The IEEE 754 working group began meeting in 1977, produced a draft standard for floating-point arithmetic by the beginning of the eighties, and had it formally ratified in 1985, by which time it was already established as the new de facto standard.

Who were the members of the working group?

Intel, of course. (IEEE 754 is essentially the 8087, ratified as a standard.)

DEC. (They were the main opposition to denormals, on which point they held out for several years.)

Who else? I imagine there should be a list available, but I have so far not been able to find one.

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    The November 1977 P754 working group meeting KCS proposal brought more contributors suddenly worried about using DEC's floating point and development of the standard continued to at least 1981. The last page of IEEE Std 754-1985 (the first release) has an Acknowledgement of the list of 47 companies and organizations contributing the time, talent and resources of their employees. The list is presumably synonymous with the membership of the P754 working group in 1981 when DEC raised an objection to gradual underflow, eventual overcome by it's own consultants. Mar 25, 2022 at 3:34
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    From Kahan's recollections: "DEC’s main advocate on the IEEE p754 Committee was a Mathematician and Numerical Analyst Dr. Mary H. Payne." From W. J. Cody's oral history: "there was Fred Ris representing IBM [...] Mary Payne and a few others from DEC [...] John Palmer, obviously, from Intel."
    – njuffa
    Mar 25, 2022 at 7:22
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    D. G. Hough "The ieee standard 754: One for the history books", Computer, 52(12), pp.109-112: "Under Dick Delp and Dave Stevenson, the working group labored to produce IEEE Standard 754-1985, Binary Floating-Point Arithmetic." The acknowledgements to IEEE-754 (1985) list Itty Bitty Computers as a contributor, which is best I know, one person, Tom Pittman: "IEEE MSC: first draft editor 754".
    – njuffa
    Mar 25, 2022 at 7:31
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    D. Stevenson, "A proposed standard for binary floating-point arithmetic", Computer, 14(03), 1981, pp. 51-62, has a list of "IEEE P754 voting committee members at time of adoption of the proposed draft" on page 62
    – njuffa
    Mar 25, 2022 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


I don't know the full answer, but "An Interview with the Old Man of Floating-Point: Reminiscences elicited from William Kahan by Charles Severance", mentions the following details about IEEE p754 and provides a lot of useful context for the process:

  • "National Semiconductor sent two. Zilog sent someone thinking about a Z8070 for its Z8000. Motorola was represented by Joel Boney who then led their project in Austin, Texas, to build what later ( 1984 ) became the MC68881/2 coprocessors."
  • "Most mainframe makers, like CDC and Cray, sent nobody to these meetings, construing them to matter only to microprocessor makers. IBM was there only to observe; they knew their microprocessors were coming but couldn't say much."

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