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SRI International's main campus on Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California

SRI International is one of the world's largest contract research institutes. It was founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 by the trustees of Stanford University as a center of innovation to support economic development in the region. Later it became fully independent and was incorporated as a non-profit organization under U.S. and California laws. SRI's headquarters are in Menlo Park, California, near the Stanford University campus. Curtis Carlson, Ph.D., is SRI's president and CEO. Year 2005 revenue for SRI, excluding its subsidiary, was $286 million. Consolidated revenues were approximately $400 million.

SRI, a nonprofit research institute, performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships and creates spin-off companies [1].

Psychological projects worked on

Other activities

SRI's focus areas include communications and networks,computing, economic development and science and technology policy, education, energy and the environment, engineering systems, pharmaceuticals and health sciences, homeland security and national defense, and materials and structures.

SRI has more than 1,000 patents and patent applications worldwide [2]. SRI International conducts research and development in many areas, both independently and for hire, and sells reports on independent research.

In 1970, the Stanford Research Institute formally separated from Stanford University and, in 1977, became known as SRI International. The separation was a belated response to anti-war protesters at Stanford University who believed that SRI's DARPA-funded work was essentially making the university part of the military-industrial complex.

Research Projects

The following is a summary of some important SRI research projects, as identified in the institute's publicity material [3].


In 1948, SRI began research and consultation with the petroleum company Chevron to develop an artificial substitute for tallow and coconut oil used in making soaps. SRI's investigation confirmed the potential of dodecyl benzene as a suitable replacement, and later Procter & Gamble used the substance as the basis of their highly successful household detergent, Tide.


In the early 1950s, the Disney brothers sought SRI's advice regarding a small amusement park called Disneyland which they intended to build in Burbank, Los Angeles County, California. SRI provided them information on such topics as location, attendance patterns, and economic feasibility. SRI also selected a much larger site, in Anaheim, and prepared reports covering many aspects of operation. They also provided on-site administrative support and continued an advisory role for some time as the park expanded.

In 1952, the Technicolor Corporation contracted with SRI to develop a near-instantaneous electro-optical alternative to the manual process of timing during film copying. In 1959, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the Scientific and Engineering Award jointly to SRI and the Technicolor Corporation for their work on the design and development of the Technicolor electronic printing timer which greatly benefited the motion picture industry.

In 1954, Southern Pacific asked SRI to investigate ways of reducing the losses due to damage during rail freight shipments by mitigating shocks to loaded railroad box cars. This investigation led to the development of the Hydra-Cushion technology which remains standard to this day.

In the 1950s, SRI worked under the direction of the Bank of America to develop ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting) and MICR, an automated check processing system with magnetic ink encoding that remains an industry standard. The ERMA project was led by computer scientist Jerre Noe, who was at the time SRI's Assistant Director of Engineering.


Doug Engelbart was the primary force behind the design and development of the On-Line System, or NLS. He founded SRI's Augmentation Research Center (ARC), and his team there developed the original versions of many modern computer-human interface elements. These included: bit-mapped displays, collaboration software, hypertext, and precursors to the graphical user interface including the computer mouse. As a pioneer of human-computer interaction, Engelbart is arguably SRI's most notable alumnus. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000.

In 1964, Bill English, then chief engineer at the ARC, built the first prototype of a computer mouse from Engelbart's design. Originally they intended to call it a "turtle," but when a mouse ran across their workbench they changed their minds.

In the 1960s, liquid crystal display (LCD) technology was developed at RCA Laboratories, which is now the Sarnoff Corporation, a wholly owned SRI subsidiary.

From 1966 through 1972, SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center developed the first mobile robot to reason about its actions. Named "Shakey", the robot had a television camera, a triangulating range finder, and bump sensors. Shakey the Robot used software for perception, world-modeling, and acting. The Artificial Intelligence Center marked its 40th anniversary in 2006.

Hewitt Crane and his colleagues developed the world's first all-magnetic digital computer, based upon extensions to magnetic core memories. The technology was licensed to AMPEX, who then used the technology to build specialized computers for controlling tracks in the New York City subway and on railroad switching yards.

In 1969, ARPANET, the world's first electronic computer network, was established on October 29 between nodes at Leonard Kleinrock's lab at UCLA and Douglas Engelbart's lab at SRI. Interface Message Processors at both sites served as the backbone of the first Internet [4].

In addition to SRI and UCLA, UCSB and the University of Utah were part of the original four network nodes. By December 5, 1969, the entire 4-node network was connected.


In the 1970s, SRI went on to develop many other technologies, including packet-switched radio (the precursor to today's wireless networking), over-the-horizon radar, Deafnet, malaria treatments, vacuum microelectronics, laser photocoagulation (a treatment for some eye maladies), and software-implemented fault tolerance.

In 1972, Dr. Harold E. Puthoff, then a researcher at SRI, put forth a series of proposals to study quantum mechanics in life processes. This resulted in the now controversial remote viewing CIA programs that have been reportedly discontinued and partially declassified since.

In the late 1970s, Arnold Mitchell, a social scientist and consumer futurist, created the Values and Lifestyles psychographic methodology (VALS), to explain changing U.S. values and lifestyles. VALS was formally inaugurated as an SRI International product in 1978 and was later cited by Advertising Age as "one of the ten top market research breakthroughs of the 1980s."


In the 1980s, SRI developed, among other things, Zylon, stealth technologies, improvements to ultrasound imaging, FRASTAscope, frequency modulation spectroscopy, two-dimensional laser fluorescence imaging, surface analysis by laser ionization (SALI), a multimedia electronic mail system, intrusion detection expert systems, theory of non-interference in computer security, a multilevel secure (MLS) relational database system called Seaview, LaTeX, and order-sorted algebra.


In the 1990s, SRI developed, among other things, ground- and foliage-penetrating radar, Open Agent Architecture (OAA), dry-powder drugs, remote surgery (aka telerobotic surgery), bio-agent detection using upconverting phosphor technology, an easy-clean oven surface, the cancer drug Tirapazamine (now in clinical trials), a network intrusion detection system, the Maude system (a declarative software language), the INCON and REDDE command and control system for the U.S. military, IGRS (integrated GPS radio system), an advanced military personnel and vehicle tracking system, natural language speech recognition, assisted hydrothermal oxidation for safe, cost-effective disposal of hazardous materials, an advanced letter sorting system for the United States Postal Service, PacketHop, a revolutionary peer-to-peer wireless technology to create scalable ad hoc networks, electroactive polymer aka “artificial muscle”, and several landmark education and economic studies.


In the 2000s, SRI developed, among other things, new uses for diamagnetic levitation; the Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Range System (DFIRST), which uses GPS satellites, high-speed wireless communications, and digital terrain map displays to train armored combat units during battle exercises; live-virtual-constructive training systems for the California National Guard; Pathway Tools software, which aims to accelerate drug discovery by using artificial intelligence and symbolic computing techniques to analyze complex biological processes; BioCyc, SRI’s growing collection of genomic databases and software tools used by biologists to visualize genes within a chromosome, complete biochemical pathways, and the full metabolic maps of organisms; the advanced modular incoherent scatter radar (AMISR), a novel relocatable atmospheric research facility under construction for the National Science Foundation; the Centibots, one of the first and largest teams of coordinated, autonomous mobile robots that explore, map, and survey unknown environments; and speech recognition and translation functionality for the VoxTec Phraselator handheld speech translator, which has enabled U.S. soldiers overseas to communicate with local citizens in near real time.

SRI researchers made the first observation of visible light emitted by oxygen atoms in the night-side airglow of Venus, offering new insight into the planet’s atmosphere. SRI education researchers conducted the first national evaluation of the growing U.S. charter schools movement. For the World Golf Foundation, SRI compiled the first-ever estimate of the overall scope of the U.S. golf industry’s goods and services ($62 billion in 2000), providing a framework for monitoring the long-term growth of the industry.

In 2006, SRI was awarded a $56.9 million contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to provide preclinical services for the development of drugs and antibodies for anti-infective treatments for avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis, and more.

Also in 2006, SRI announced it has selected St. Petersburg, Florida as the site for a new marine technology research facility. The new facility will be called SRI-St. Petersburg and aims to accelerate research and development of technologies related to ocean science, the maritime industry and port security. SRI's expansion into Florida is a collaboration with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science and its Center for Ocean Technology, and is supported by the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and the state of Florida.

SRI celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006.

External links


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