The Bangalore Centre of the Indian Statistical Institute was conceived by Prof.P.C.Mahalanobis during 1960s, even when the city was emerging as a centre of science. It is a tribute to his foresight that the Institute is now well-established in one of the most vibrant scientific communities in Asia.
With the Statistical Quality Control unit functioning in Bangalore from 1956, and Documentation Research and training Centre from 1962, Professor Mahalanobis thought of starting a centre of ISI around the mid-sixties. The presence of several national institutes of higher learning, the salubrious climate and the growing metropolitan culture must have prompted him to consider this possibility. In 1966, Govt. of Karnataka granted ISI 30 acres of forest land full of eucalyptus trees, next to the upcoming Bangalore University on Mysore Road, at a token price.
However, Professor Mahalanobis did not live long enough to see the realisation of his dream. Due to the difficult times that ISI went through after professor's death in 1972, the project of establishing Bangalore was temporarily shelved. It was left to Professor Kallianpur, the Director of ISI during 1976-78, to revive the idea, make concrete proposals to the Government of India and get grants for the development of the land already in possession of the Institute and the construction of an Academic Block with space for a library and offices.
In the meantime, a building was rented on Church Street, in the heart of the city, and started the activities of the Bangalore Centre in September 1978. The Statistics and Mathematics Unit (SMU) was established. The Statistical Quality Control (SQC) Unit and Documentation Research and Training Centre (DRTC), which were functioning from other rented buildings at that time came to constitute the new Centre. The Economic Analysis Unit (EAU) was established.
With the completion of the construction of the Administrative Block, the various units moved to the new campus in May 1985. However, it was only in September 1996, the Bangalore Centre was formally declared as a Centre of ISI. With the increasing faculty strength, computer and library facilities the Bangalore Centre has by now became an institution well-known for its academic activities in Mathematics and Statistics, Statistical Quality Control and Operations Research, Library and Information Science, and Quantitative Economics.
Systems Science and Informatics Unit (SSIU) was added in August 2009.