial announcement of your interest in creating it?
  • 6:37 How did the IEEE standards operating react to creation of the MSC and 696 bus?
  • 7:40 Were there companies implementing the S100 bus in the days before that standard was approved or extended?
  • 8:39 How interested was Intel in the S100 standard?
  • 9:27 Of the standards MSC did, what are the most important standards you worked on and when did they begin?
  • 11:37 When did that floating point standard begin? - how Intel got involved
  • 16:07 I remember attending a meeting of the 754 committee at which DEC was not cooperative. - involvement of Professor Kahan from Berkeley
  • 21:40 How involved was IBM in the development of 754
  • 23:35 Did your involvement extend from the 754 standard to the 854 standard?
  • 23:18 You also were involved in creation of the 802 standard. - about the initial 802 committee meeting - about a 15 minute phone call the created the dot notation, e.g., 802.1, 802.2, ... 802.11N, ... - the insight avoiding bifurcation of standards
  • 37:02 What happened next in the early days of 802? - Bob got more involved in other parts of the Society and was less in touch with the standards activity
  • 38:02 Were the standards activities aligned with the Technical Activity Board (they are now separate)? - it was better to have them be together; lots of back-and-forth between strong technical people
  • 39:51 About the Society's involvement in Firewire (1394). - Bob wasn't heavily involved - he finds it interesting that 1394 is faster than Intel's universal serial bus - USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 are still playing catch-up
  • 43:23 You mentioned people from the early days of standards; tell me more. - involvement of Tom Pittman - if you want to get things done, it's better to get the people together over pizza and beer than to exchange draft documents
  • 46:52 About Tom Pittman and Tiny Basic -4004 and 8080
  • 48:24 Are ther others we should talk about ... Dave James, Mike Teener, Dave Gustafson? - a bit about Gustafson
  • 49:29: Do you still have your MITS Altair that led to your interest in S100 that in turn led to your standards efforts?
  • 51:07 Assembly language standards and the interest (or disinterest) of various companies. - some people were interested, but the companies not so much - the object code standard - future bus and the importance of setting standards early
  • 54:30 As a standards pioneer, what thoughts do you have about the development IEEE standards over the years and advice for the History Committee for preserving history? - standards workers don't get much glory - the committee should make stuff like this interview available to the membership as a whole and eventually get a historian involved to produce a book
  • 56:49 Thanks and appreciation.
  • 58:03 End of recording.