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Joe Becker (Unicode)

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Joe Becker
Joseph D. Becker
OccupationTechnical Vice President
Years active1980s-present
Known forCo-founder of Unicode Consortium

Joseph D. Becker is an American computer scientist and one of the co-founders of the Unicode project, and a Technical Vice President Emeritus of the Unicode Consortium. He has worked on artificial intelligence at BBN and multilingual workstation software at Xerox.

Becker has long been involved in the issues of multilingual computing in general and Unicode in particular. His 1984 paper in Scientific American, "Multilingual Word Processing",[1] was a seminal work on some of the problems involved, including the need to distinguish characters and glyphs.[2] Following the release of the paper in 1987, he and two others began investigations into the practicality of creating a universal character set. Becker teamed up with his colleague Lee Collins who worked alongside him at Xerox and Mark Davis of Apple.[3][4] It was Becker who coined the word "Unicode" to cover the project.[5] His article Unicode 88, contained the first public summary of the principles originally underlying the Unicode standard.[6]


  1. ^ d. Becker, Joseph (1984). "Multilingual Word Processing". Scientific American. 251 (1): 96–107. Bibcode:1984SciAm.251a..96B. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0784-96. JSTOR 24969416.
  2. ^ Gary F. Simons (1998). "The Nature of Linguistic Data and the Requirements of a Computing Environment for Linguistic Research". In Helen Aristar Dry; John Lawler (eds.). Using Computers in Linguistics: A Practical Guide. ISBN 978-0415167932.
  3. ^ Scott Gardner (25 January 2009). The Definitive Guide to Pylons. Apress. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4302-0534-0. The origins of Unicode date back to 1987 when Joe Becker, Lee Collins, and Mark Davis started investigating the practicalities of creating a universal character set.
  4. ^ "Summary". History of Unicode.
  5. ^ "Early Years of Unicode". History of Unicode.
  6. ^ Becker, Joseph D. (1998-09-10) [1988-08-29]. "Unicode 88" (PDF). unicode.org (10th anniversary reprint ed.). Unicode Consortium. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2016-10-25. In 1978, the initial proposal for a set of "Universal Signs" was made by Bob Belleville at Xerox PARC. Many persons contributed ideas to the development of a new encoding design. Beginning in 1980, these efforts evolved into the Xerox Character Code Standard (XCCS) by the present author, a multilingual encoding which has been maintained by Xerox as an internal corporate standard since 1982, through the efforts of Ed Smura, Ron Pellar, and others.
    Unicode arose as the result of eight years of working experience with XCCS. Its fundamental differences from XCCS were proposed by Peter Fenwick and Dave Opstad (pure 16-bit codes), and by Lee Collins (ideographic character unification). Unicode retains the many features of XCCS whose utility have been proved over the years in an international line of communication multilingual system products.