An eidos is an idea before it has taken shape in somebody's thinking: heliocentrism before Copernicus, universal gravitation before Newton, or relativity before Einstein. – Or, indeed, information before Shannon. The chain of cause and effect leads to the eidos; in order to get to the end, one must dismiss all fears: the fear of making a beginning, of groping around lost in the dark, or of going blind from sudden illumination. At the IITP they have been following this path for the last seventy years – from nine to six, five days a week.
The Institute for Information Transmission Problems was the brainchild of the Soviet technological visionary Alexander Kharkevich, who had picked up the ideas of the American engineer Claude Shannon – the father of mathematical information theory. Ever since, the Institute’s laboratories have woven a net to catch the next eidos – each with its own special section: telecommunications, intelligent computer systems, genomics, fundamental mathematics, and computer linguistics.
The IITP is the only Russian body participating in the work of the American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ committee for the development of global Wi-Fi standards. Here they are busy carrying out the syntactic mark-up of the national corpus of the Russian language and analysing the sequence of nucleotides in the genome. Once made commercially available, the fruits of the IITP’s labours have been used to teach banking applications to speak more like real human beings, and train video cameras on toll roads to distinguish passenger cars from goods vehicles.