A short history of NR

Founded in 1952, The Norwegian Computing Center (NR) was initially part of the Central Institute for Industrial Research and various regional institutes in Norway. Since then, NR has established itself as an independent, non-profit foundation, producing innovative contract research in statistical modelling, machine learning and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the private and public sector in Norway and abroad.

Our organisation

The Norwegian Computing Center (NR) was founded in 1952 and was a part of the Central Institute for Industrial Research. There were also regional subdepartments at the University of Bergen, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, the Norwegian Institute of Technology, and the Norwegian College of Agriculture.

 In 1958, NR was incorporated into the Royal Norwegian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (NTNF) and operated as a national computing centre until the late ‘60s. As other environments modernised and applied similar technologies, NR became a methodological institute. NR became an independent foundation in 1985.

Our work

Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard pose in front of a computer displaying SIMULA, the first object-oriented programming language.
Caption: Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard pose with SIMULA.

NR has worked in statistics since 1952 and data communication since 1963. As an innovator of new technologies, NR housed Norway’s first electronic computer, NUSSE, in the early ‘50s.  NR is known for developing SIMULA, the first object-oriented programming language, in the ‘60s. In 2001, Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard received both the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and the Turing Prize for their work.

Between 2007-2014, NR hosted a centre for research-driven innovation (SFI) called Statistics for Innovation.

NR today

Today, NR is one of Europe’s largest research environments in applied statistics. The largest applications are petroleum, finance and insurance, earth observation, climate and environment, healthcare and diagnostics, administration, and image analysis. Within ICT, work is done with information security, universal design, and smart information systems.

 NR has four project-oriented research departments, each with a distinct scientific profile:

The Department of Image Analysis and Earth Observation (BAMJO)

The Department of Applied Research Technology (DART)

The Department of Statistical Analysis, Image Analysis, and Pattern Recognition (SAMBA)

The Department of Statistical Analysis of Natural Resource Data (SAND)

NR is currently host to BigInsight, a centre for research-driven innovation in statistical and machine learning methodologies. The centre is funded by the Research Council of Norway and a consortium of fifteen partners, and will run between 2015-2024.

Anniversary book

The commemorative book, Norsk Regnesentral 1952-2002, was published for the 50th anniversary of the Norwegian Computing Center in 2002. The book provides a detailed history of our organisational development, and includes articles about the institute’s contributions in a number of subject areas. It features articles by around 50 writers, most of whom are, or have been, employees at the institute.