IDSIA was founded in Lugano in 1988 by Angelo Dalle Molle (1908-2002), an Italian philanthropist whose vision was a world where technological progress and human development could both contribute to the improvement of our quality of life.
Dalle Molle was a precursor of electric mobility, and he estabilshed a Trustee in Switzerland to promote creative scientific research, free from the bureaucratic ties of university institutions. Nowadays the institutes founded by Angelo (IDSIA in Lugano, IDIAP in Martigny, and ISSCo in Geneva) are integrated in the local institutions.
Since the foundation of USI and SUPSI in Canton Ticino, IDSIA has been designated to be a "bridge" between these two institutions. For this reason IDSIA activities span from fundamental to applied research, transferring its knowledge into applications in the real world.