The Illinois Informatics Institute
Our mission is to invent the information environments of the future, and to educate those who will build and use them, by supporting research and education programs related to informatics.
The Illinois Informatics Institute (I3 or “I-cubed”) is a nimble, virtual academic organization with an integrated research and education mission that spans the entire campus. It supports and encourages multi-disciplinary research projects that involve applications of computing and information in areas from the natural sciences, engineering and business to the humanities and social sciences. Its education programs include the undergraduate minor in informatics, the MS in bioinformatics, and the PhD in Informatics. It also supports informatics-related course development at all levels, in a wide range of fields.
The Illinois Informatics Institute (I3) was established in 2007 at the University of Illinois to foster multi-disciplinary collaboration, support joint academic appointments, offer informatics courses and academic programs, and sponsor research and technology development.
In 2006 a group of campus leaders proposed that an infrastructure be formed to unite the many and disparate research and educational activities related to informatics across campus. The result was the Illinois Informatics Initiative, a virtual organization that was to play an important role in the Chancellor’s Campus Strategic Plan, drafted that same year. The plan charged I3 to “invent the information environments of the future and educate those who will build and use them.” At that time about 300 faculty members were working in a wide range of informatics-related areas, using computation and information technology in ways that are essential to their research or teaching, or both.
Marc Snir was appointed director of I3 in 2007, and work immediately began to develop an undergraduate minor in informatics, which launched in spring 2008. I3 brought on board two existing units: I-CHASS, the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science and CII, the Community Informatics Initiative.
In December 2007, I3 became an Institute. In October 2008, John Unsworth succeeded Snir as director.