Our History

John G. Linvill

John G. Linvill (1920-2011)

The proposal for the Center for Integrated Systems was written in 1978 as a joint effort by Electrical Engineering Professors Michael J. Flynn, James F. Gibbons, John G. Linvill (1920-2011), and James D. Meindl. Included in the proposal were the statements:

“The products of the Center for Integrated Systems will be educated people, primarily doctoral student, and research results.”

“Research results coming out of the studies at the Center for Integrated Systems and, in particular, from the experimental work involved at the Center are projected to be of significant usefulness to the sponsors of the research and to the industrial community to which the Center is connected.”

Linvill, Meindl, and other colleagues had realized that the exponential growth of semiconductor technology was creating problems and challenges that were too big and complex for one discipline to tackle. The process of designing integrated systems was beginning to involve computer architects, circuit engineers, material engineers and software design engineers. Linvill and his colleagues wanted to bring together the best people from all the fields, which contribute and/or make use of integrated circuitry, which would also enable close interactions with industry. In 1980, the CIS Development Committee, headed by John Young, president of Hewlett-Packard, was formed. Working with this committee, Linvill began recruiting companies to underwrite a new research center that is now the Center for Integrated Systems.

Originally housed in the basement of the McCullough Building at Stanford, ground was broken for a new building in 1983 and the present CIS building was completed in 1985. The heart of the CIS building is its 10,500 square foot integrated circuit fabrication laboratory. Surrounding the laboratory are smaller supporting laboratories, several conference rooms and both open and closed offices.

The French Connection

On March 26, 1984, the president of France became a Stanford student for a day. (Francois Mitterrand)

On March 26, 1984, the president of France became a Stanford student for a day. Francois Mitterrand visited the Center for Integrated Systems to meet with Stanford professors and technology magnates to learn more about the emerging economic powerhouse called Silicon Valley.

In 1996, the CIS building was expanded due in large part to Paul Allen’s (Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation) gift to the School of Engineering. The building was subsequently renamed the Paul G. Allen Building. The new extension provides 52,000 gross square feet to service various labs and conference areas.

Original Industrial Sponsors were:

  • Digital Equipment Corporation
  • Fairchild Camera and Instrument corporation
  • General Electric Company
  • GTE Laboratories, Incorporated
  • Gould Inc.
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Honeywell, Incorporated
  • ITT Corporation
  • Intel Corporation
  • International Business Machines Corporation
  • Monsanto Electronic Materials Company
  • Motorola, Incorporated
  • Northrop Corporation
  • Philips Research Laboratories/Signetics Corporation
  • Rockwell International
  • TRW Incorporated
  • Tektronix, Incorporated
  • Texas Instruments, Incorporated
  • United Technologies Corporation
  • Xerox Corporation

In addition to Mr. Allen’s gift, the following donors contributed to make the building possible:

  • Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Peter G. Behr
  • Estate of Eleanor Buchanan
  • Cypress Semiconductor Corp.
  • Estate of James D. Fleming
  • Ford Motor Company
  • William R. Hewlett
  • Raychem Corporation
  • Xerox Corporation

1983 Management

  • Professor John Linvill - CIS Co-Director and Director of Industrial Programs
  • Professor James Meindl- CIS Co-Director and Director of Research Programs
  • Dr. Rick Reis – CIS Assistant Director

1991 Management

  • Professor Robert Dutton – CIS Director of Research
  • Dr. Rick Reis- CIS Executive Director

1998 Management

  • Professor Robert Dutton – CIS Director of Research
  • Dr. Richard Dasher – CIS Executive Director

2003 – 2013

  • Professor Yoshio Nishi – CIS Director of Research
  • Dr. Richard Dasher – CIS Executive Director


  • CIS modifies structure to transform into SystemX, allowing leverage of programs that have proven beneficial to affilliates, and adding Headlights Program and Integrated Research Area Focus.


  • Rick Bahr - SystemX Executive Director


  • Jon Candelaria - SystemX Executive Director

Research Catalogs
The annual catalog presents a snapshot of CIS research by Stanford professors and their research groups.

CIS Catalogs of Research (Member Company login required)


  • Original Proposal for a Center for Integrated Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, reprinted March 2000
  • CIS Newsletter Supplement, November 1983
  • The CIS Building
  • The CIS Newsletter, January-February 1991
  • The CIS Newsletter Fall 1996