Gray Series - History and Practical Application

History and Practical Application

Reflected binary codes were applied to mathematical puzzles before they became known to engineers. The French engineer Émile Baudot used Gray codes in telegraphy in 1878. He received the French Legion of Honor medal for his work. The Gray code is sometimes attributed, incorrectly, to Elisha Gray (in Principles of Pulse Code Modulation, K. W. Cattermole, for example).

Frank Gray, who became famous for inventing the signaling method that came to be used for compatible color television, invented a method to convert analog signals to reflected binary code groups using vacuum tube-based apparatus. The method and apparatus were patented in 1953 and the name of Gray stuck to the codes. The "PCM tube" apparatus that Gray patented was made by Raymond W. Sears of Bell Labs, working with Gray and William M. Goodall, who credited Gray for the idea of the reflected binary code.

The use of his eponymous codes that Gray was most interested in was to minimize the effect of error in the conversion of analog signals to digital; his codes are still used today for this purpose, and others.

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