History

The Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications (IIT) is one the five research Institutes of the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (NCSR). Its roots can be traced as back as 1958, when the NCSR Division of Electronics was founded, rendering it as a pioneering electronics centre in Greece. Its initial activities ranged over various application fields, like the design and development of specialised electronic systems, nuclear electronics, industrial control devices, digital electronics and medical electronics. The next step was the foundation of the Computers Division in 1968, initially aiming to support the research and data-storage computational needs of the Centre.

At the same time, the Computer Centre was developed for specialised computing applications and support for various other research activities. A major achievement of the Division was Proteas, the first experimental 16-bit digital computer in Greece. Proteas was user-programmable, and its construction was completed in 1970.

Until 1975, NCSR was the only organisation in Greece where research in Electronics and Informatics was conducted. It should be noted that at that time and during the next decade, around 25 members of the Computer Division’s staff joined various departments of Informatics in Greek Universities.

In 1975, the Division extended its activities in Digital Telecommunications and particularly in the development of encrypted communication systems. The Electronics and Computers Divisions continued their activities independently till 1987, when after appropriate merges the Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications, the Institute of Microelectronics and the Computer Centre were established.

As a pioneer in the relevant fields in Greece, IIT has taken up multiple initiatives for the advancement of Computer Science in the country. NCSR hosted the infrastructure and managed the organisation that operated the National Research and Academic Network Ariadne (1985-1994). It was also one of the founding members of the nationwide ISP OTENET in 1995, capitalising the expertise and experience from Ariadne. IIT and its personnel was also the driving force for the foundation and establishment of the Hellenic Society for Artificial Intelligence (EETN) in 1988, and its inclusion in the European AI Society in 1992.