ISI founder Keith Uncapher


In 1972, technology maverick Keith Uncapher received an unusual offer. His work at Santa Monica, California-based think tank RAND Corporation, where Uncapher directed the computer science division, had drawn the attention of the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Create and lead a center for emerging technologies, said DARPA officials, and the agency would provide...MORE ›

Quality control, circa 1970s

Bridging the R&D Gap

ISI settled on the top floor of a 12-story, oceanfront building in part because air conditioning for its computer room was cheaper right below the rooftop compressors. The new venture couldn't afford furniture, so Uncapher and two ex-RAND colleagues wrote the first proposal while sitting on the shag rug. Thirty days later, DARPA funded the proposal for $6 million - a huge sum for a startup...MORE ›

Internet pioneer Jon Postel

The Internet Era

In the 1970s, ISI joined universities and the federal government to help create what has become the defining technology of our age: the Internet. The Defense Department tool was known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency network, or ARPAnet...MORE ›


Broadening Research

With Uncapher’s encouragement, Cohen also created a low-cost, small-volume system for silicon chip prototyping and production. Called Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service (MOSIS), the service combines multiple customers’ jobs into shared-project wafers – essentially, batch processing of chip designs – that greatly reduce each participant’s manufacturing costs. Since 1981...MORE ›

ISI executive director emeritus Herbert Schorr

Heightening Impact

Schorr’s aim: broadening ISI’s core strengths, networking and software engineering, to diverse technologies that could serve more public- and private-sector customers in more ways. One route would have been to create strong, but independent, silos of software and hardware expertise. Instead, Schorr sought to build cross-disciplinary synergies that could help drive relevant...MORE ›

Human brain image

Fresh Advances

ISI now conducts basic and applied research across an exceptionally wide range of information processing, computer and communications technologies. Our primary areas of focus: intelligent systems, Internet and networked systems, informatics, computational systems and technology, and advanced electronics...MORE ›