History Timeline



ITL Milestones Legislation and Computing History
2006 - Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 200, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems approved.

2005 – Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, Standard for Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors, approved.

2005 – Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) 500th validation certificate issued.

2005 – Draft voluntary voting guidelines delivered to the Technical Guidelines. Development Committee and the Election Assistance Commission

2005 – ITL/industry-developed ISO/IEC Standard 25062 Software Engineering-Software Quality and Requirements Evaluation - Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports, approved.

2005 – Under ITL leadership, five critical international biometric standards were approved.









2004 – ITL team received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for smart card specifications.

2004 – National Software Reference Library (NSRL) data set exceeded ten million Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)-1 hashes.

2004 – FIPS 199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems, approved.

2004 – ITL-developed Role Based Access Control (RBAC) standard approved as American National Standard INCITS 359-2004.

2004 – Five biometric data interchange format standards and two biometric profile standards approved as American National Standards.

2004 - Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors, issued.







2003 - ITL received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for its biometrics work.

2003 – Extensible Markup Language (XML) conformance test suite released.

2003 – First test results published for Computer Forensics Tool Testing (CFTT) Project.





2002 - Role Based Access Control (RBAC) development team received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal.

2002 – NIST quantum information program initiated.

2002 – Face Recognition Vendor Test Report published.

2002 – Online NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Engineering Statistics issued.

2002 – Voluntary voting guidelines project launched, mandated by the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) (P.L.107-252).

2002 – ITL tasked to develop standards and guidelines for improved agency management of secure information systems by Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) (Title III of E-Gov) (P.L.107-347).

2001 - ITL team received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for development of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

2001– FIPS 197, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), approved.

2001 – National Software Reference Library (NSRL) released Reference Data Set version 1.0.

2001 – The E-Book/Braille Reader development team received the R&D 100 Award.

2001 – ITL’s biometrics research focused on homeland security by the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L.107-056).

2001 – NIST celebrated its Centennial.




2000 – American National Standard ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2000, Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial, & Scar Mark & Tattoo (SMT) Information, approved.

2000 – ITL team received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for first global industry standard for electronic books.


1999 – Under ITL leadership, ISO/IEC 15408: 1999, Common Criteria for IT Security Evaluation, approved.

1997 – Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) project initiated.

1997 – ITL-developed S-Check received R&D 100 Award.

1995 – Multi-national Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) established.

1994 - Guide to Available Mathematical Software (GAMS) premiers as first NIST publically accessible World Wide Web site

1994 – ITL team received Department of Commerce Gold Medal for research in cryptography.

1993 – FIPS 182, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), approved.

1992 – MultiKron developed to promote high-performance computing and flexible scalable systems.

1992 – Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) and research program initiated.

1992 – FIPS 151-2, POSIX, validation testing program initiated.

1992 – Validation testing services initiated for FIPS 160, C.

1991 – FIPS 160, C, approved.

1999 – Concerns about potential damages to computers from Y2K were widespread.


1996 – Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) formed through merge of NIST computing and applied mathematics laboratories.

1996 – Information Technology Management Reform Act (P.L. 104-106) replaced the Brooks Act and reaffirmed NIST's responsibilities to develop standards and guidelines for federal computer systems.






1991 - NIST established Computing and Applied Mathematics Laboratory.

1991 – Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) renamed from National Computer Systems Laboratory (NCSL).

1988 - FIPS 140, General Security Requirements for Equipment Using the Data Encryption Standard.

1988 – FIPS 151, Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), approved.

1988 – TIMIT Acoustic Phonetic Continuous Speech Database, first speech corpora CD, released to speech research community.

1987 – FIPS 127, Database Language SQL, approved.

1986 – Staffer received the DoC Gold Medal for automating fingerprint identification processes.

1984 – NBS/ICST accredited as American National Standards developer.

1981 – Validation testing services initiated for FIPS 68, Minimal BASIC, and FIPS 69, FORTRAN; see historical paper.

1980 – FIPS 68, Minimal BASIC, and FIPS 69, FORTRAN, approved.

1988 – National Computer Systems Laboratory (NCSL) renamed from Institute for Computer Science and Technology (ICST).

1988 - Center for Computing and Applied Mathematics established.

1988 – National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (P.L.100-418) renamed NBS to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

1987 – Computer Security Act (P.L.100-235) formally assigned to NBS responsibility for computer security for unclassified federal systems.





1979 – FIPS 60, I/O Channel Interface, approved.

1979 – NBS campus-wide local area network (LAN) implemented.

1977 – FIPS 46, Data Encryption Standard (DES), approved; see historical paper.

1976 – Standard Reference Materials 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904 issued for optical character recognition (OCR) characters.

1975 – NBSIR 75-687, Effective Use of Computer Technology in Vote-Tallying, published.

1973 – Validation testing services for FIPS 21, COBOL, initiated.

1972 – FIPS 21, COBOL, approved.

Early 1970s – NBS developed one of five nodes of ARPAnet.

Early 1970s – Efforts initiated to develop standards and guidelines for the protection of unclassified data in federal computer systems.

Early 1970s - First NBS publication in area of computerized scientific data management; see historical paper.

1978 - NBS established Center for Applied Mathematics.






1972 – Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology (ICST) renamed from Center for Computer Science and Technology.

1969 – Standard Reference Material 3200, Secondary Standard Magnetic Tape-Computer Amplitude Reference, issued.

1968 – FIPS 1, Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), approved, inaugurating the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) series; see historial paper.

Mid 1960s – MAGIC, one of the first intelligent computer graphics terminals, developed for federal agencies.

Mid 1960s – Projects initiated to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation in automating its fingerprint identification system.

1964 – Classic mathematics reference compendia, Handbook of Mathematical Functions, published; see historical paper.

1963 – Experimental Statistics Handbook published; see historical paper.

1969 - NBS established Center for Computer Science and Technology





1965 - Automatic Data Processing (ADP) standards development at NBS mandated by Brooks Act (P.L. 89-306)

1965 - Jack Edmonds published seminal paper in the mathematical theory of combinatorial algorithms; see historical paper.


1961 - Churchill Eisenhart published seminal paper on precision and accuracy of instrument calibration systems; see historical paper.

1958 - SEAC used to process and identify structural diagrams of chemical compounds.

1957 - SEAC used for NBS research in processing scanned images.

1950 - Standards Electronic Automatic Computer (SEAC), designed and built at NBS, begins operation; see historical paper.



1951 – U.S. Bureau of the Census began using the UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer.

1951 - Hestenes and Stiefel developed the method of conjugate gradients; see historical paper.

1950 - National Applied Mathematics Laboratories renamed as Applied Mathematics Division.

1950 - Cornelius Lanczos developed first Krylov subspace method for the solution to eigenvalue problems; see historical paper.


Late 1940s – NBS funded to develop first stored-program electronic computer to assist Bureau of the Census in 1950 census.

1947 - NBS established the National Applied Mathematics Laboratories (NAML) with branches for numerical analysis, computation, machine development, and statistical engineering.

1947 - John Curtiss, Director of NAML, is elected the first President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

1938 - NBS launched the Math Tables Project in New York City on behalf of the Works Projects Administration (WPA).

  1901 – Congress created the National Bureau of Standards as the federal government’s first physical science research laboratory.
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Date Created: September 28, 2005
Last Updated: August 24, 2007