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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Heightening Impact

Herb Schorr became the Executive Director of ISI in 1998. His 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.

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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 are intelligent systems, internet and networked systems, informatics, computational systems and technology, and advanced electronics.

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View half-a-century's worth of pioneering and historical achievements.