ICALP was first organized in 1972 in Paris, France. Second ICALP was held in 1974, and since 1976 ICALP has been an annual event, nowadays usually taking place in July.
Traditionally, the conference was thematically split into two tracks on "Algorithms, Automata, Complexity and Games" (Track A) and Logic, "Semantics, and Theory of Programming" (Track B), corresponding to the (at least until 2005) two mainstreams of the journal Theoretical Computer Science. Beginning with the 2005 conference, a third track (Track C) was added in order to allow the deeper coverage of a particular topic. From 2005 until 2008, the third track was dedicated to "Security and Cryptography Foundations", and in 2009, it is devoted to the topic "Foundations of Networked Computation: Models, Algorithms and Information Management".
The Gödel Prize, a prize for outstanding papers in theoretical computer science and awarded jointly by the EATCS and the ACM SIGACT, is presented every second year at ICALP. Presentation of the prize, which is awarded annually, alternates with the conference STOC (ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing).