Indian Statistical Institute

Indian Statistical Institute

name = Indian Statistical Institute

motto = "Unity in diversity"
established = 17 December, 1931
type = Public
staff = 1017
faculty = 255
head_label = Director
head = Sankar K. Pal
Dean = A. Bagchi
students = 375
undergrad = 110
postgrad = 225
doctoral = 40
city = Kolkata
state = West Bengal
country = India
campus = urban
nickname = ISI
website =

Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) engages in the research, teaching, and application of statistics to the natural sciences and social sciences. Founded by Professor P.C. Mahalanobis in Kolkata in 1931, while statistics was a relatively new scientific field, the institute gained the status of an Institution of National Importance by an act of the Indian Parliament in 1959.

The Headquarters of ISI is located in the northern fringe of the metropolis of Kolkata, in Baranagar, in Bon-Hoogly not far from the Dunlop Bridge. Three other centres are located in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. The ISI's teaching activities are in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore, while other cities in India have branch offices engaged in projects and consultancy in Statistical Quality Control and Operations Research. Presently, ISI has a total annual expenditure of over Rs. 15,000,000 and employs 250 faculty members, and over 1,000 supporting staff.

The Present Director is Prof. Sankar Kumar Pal [] .The present Dean of Studies is Prof. Bimal Roy [] .


The major objectives of the Indian Statistical Institute, as stated in its Memorandum of Association, are: [ [ Objectives of ISI] ]

* To promote the study and dissemination of knowledge of Statistics, to develop statistical theory and methods, and their use in research and practical applications generally, with special reference to problems of planning of national development and social welfare;

* To undertake research in various fields of natural and social sciences, with a view to the mutual development of Statistics and these sciences;

* To provide for, and undertake, the collection of information, investigation, projects and operational research for purposes of planning and the improvement of efficiency of management and production.

Unity in Diversity is the motto of the Institute.


The Statistical Laboratory in the Presidency College, Kolkata was set up by Mahalanobis in the Physics Department of the college in 1920s. On 17 December, 1931, the Indian Statistical Institute was founded as a learned society and was housed in the Statistical Laboratory. In 1931, Mahalanobis was the only person working for ISI and he managed it with an annual expenditure of Rs. 250. Many colleagues of Mahalanobis took an interest in statistics and the group grew in the Statistical Laboratory. A meeting was called on the 17 December 1931 with Pramatha Nath Banerji (Minto Professor of Economics), Nikhil Ranjan Sen (Khaira Professor of Applied Mathematics) and Sir R. N. Mukherji. This meeting led to the establishment of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), and formally registered on 28 April 1932 as a non-profit distributing learned society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.Rao, C. R. (1973) Prasantha Chandra Mahalanobis. 1893-1972. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 19:454-492] Rudra, A. (1996), "Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis: A Biography". Oxford University Press.]

Later, it was registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act XXVI of 1961 amended in 1964. [ [ History of ISI] ] The ISI was relocated to a property owned by Professor Mahalanobis, named "Amrapali", in Baranagar, North Kolkata.

It gradually grew with the pioneering work of a group of his colleagues including S. S. Bose, J. M. Sengupta, R. C. Bose, S. N. Roy, K. R. Nair, R. R. Bahadur, G. Kallianpur and D. B. Lahiri. The institute also gained major assistance through Pitamber Pant, who was a secretary to the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Pant was trained in statistics at the Institute and took a keen interest in the institute.

In 1933, the journal "Sankhya" was also founded along the lines of Karl Pearson's "Biometrika".

The Institute started a training section in 1938. Many of the early workers left the ISI for careers in the USA and with the government of India. Mahalanobis invited J. B. S. Haldane to join him at the ISI and Haldane joined as a Research Professor from August 1957 and stayed on until February 1961. He resigned from ISI due to frustrations with the administration and disagreements with Mahalanobis's administrative policies. He was also very concerned with the frequent travels and absence of the director and wrote "The journeyings of our Director define a novel random vector". Haldane however helped the ISI grow in biometrics. [cite journal|title=On Some Aspects of the Life and Work of John Burdon Sanderson Haldane, F.R.S., in India|first=Krishna R.|last=Dronamraju|journal=Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London|volume=41|issue=2|year=1987|pages=211–237|doi=10.1098/rsnr.1987.0006]

In 1959 the Institute was declared as an Institute of national importance and a deemed university.

Later, ISI expanded to locations in New Delhi and Bangalore and other cities. Presently, ISI Kolkata has a campus consisting of six addresses: 201 through 206 Barrackpore Trunk Road. These include a house, which was an erstwhile office of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) of India, and prior to that, a movie studio in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 2008, ISI expanded to a new centre in Chennai. [cite web
url =
title = Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Chennai centre of Indian Statistical Institute
publisher = The Hindu
date = 2008-07-27
accessdate = 2008-10-01

Programs of Study

Traditionally, ISI offers fewer programs (and admits fewer students) than most other degree granting academic institutions. The following are the degree programs currently offered by ISI.

* Bachelor of Statistics (Honors).
* Bachelor of Mathematics (Honors).
* Master of Statistics.
* Master of Mathematics.
* Master of Science in Quantitative Economics.
* Master of Science in Library and Information Science.
* Master of Technology in Computer Science.
* Master of Technology in Quality, Reliability and Operations Research.
* Doctor of Philosophy.

Notable alumni

C. R. Rao, S. R. S. Varadhan, K. R. Parthasarathi, T. Parthasarathi, Rajeev Karandikar, Ravindra Khattree, J. S. Rao, Kesar Singh, Anuradha Roy, D. C. Rao, Ranajit Chakraborty, Probal Chowdhury, Arup Bose.

The Kolkata campus

Offers bachelors level degree in Statistics (B.Stat) and masters degree in Statistics, Computer Science, Quality Reliability and Operations Research and
Quantitative Economics. Major divisions and units are:
* Stat. Math. Unit (SMU)
* Advanced Computation and MicroElectronics Unit (ACMU)
* Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Unit (CVPRU)
* Machine Intelligence Unit (MIU)
* Applied Statistics Unit (ASU) etc.

The Kolkata campus also houses the The International Statistical Education Centre (ISEC) opened in 1950.This Center has been providing training in Statistics to sponsored students mainly from the countries of the Middle East, South and South East Asia, the Far East and the Commonwealth Countries of Africa. The Center also offers various short-term courses in Statistics and related subjects.

The Central Library of ISI is located at Kolkata with a network extending to other locations of the Institute.Over the years, the library has attained the distinction of being one of the richest libraries of the country, particularlyin the field of Statistics and related disciplines. The Central Library at Kolkata has over 200,000 volumes of books and journals besides many official reports, reprints, maps, and microfilms. It receives about one thousand scientific and technical journals annually. The Library has acquired databases on CD-ROM and further digitization of the library facilities is in progress. The library has developed a separate collection of books and journals in Mathematics and Statistics known as Eastern Regional Centre of "NBHM" collection, out of the grants from the National Board for Higher Mathematics.

Images of the Delhi campus

Images of the Bangalore campus


Campus Link

* [ Kolkata] (location: coord|22.648810|N|88.377058|E|region:IN-WB_type:edu_scale:50)
* [ Delhi] (location: coord|28.539436|N|77.185494|E|region:IN-DL_type:edu_scale:50)
* [ Bangalore] (location: coord|12.932468|N|77.503196|E|region:IN-KA_type:edu_scale:50)
* [ Chennai]
* [ Faculty list by location and category]

External links

* [ Sites providing data on India]
* [ Links to some statistical societies and their journals]
* [ International Statistical Education Centre]
* [ Statistical Science Web]
* [ Project Euclid]
* [ National Sample Survey Organisation]
* [ Actuarial Society of India]

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