Information Sciences Institute has a history of solving difficult problems – beginning with its
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 financial support.
Uncapher initially approached the University of California at Los Angeles
(UCLA), where he was told a decision would take 15 months. But given DARPA's interest, Uncapher felt
he had no time to waste.
He then appealed to George Bekey, chair of Electrical Engineering Systems
at the University of Southern California and a consultant to Rand. Bekey helped arrange for Uncapher
to meet with USC Dean of Engineering Zohrab Kaprielian, who wielded considerable influence – and who
thought Uncapher’s concept had tremendous promise.
USC's Board of Trustees authorized the center just five days later.
In less than a month, ISI launched operations as a largely autonomous arm of USC's School of Engineering.
At Uncapher's insistence, the new center would be located off campus to maximize its entrepreneurial
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