the 1980's the Direzione Generale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (General
Directorate for Cooperation to Development) of the Italian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs provided the necessary funds to start the Microprocessor Laboratory at
the ICTP. This was done with the cooperation of the United Nations University
In the last twenty years or so, microprocessors and microelectronics in general have brought about a revolution in computer science, manufacturing, telecommunications as well as in space and high-energy physics. In view of the impact of this new technology, it was quite natural that ICTP started organizing courses on physics of microprocessor and its applications. For ICTP it meant a departure from purely theoretical physics, as a step towards technology and applied aspects of physics.
Prof. Luciano Bertocchi requested the collaboration of the staff of the Organisation Européen
pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) in order to organize the first
microprocessor college. Prof. Catharinus Verkerk agreed to organize and direct the
first college that was held in
In 1985, ICTP signed an agreement with the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN, National Institute of Nuclear Physics), to jointly operate the Microprocessor Laboratory, always with the sponsorship of UNU. In the first year of the Laboratory, a few physicists and engineers from developing countries were accepted. There they could design and test their own projects before taking them home for full operation. From 1989 until March 2004 Prof. Alberto A. Colavita was Head of the ICTP-INFN Microprocessor Laboratory.
Presently the ICTP-INFN Microprocessor Laboratory is part of the ICTP Multidisciplinary Laboratory (MLab) Research Group. The Head of the ICTP MLab is Prof. Claudio Tuniz, Assistant Director of ICTP.