National Institute of Standards and Technology, governmental agency within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce with the mission of "working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards" in the national interest. It was established by act of Congress on Mar. 3, 1901; until 1988 it was known as the National Bureau of Standards. Its headquarters are at Gaithersburg, Md., with additional facilities located at Boulder, Colo. It conducts four major programs: the Measurements and Standards Laboratories, a number of highly technical research facilities in such fields as electronics, chemical science and technology, physics, and information technology; the Advanced Technology Program, which explores "not-yet-possible" technologies; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network which offers technical assistance to small businesses; and the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, an award given for excellence in business performance in either manufacturing, service, or small business.
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