Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension


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In the space of a generation, digital technology has revolutionised our lives and our activities, changing the way we see the world. It can be found in every field, with the modeling, analysis and processing of data whose volume and complexity is growing all the time, particularly since the Internet became widely available. It is also key to addressing the challenges faced in the fields of health, energy and natural resource management, environmental conservation, and education as well as society as a whole. In transforming the ways in which we communicate and give and receive information, it is changing the nature of our relationship with other people and with the world. Inria researchers therefore face a wide range of new challenges in order to guide and support the digital transformation of our lives and prepare for the world of tomorrow…

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Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension

  1. 1. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY, THE SOCIAL DIMENSION ANNUAL REPORT 2012 Domaine de Voluceau — Rocquencourt BP 105 78153 Le Chesnay Cedex France Tel.:+33(0)139 63 55 11 Fax:+33(0)139 63 53 30 AnnualReportInria2012 RAIN012-Couvmontee7mm_BAT.indd 78 12/09/13 10:56
  2. 2. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY: THE SOCIAL DIMENSION • 02 • Health and well-being • Society and education • Environment and sustainable development • Data • Systems STRATEGY• 13 • Interview with Michel Cosnard • 2 questions for Claude Kirchner • A view from Antoine Petit 365 DAYS• 17 Significant events of the year ONGOING COLLABORATIONS • 24 Whatever the stage of development (hypothesis, project-team up and running, technology transfer), our research is boosted by a wide range of collaborations, including interactions with the business world, academic or industrial partners, civil society, etc. Follow the guide... MISSIONS • 26 • Research • Partnerships • Technology transfer • Raising the profile of computational sciences INRIA IN FACTS AND FIGURES • 53 CONTENTS RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd II 12/09/13 10:15
  3. 3. 01 Inria — Annual Report 2012 In the space of a generation, digital technology has revolutionised oour livves and oourr acttiviitiees, changing the way we see the world. It can be found in every field, with the modeling, analysis and processing of data whose volume and complexity is growing all the time, particularly since the Internet became widely available. It is also key to addressing the challenges faced in the fields of health, energy and natural resource management, environmental conservation, and education as well as society as a whole. In transforming the ways in which we communicate and give and receive information, it is changing the nature of ouur reelattioonsshhhipp wwithh oothheer people and with thewwoorrldd. Inria researchers therefore face a wide range of new challenges in order to guide and support the digital transformation of our lives and prepare for the woorldd off toommoorrooww……… GUIDING AND SUPPORTING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETY RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 01 12/09/13 10:16
  4. 4. 02 Inria — Annual Report 2012 Thanks to digital technology, medicine is making giant leaps forward. Biomedical techniques are enabling us to live better and longer, and responses to health issues are now taking into account dimensions such as comfort and well-being. P revention, prediction, participation and personalisation are the challenges for medicine, which is using scientific advances to enhance its understanding of the complexities of the human body, prevent disease and improve the support and guidance given to patients through more personalised care and better sharing of information between doctors and patients. With the advent of digital technology and medical imaging, new tools have appeared which make it possible to go even further in understanding living organisms and analysing cases and operations. It is now possible to model organs on a computer, study complex biological systems, detect diseases and even optimise surgical procedures through the use of augmented reality and specialised robots. Many challenges remain to be met, but, in developed countries, where life expectancy and quality of life have improved markedly, the pursuit of comfort and well-being is becoming increasingly important. In this area, too, digital technology is making a key strategic contribution, with the development of home healthcare and the quantified self, for example, which offer better access to more personalised care. Biotechnologies: a miracle cure? HEALTH AND WELL-BEING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY,THE SOCIALDIMENSION RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 02 12/09/13 10:16
  5. 5. 03 Inria — Annual Report 2012 03 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 03 12/09/13 10:16
  6. 6. Inria — Annual Report 2012Inria — Annual Report 2012 The Web and digital technologies are paving the way for new forms of education in which each individual can learn and progress as he/she wishes. These appealing methods are transforming the traditional educational model. I n November 2011, an artificial intelligence class at Stanford University was attended by 160,000 students. Not in a lecture theatre, of course, but online. In April 2013, Coursera, a site which provides free courses on the Internet, offered over 300 modules from around sixty universities and had over three million users worldwide. MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) are enjoying growing success, not only with students, for whom they provide access to high-quality teaching on all kinds of subjects, wherever they are in the world, but also with teachers, who are able to reach a vast audience online. This new form of education seems to be tailor- made for the Internet generation, which has grown up on computers and social networks. However, it raises a number of questions. Can a qualification be awarded for following this kind of course? What digital tools need to be invented to optimise the effectiveness of these courses? What place do human relationships have in virtual classes? How can struggling students be helped? Will open-access self-learning complement traditional education or replace it? Who manages the data generated by students during the learning process? All these questions pose challenges for the world of education and research... Self-learning: the end of traditional education? SOCIETY AND EDUCATION 04 DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY,THE SOCIALDIMENSION RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 04 12/09/13 10:16
  7. 7. Inria — Annual Report 2012 Inria — Rapport annuel 2011 0505 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 05 12/09/13 10:16
  8. 8. 06 Inria — Annual Report 2012 By developing our observation and analysis capabilities, digital technology offers invaluable tools for monitoring and preserving the environment. The impact of digital technology on the environment is the subject of legitimate debate, but this technology is perhaps found in places where people do not expect it... T he impact of digital technology in preserving the environment and resources is based on a progressive approach: observing (by collecting and transporting data from networks, Web applications, smartphones, satellites, etc.), understanding and interpreting (with data processing, modeling and simulation) and finally making recommendations based on the scenarios and visualisations created. There are already many fields of application in the management of natural resources and pollution (water, energy, air, soil), in new mobility solutions and in building and neighbourhood management. Today, for example, digital technology can be used to model ground water in order to predict available water quantities, to optimise wind farms through wind analysis, to analyse complex, heterogeneous data on air or water quality, or to determine soil fertility or pollution. In eco-business, which is dealing with growing amounts of increasingly distributed, uncertain and heterogeneous data, the role of digital technology is vital in the preventive detection of faults or breakdowns and in adapting consumption to production. The development of the Web, social networks and smartphone applications is creating information channels and opportunities for the sharing of information between operators, local authorities and citizens. The user is now central to the interaction process and innovations are user-led: a real sea change in attitudes has taken place. Can digital technology save the planet? ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY,THESOCIALDIMENSION RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 06 12/09/13 10:16
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  10. 10. Inria — Annual Report 2012 In providing free and instant access to a multitude of content of all kinds, the Web surpasses any library. However, there are some subtle differences between disseminating information and sharing knowledge... D iderot and Voltaire, like other Enlightenment philosophers, dreamt of a universal system for disseminating knowledge to combat ignorance. Two centuries later, the chances of their dream becoming reality were given a huge boost with the birth of the Internet. Knowledge has never been as easily accessible as it is today; almost anyone can now express and share ideas on all kinds of subjects. But this development has a flip-side: the Web has become a victim of its own success as a forum for free expression, a place where the very best humanity has to offer coexists with the very worst, and where the truth is sometimes hidden beneath partisan or commercial rhetoric. With the exponential growth in the amount of data on the Internet, the difficulty lies not in finding information, but in unearthing the meaningful information that we really need. Social networks further complicate the matter by drowning this useful information among a mass of useless chatter. What place does the quest for knowledge have alongside commerce and entertainment in this digital world? Will the semantic Web, so dear to researchers, be enough to guide us towards real knowledge through this constantly expanding space? Is the Web really a vector for knowledge? DATA 08 DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY,THESOCIALDIMENSION RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 08 12/09/13 10:16
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  12. 12. 10 Inria — Annual Report 2012 In the digital era, information is central to our daily lives and to every facet of our societies. But, like a new black gold, coveted on all sides, the processing of this information poses not insubstantial risks… A ccording to the site GloboMeter, nearly 13 computers and 15 smartphones are sold each second worldwide. More broadly, it is estimated that there should be around 24 billion communicating digital objects on the planet in 2020 – as against 9 billion in 2011. The quantity of data stored and exchanged on networks confirms this frenetic growth. Each day, more than 100 million tweets are posted and 3 billion Google searches are performed. These mind-blowingly high figures show the growing complexity of the digital world in which we now live: a world populated by machines and software processing billions of terabytes of data. Because it is so sophisticated, this combination of information systems engenders multiple problems. How can this gigantic mass of disparate “big data” be harnessed? How can we guarantee the confidentiality of sensitive information? What risks do these technologies pose in a society prone to commercial or criminal misbehaviour? And who will control access to these sprawling systems on which we have become so dependent in our daily lives? Do megasystems mean megarisks? SYSTEMS DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY,THESOCIALDIMENSION RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 10 12/09/13 10:16
  13. 13. 11 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 11 12/09/13 10:16
  14. 14. 12 Inria — Annual Report 2012 PROFILE 32initial patents filed 127software applications submitted to the APP (France’s software protection agency) 4,720reference publications (articles and conference papers) 324theses defended 62associate teams linked to foreign universities and laboratories 2,676persons paid by the institute and 1,721 by our partners, that means 4,397 persons contributed to Inria’s activities. 181project-teams (at 31 December 2012), nearly 80% of which are affiliated with another research institute, a university or a school 80% 20% 881 engineers, technicians and administrators 670 researchers and research-lecturers 484 PhD students 406 R&D engineers 208 post-doctoral researchers 27 other staff (apprentices, interns and stand-ins) RAIN012_UK_12-16_BAT.indd 12 12/09/13 10:19
  15. 15. Inria — Annual Report 2012Inria — Annual Report 2012 STRATEGY Once again this year, several teams have benefited from new buildings. Isn’t that unusual for a research institute of Inria’s size? Michel Cosnard • 2012 certainly marked a defining moment in our development. Some buildings had been expected for over ten years – the building at the École Polytechnique campus in Saclay, for instance, which brings together certain of our research teams from the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France research centre, our Inria Joint Lab affiliated with Microsoft Research, and the Polytechnique’s computer science laboratory. Buildings have also been opened in Bordeaux and Lille, as well as a technology transfer space in Grenoble and a virtual reality platform (one of the largest in the world) at the Inria Rennes–Bretagne Atlantique centre. This reinforcement of our regional presence is to everyone’s benefit. Although we are the clients for these new buildings, we receive firm support from local and regional authorities, universities and, in some cases, Europe. 2012 saw also the launch of a number of structures created under the French government’s Future Investments programme. Michel Cosnard • We are partners in a number of large-scale projects which provide a real fillip for both our scientific expertise and our technology transfer activities. We are involved in five laboratories of excellence: UCN@Sophia and SIGNALIFE in Sophia Antipolis, Henri-Lebesgue and CominLabs in Rennes, and PERSYVAL-Lab in Grenoble. INTERVIEW WITH MICHEL COSNARD INRIA CHAIRMAN AND CEO We are partners in a number of large-scale projects which provide a real fillip for both our scientific expertise and our technology transfer activities. 13 ••• RAIN012_UK_12-16_BAT.indd 13 12/09/13 10:19
  16. 16. 14 Inria — Annual Report 2012 These laboratories ensure good coordination with our partners and stable funding over several years for our priority projects. The Institute is also involved in five of the eight technological research institutes, in the fields of computational systems engineering (SystemX, Saclay), digital networks and infrastructures (B-com, Rennes), nanoelectronics (NanoElec, Grenoble), infectology (BIOASTER, Lyon) and advanced production technologies (Jules- Verne, Nantes). Inria is also a partner of the GreenStars Institute of Excellence for Carbon-Free Energy, which aims to develop biofuels using micro-algae. Lastly, we are heavily involved in three of the six university hospital institutes: IHU Strasbourg, LIRYC in Bordeaux and A-ICM in Paris, which are working, respectively, on minimally invasive surgery, heart rate modeling and diseases of the nervous system. These collaborations mark the culmination of the move intohealthcare research we began ten years ago as part of our 2003–2007 strategic plan. Your research with Chile has been lent fresh impetus by the launch of the Inria Chile Foundation, which is, among other things, handling the technology transfer and innovation activities for the Ciric programme (Communication and Information Research and Innovation Centre). Why are these partnerships structured in the way they are? Michel Cosnard • We have been working with the main Chilean universities for over twenty years. Today, we have around ten joint associate teams. The work of the Ciric programme concerns three fields: hybrid energy, management of natural resources and the Internet and communication networks. The Inria Chile Foundation encompasses this programme, as well as other research, particularly in astronomy, which is likely to encourage partnerships for French businesses in Chile or with Chilean businesses. It will also act as a hub for our international relations in South America. We want to strengthen and consolidate our collaborations in Argentina and Brazil. What do you think of the changes taking place in the world of research, education and computational sciences? Michel Cosnard • As a research institute and as part of the Allistene alliance for computational sciences and technologies, we are delighted with all the recent measures taken by the government regarding digital technology. The strategy adopted draws on all of the State’s resources, not only to boost the competitiveness of businesses, but also to develop a trustworthy digital society and better teaching of information technology and computational sciences. In parallel, the law on higher education and research is changing the legislative framework and should create closer links between education, research, technology transfer and innovation. The project to establish “communities of universities and research institutes”, a new initiative to create collaborations and pool knowledge between universities, schools and research institutes, consolidates our territorial approach. The strategy adopted draws on all the State’s resources. STRATEGY RAIN012_UK_12-16_BAT.indd 14 12/09/13 10:19
  17. 17. 15 Inria — Annual Report 2012 What is special about the 2013–2017 strategic plan? Claude Kirchner • Since it was created, Inria has always cared about the impact of its research in the world of industry. The previous plan extended this concern to other sciences and the economy. Today, we embark upon a new stage by opening up the fields of application of our research to all human activity (transport, social relations, culture, education, etc.). This change reflects the rapid digitalisation of all aspects of society. The next European framework programme, Horizon 2020, takes the same approach. Why create an ethics committee? Claude Kirchner • When our research has an impact on human beings, serious ethical questions can arise. Cerna, a committee to consider the ethics of research in computational science and technologies, was created in 2012 as part of the Allistene alliance. Its goal is to clarify matters for researchers by considering sensitive subjects in detail: typically, its two biggest areas of inquiry are data and robotics. In parallel, we have created Inria’s own operational legal and ethical risk assessment committee (Coerle). This is a small operational committee (seven members) whose task is to assess the legal or ethical implications of proposed research projects on a case-by-case basis. It helps to identify risks and determine whether some form of supervision or control is necessary, such as a need for informed consent or the establishment of a laboratory log book. The Institute’s approval of the ethical or legal dimensions of an experimentation or research project is a prerequisite for ERC (European Research Council) projects, to answer European or French National Research Agency (ANR) calls for tender and to publish a conference paper or a journal article. 2 QUESTIONS FOR CLAUDE KIRCHNER EXECUTIVEOFFICER FORRESEARCHAND TECHNOLOGYTRANSFER FORINNOVATION The increasing societal impact of our research brings with it a need to consider the ethical implications. RAIN012_UK_12-16_BAT.indd 15 12/09/13 10:19
  18. 18. 16 Inria — Annual Report 2012 A s a contributor to the creation of an increasingly digital society, our ambition is to have an economic and social impact in addition to our scientific impact. One of our strengths is that we make long-term commitments to the projects we believe in. Inria has pursued this course for many years, winning it international scientific renown (as demonstrated by ten new European Research Council grant-holders this year), as well as recognition from industry. In order to strengthen its economic impact and foster innovation, the Institute is currently helping to establish two technological research institutes in our fields (IRT B-com in Rennes and SystemX in Saclay) which were selected for the Future Investments programme in 2012. We have also, in conjunction with the Afdel (the French association of software vendors) and Oséo (a French start-up assistance body), launched the “Ambition Logicielle” [“Software Ambition”] project, the goal of which is to fosterthe growth of SMEs in the software and Internet industry by bringing together all the expertise they need (funding, management, the transfer of academic skills, etc.). The societal impact of computational sciences was also reflected by the introduction of an “IT and computational sciences” option in 750 high schools for the 2012–2013 academic year. This was the result of investment over several years by Inria and our researchers, who made a significant contribution to shaping the syllabi and teaching materials. Our aim is also to spread scientific awareness to the widest possible audience, and with this in mind, this year saw us launch the Inriality platform (, an open, participative space for exchange and thought on digital civilisation. Our ambition is to have an economic and social impact in addition to our scientific impact. THE PERSPECTIVE OF ANTOINE PETIT DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR STRATEGY RAIN012_UK_12-16_BAT.indd 16 12/09/13 10:19
  19. 19. 57 365 DAYS 17 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 17 12/09/13 10:37
  20. 20. EARLY2012 Putting computer science to use in music T he aim of Mutant, a new project-team at the Inria Paris – Rocquencourt research centre, is to delegate both the writing and the performance of music to a computer. This team, which involves the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music (Ircam), the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC), conducts research at the confluence of two important fields of inquiry for computer music: firstly, real-time recognition and extraction of musical data from an audio signal (or machine listening) using signal processing and statistical learning techniques, and secondly, reactive synchronous programming in computer music. The combination of these two subjects, often seen as distinct, is central to the composition and performance of music. It can increase the possibility of human-computer musical interaction and thus resolve interesting modeling problems. This original initiative reaffirms the contribution of computational sciences and mathematics to this research, as, while automatic learning models, languages and real-time and concurrent programming models have gained in maturity in recent years (due to their use in everyday devices such as cameras and tablets), their application in music has been slightly slower due to the temporal complexity of the musical signals. MARCH EADS, Astrium, Inria and the Aquitaine Region put computational sciences and technologies to use in the space sector In March 2012, EADS, its subsidiary Astrium – the European market leader in the space sector – and Inria signed a research partnership agreement, with the support of the Aquitaine Regional Council, in order to tackle the challenges of developing the space launch systems of the future. Among the priorities of this ambitious research programme are estimating and managing uncertainties, simulating performances through supercomputing, and virtual reality to take into account assembly constraints… In the medium term, it will also aim to create a network of SMEs around these subjects. 365 DAYS Inria — Annual Report 2012 18 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 18 12/09/13 10:37
  21. 21. I n early June, the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France research centre moved to a new building named after Alan Turing, the British mathematician who invented computer science, and the centenary of whose birth was celebrated in 2012. Located on the campus of the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, south of Paris, this building is part of the work of the advanced thematic research network Digiteo, which was founded by Inria. Housing the administrative headquarters of the Inria Saclay–Île-de-France centre, the Inria Joint Lab led with Microsoft Research, and the École Polytechnique’s computer science laboratory (LIX), it provides an environment conducive to the consolidation of the scientific and technological synergies between these laboratories, all of which are key players in computational science research. An extension to the building is planned to accommodate a “project hotel” for the Jacques- Hadamard Mathematics Foundation, which is developing synergies concerning the modeling of living things as well as industrial collaborations with EDF. With the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) site in Saclay, which is home to the “Maison de la simulation”, and a second in the Moulon district accommodating our teams working on data visualisation and learning large scale with other teams from the CEA List and from Paris-Sud University, these facilities bring together scientific projects and partners and foster interdisciplinary cooperation within the Plateau de Saclay ecosystem. JUNE CominLabs launches eight ambitious research projects The CominLabs laboratory of excellence brings together teams from the Brittany region and Nantes. Led jointly by Inria senior research scientist Albert Benveniste, who is in charge of scientific matters, and Dominique Massaloux, deputy scientific director at Télécom Bretagne, who has operational responsibility, it is launching eight ambitious research projects. Three of them are related to life sciences and health, focusing on the cell mechanisms involved in learning and memory, predictive models to personalise radiotherapy treatment and generic models for surgical procedures. Two are security-oriented – one concerning externally-stored data (in clouds or peer-to-peer networks) and the other focusing specifically on cloud computing infrastructures. Energy management and new forms of interaction form the nub of the last projects, which concern interfaces that use data from tiny sensors to translate human body movements, a new generation of RFID tags for innovative services, and networks allowing energy consumption to be adapted to user needs. EARLYJUNE Strengthening of interdisciplinary cooperation on the Plateau de Saclay 19 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 19 12/09/13 10:37
  22. 22. AUGUST–NOVEMBER New synergies in the Greater East region. The Nancy–Grand Est centre increased its influence in France’s Greater East region in August by signing a partnership agreement with the Max-Planck- Institut für Informatik in Saarbrücken. The agreement creates the VeriDis project-team, which will work on formal checking and proving methods, with distributed algorithms and systems as its main field of application. The centre also bolstered its involvement in the Strasbourg ecosystem in November by holding an Inria Industry Meeting on the theme of “digital simulation for health, from the cell tothe virtual human”, with the Frenchcluster Alsace BioValley and the Strasbourg university hospital institute. Thanks to these synergies, the centre is involved with the Irmia laboratory of excellence (research institute for mathematics, interactions and applications), which promotes collaborations between mathematicians and socio- economic players, as well as Franco-German relations around the University of Strasbourg. SEPTEMBER Creation of the permanent “Algorithms, machines and languages” chair at the Collège de France In September 2012, Gérard Berry, an Inria senior research scientist, was appointed as a professor of the Collège de France, in the new permanent chair, “Algorithms, machines and languages”. A world-renowned researcher and an excellent teacher, Gérard Berry has for many years been committed to passing on his passion for computational sciences to the widest possible audience. Having held first the “Liliane Bettencourt technology chair” and then the “Information technology and computational sciences chair 2009–2010”, he explained “how and why our world has gone digital” and thus introduced computational sciences to the Collège de France for the first time. The creation of this fully-fledged academic chair constitutesremarkable recognition ofcomputer science at the highest levelof the Academy. ce ween s ound JUNE Inria Awards 2012 T he second Inria Awards ceremony was held in June 2012. Pierre-Louis Lions, a Professor at the Collège de France and a member of the Académie des Sciences (French Academy of Sciences), was awarded the Grand Prize. Paul-Louis George, an Inria senior research scientist and a world-renowned specialist in meshing techniques, received the Inria-Dassault Systèmes innovation award for the impact of his work on the industrial use of 3D computational simulation. Francis Bach was awarded the Young Researcher Award: a graduate of the Corps des Mines engineering school and a research scientist at Inria, he has acquired global renown in the field of statistical learning. The Award for Research and Innovation Support was awarded to David Margery, an Inria research engineer and technical director of the Grid’5000 national research infrastructure since 2007. Finally, Marie-Agnès Enard, Frédéric Carette and Sylvain Karpf won the Research Support Department Award for their involvement in the implementation of the Inria demonstration platform at the EuraTechnologies site in Lille. 365 DAYS 20 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 20 12/09/13 10:37
  23. 23. SEPTEMBER Georges Gonthier and his team announce the success of their work on the Feit-Thompson theorem After six years of work as part of the Inria Joint Lab in association with Microsoft Research, Georges Gonthier (Microsoft Research) and his team finished their computer-aided proof of the Feit-Thompson theorem, a central theorem in group theory and classification which is crucial in many scientific fields, from quantum mechanics, to crystallography, to cryptography. This was a great success for computer science, showing its capacity to deploy high-quality tools and techniques to codify mathematics. The outcome was a very large computer library enabling complete formalisation of mathematical proofs and a widely-distributed enhanced Coq toolbox and environment. SEPTEMBER SophiaTech campus opens A fter more than ten years of involvement in the project, the Inria Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée centre finally saw the SophiaTech campus become a reality in September, reasserting the place of computational science and technology at the heart of the Sophia-Antipolis science park by bringing together students, research-lecturers and researchers from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Eurecom, Mines ParisTech, Inra and Inria. The stakeholders have developed a scientific programme based around four major areas of research: ubiquitous systems and networks, computational health and biology, modeling, simulation and technologies for the environment and sustainable development, and knowledge, services and usage practices in networks. The synergies that have been consolidated are beneficial to other shared programmes such as the UCN@Sophia and SIGNALIFE laboratories of excellence. Training, technology development, and knowledge and technology transfer are also central to the activities of the campus, which is open to businesses in the digital sector. The key objective is to develop partnerships with the business world. Q4 2012 Twenty years of computational science research in the Rhône- Alpes region The Inria Grenoble Rhône-Alpes research centre celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012, paying tribute to twenty years of computer science research and innovation, development and partnerships in the Rhône-Alpes region and collaborations in France and beyond. Events included testimonials from the centre’s scientific experts on the changes in their fields, the results that have transformed our lives and society, such as the advent of Wi-Fi, the development of augmented reality and virtual reality, the roll-out of the Internet and the associated challenges regarding performance and privacy, Web services and software security, the emergence of Green IT, humanoid robots and distributed computing, etc. The celebrations culminated in November, with two events held at Inria Montbonnot and the CITI-Insa laboratory in Villeurbanne, and two public debates about the challenges of the future: “the Internet of things: usage practices and limits” and “Using digital technology in healthcare”. 21 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 21 12/09/13 10:37
  24. 24. 18 NOVEMBER Inriaplaysakeyroleinthe3rd edition of the Forum on Tactile and Gestural Interaction L ed by the Plaine Images studio and the Inria Lille–Nord Europe centre, the third edition of the Forum on Tactile and Gestural Interaction, FITG 2012, attracted over 500 people to Tourcoing on 13 and 14 November, including researchers, business people, artists and curious observers. The event, which is built around demonstrations and presentations illustrating the current trends in hardware and software platforms, interaction paradigms and techniques and usage practices, was a great success. The key theme for 2012 was: “Accessibility for all” and participants included the French Association for the Paralysed. Taking part alongside representatives from three Inria project-teams, In-situ (Saclay–Île-de-France), Mint (Lille–Nord Europe) and Potioc (Bordeaux–Sud- Ouest), were other researchers from France (Caen, Compiègne and Valenciennes universities, CNRS, CEA, etc.) and elsewhere in Europe (University of Munich, Max-Planck-Institut, Saarbrücken, etc.), as well as representatives of industry (Orange Labs, etc.). OCTOBER Cerna established The committee to consider the ethics of research in computational science and technologies (Cerna) was set up by Allistene, the Alliance for computational science and technologies, in October 2012. With around twenty members and chaired by Max Dauchet, emeritus professor at the University of Lille 1, Cerna’s membership is split 50-50 between experts in computational sciences who are interested in the ethics of research in their discipline and professionals from outside theInstitute: lawyers, philosophers, sociologists, etc. Intended as a forum for discussion of the ethical aspects of computational science research, Cerna also has a role in supervising, monitoring and anticipating matters of ethics, and may recommend the study of new research subjects concerning the ethics of digital technologies. Coerle, Inria’s own operational committee for the assessment of legal and ethical risks, was also set up. 365 DAYS 22 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 22 12/09/13 10:37
  25. 25. NOVEMBER Inria, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Wikimedia France Foundation sign an agreement on the Sémanticpédia platform In November 2012, an agreement on the Sémanticpédia platform was signed between the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Wikimedia France Foundation and Inria. At the same time, the platform’s first project was officially inaugurated: the French chapter of DBpedia, an initiative that aims to improve the relevance of Internet searches. The common goal? To optimise the quality of cultural data in French on the Web in order to promote the publication, conservation and dissemination of these structured data and enable the emergence of new usage practices, services and markets based on innovative applications. In short, to invigorate the international dissemination of French culture. THROUGHOUTTHE YEAR Inria Bordeaux – Sud-Ouest centre strengthens its ties with the USA in HPC Intensive digital simulation and high-performance computing, the building blocks for the analysis of complex physical and industrial phenomena, are among the scientific priorities of the Inria Bordeaux – Sud-Ouest research centre. 2012 saw the consolidation of international collaborations in this field, particularly with American partners. As part of the Inria@SiliconValley programme, the HiePacs project-team is taking part in an associate team called Fastla (Fast and scalable hierarchical algorithms for computational linear algebra) with Berkeley and Stanford universities. The aim of this collaboration is to study and implement hierarchical calculation methods, including fast multi-pole methods and hybrid sparse linear solvers. The primary focus of application for the multi-pole methods is dislocation dynamics in materials physics. In addition to this research, the HiePacs and Runtime project-teams have, since 2011, been involved with another associate team, Morse (Matrices over runtime systems), in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver, the University of Tennessee (ICL) and Kaust University in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this research in the context is to study computational algorithms (such as dense linear algebra kernels) and implement them on heterogeneous platforms through use of task-based runtime systems. The StarPU software developed by theRuntime team is playing a centralrole in this. The first results led to a contribution to the release of the Magma package (adense linear algebra library constituting an international reference) at the Supercomputing 2012 conference. 23 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 23 12/09/13 10:37
  26. 26. CUR COLLABO RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd 24 12/09/13 11:04
  27. 27. Whateverthe stage of development(hypothesis,project-team up and running, technology transfer), our research is driven by a wide range of collaborations, including interaction with the business world, academic and industrial partners and civil society. Follow the guide… RENT RATIONS RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd 25 12/09/13 11:04
  28. 28. 1 Designing the scientific project and constituting the project-team A researcher, or often a team, identifies a new avenue to be explored in his research, following interaction with his colleagues from other establishments or at international conferences. He then formalises the subject and the associated challenges with his partners (universities, schools, research institutes, etc.) and presents his scientific project to the management of the Inria centre to which he is attached, along with the reasons why this project should be pursued. 2 Research actions involving several project-teams In order to tackle important challenges that require varied, multidisciplinary expertise, several project-teams work together. They pool their expertise and that of other academic partners through Inria Project Labs on major research subjects in which Inria wishes to invest particular effort (see p. 35). 8 Associations, representatives of civil society In order to ensure that their projects and avenues of research meet the real needs of end users and are acceptable to these users, Inria researchers meet with representatives of civil society and patient or user associations such as the French association to aid research on multiple sclerosis, the French association for the paralysed, and the new-generation Internet foundation (Fing)… Some projects are conducted in close cooperation with such associations. Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd A 12/09/13 11:16
  29. 29. 7 Industry partnerships As part of Inria’s technology transfer strategy, project-teams are pursuing several types of collaboration with industry players and innovators.The common goal is to maximise the impact of the research on the economy and society.There are researchers working within Joint Labs led with industrial partners such as Alcatel- Lucent, Microsoft Research and Orange, while others have built close partnerships between their project-team and innovative SMEs through Inria Innovation Labs.These collaborations often draw upon synergies established between Inria and other innovation players such as competitiveness clusters and Oséo. 3 Partnerships with other research organisations Inria project-teams, many of which are teams affiliated with French academic partners such as universities or the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), also join forces with other partners, notably from the world of industry, to pursue projects supported by European, international or national funding. Thus Inria participates in collaborative R&D projects whether these projects are financed by competitiveness clusters or other calls (ITEA Future Investments Programme, etc.). RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd B 12/09/13 11:17
  30. 30. 6 Large-scale European projects Many Inria project-teams are taking part in the 7th European Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). They are involved in around a hundred projects, including some sixty on information and communication technology, and are working with a wide range of academic and industrial partners. Several Inria project- teams also participate in the activities of EIT ICT Labs*, a large-scale European laboratory involving some thirty main partners in six countries, as well as many associate partners. 4 Interdisciplinary cooperation In order to aid understanding and analysis of complex phenomena in a number of fields, such as health, the environment and security, Inria researchers work with scientists from Inra, Inserm, the IRD and the CNRS, among others, as well as specialists from other fields, such as doctors, biologists, geologists, neurologists, etc. Their expertise in modeling and simulation, in particular, allows advances to be made in many disciplines central to our society. 5 International collaborations Since 2002, Inria project-teams have worked with high-level research teams worldwide in “associate teams”. These collaborations may be part of existing multilateral cooperation and contribute to initiatives launched by the Institute to anchor its presence outside of Europe. They strengthen links between researchers internationally. * European Institute of Innovation &Technology. RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd C 12/09/13 11:17
  31. 31. They work with Inria... Inria contributes actively to top-quality international research collaborations in a wide variety of forms. One of Inria’s strengths is its two-fold expertise, spanning both theoretical research and its applications. I have worked with the Coq team and other teams that knew how to sustain a virtuous circle by moving easily from a theory to its implementation and vice versa. At a global level, Inria has played a central role as the ideal model for a computer science research institute. Japan has drawn inspiration from Inria and founded its own national computer science institute. Mitsuhiro Okada, professor at Keio University in Japan (Department of Philosophy, Department of Information and Computer Science), Director of the Global Centre for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensitivity at Keio University, Acting Director of the university’s Research Centre forThinking and Behavioural Judgement. We worked with Inria on the European project Humavips, which brought together five teams from four different countries under the leadership of Radu Horaud, head of Inria’s Perception project-team. The project’s ambitious objective was to endow a humanoid robot with audiovisual perception capabilities so that it could interact naturally with a group of people. Through cooperation between the teams, that challenge was met. The researchers combined separately- developed modules in a single piece of software to spawn a humanoid robot capable of interacting with a group and guiding them through a museum. The collaboration has borne fruit, with a number of innovative results in several fields. Taking part in this kind of project is fundamental for researchers. It allows them to consolidate their experience by comparing their ideas and methods with others, and shows them other perspectives and other fields. Vasil Khalidov, post-doctoral researcher at the Idiap Research Institute, Switzerland. Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd D 12/09/13 11:17
  32. 32. W hether it be in healthcare, the Internet or high- performance computing, the Institute is pursuing research that is resulting in advances in knowledge and technology. We focus on just a few noteworthy results. “Applying computational sciences to the field of health has been part of the Institute’s strategy since the 2003–2007 strategic plan, at the instigation of former Inria CEO Gilles Kahn,” notes Research Director Pascal Guitton. “Kahn was a visionary, defining the first contours of information technology for life sciences.Ten years later, the results are already meeting the challenges set, and the impact of our forward-looking approach has been consolidated.” Today, there are a dozen research teams working in the field.The 2013–2017 strategic plan reasserts this commitment, with a particular focus on improving the modeling of living organisms through the advent of personalised models. Health takes pride of place “This trend has been developing for a number of years now, says Alain Viari, Deputy Scientific Director responsible for life and environmental sciences. Having developed generic models, researchers are now turning to personalised models.” This is the case, for example, for the Asclepios project- team, which is using MRI data to determine personalised parameters for a generic electromechanical model of the heart. Such methods aim for a better classification of diseases according to the personal characteristics of particular individuals, so as to provide more suitable diagnosis and care. This research received recognition at the last Miccai (Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention) conference.This event, co-founded by Asclepios project-team leader Nicholas Ayache, who also chaired the 2012 edition, was held in Nice in 2012, attracting 1,200 participants from 45 countries. Ten or so Inria research teams presented their work.The European Research Council (ERC) grant obtained by Marie Doumic-Jauffret provides further evidence of the quality of the Institute’s life science research. This young researcher from the Bang project-team will be focusing on the modeling of amyloid diseases (prion disease, Alzheimer’s), whose formation mechanisms are comparable to the bacterial growth and division mechanisms studied by the team. Tacklingthemany challengesof computationalsciences RESEARCHMISSION RESEARCH CONTRIBUTORS Pascal Guitton, Research Director Stéphane Ubeda, Director of Technological Development Alain Viari, Deputy Scientific Director in charge of ICST for Life and Environmental Sciences Frédéric Desprez, Deputy Scientific Director in charge of Networks, Systems and Services and Distributed Computing Stéphane Ducasse, Head of Science, Inria Lille – Nord Europe centre 26 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 26 12/09/13 10:25
  33. 33. André Seznec • INRIA SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST • CENTRE INRIA RENNES – BRETAGNE ATLANTIQUE • Her work is testament to the adaptability of the Institute’s models and the interdiscliplinary nature of its research. A clear focus on technology transfer to industry An Inria Industry Meeting in Strasbourg was devoted to computational simulation for healthcare. Over 170 participants attended demonstrations by 17 Inria teams and 4 partners. “The event provided an opportunity to establish contact with businesses and discuss their needs, the aim being to give rise to new collaborations,” explains Pascal Guitton. The Inria Nancy–Grand Est research centre is also involved in the creation of the Strasbourg University Hospital Institute (IHU), which aims to develop image-guided micro-invasive surgery techniques, a project funded by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research’s Future Investments programme. These medical technologies combine simulation and augmented reality, superimposing information on nearby tumours or blood vessels on the view of the surgical field.The first start-up created at the IHU, InSimo, came from the Shacra project-team. It produces software to reproduce the mechanical behaviour of organs and simulate surgical procedures. InSimo has been chosen by non-governmental organisation HelpMeSee to design a simulator “Unlikemost other research groups, weare not working on parallel executionon the cores,”heexplains, “buton the performance of the sequentialpart of the application, asmost common applications will continueto be programmed with asequential part run by a single processor”.Yetthe performance levelsof this sequential part dictate overallperformance levels. Acceleratingthis sequential part becomeseven more crucial asthe number of cores increases, Todo this, André Seznec has proposednew versions for twoessential components, already implementedin computers: cache memories(which keep a readily- accessiblecopy of data) and branch predictors(which predict thecirculation of instructions). Withhis team, he continues to work onprocessors that are optimised forsequential work. André Seznec boosts computers’ performance levels “Ourwork has perhaps helped toincrease the performance levels ofmulti-core processor architectures bya few per cent,”suggestsAndré Seznec,head of the Alf project-team. Thismay not seem like a lot. It is, however,of interest to the processor industry,given that a computer containshundreds of millions ofprocessors (with a single PC, mobilephone or server comprising fouror eight cores today,and probably100 or even 1,000 by 2020). Theindustry players (Intel, IBM, ARM, AMD,Qualcom, etc.) to which André Seznechas been presenting his researchfor over fifteenyears are inno doubt. Intel has regularly supportedhis work since 2000 andawarded him the firstIntel ResearchImpact medal in June 2012. A specialist in microprocessor architecture, André Seznec joined the Inria Rennes–Bretagne Atlantique centre in 1986 during his PhD on supercomputer architectures • Since the 1990s, he has taken an interest in microprocessor architecture and since 1994 he has led a team of researchers (formerly Caps, now Alf) working on multi-core processor architecture (the organisation and way of managing hardware components: processing units, memory, etc.) and compilation for multi-core processors. • In 2010, he won an ERC grant enabling him to delve further into the subject for a period of five years. RESEARCHMISSION 27 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 27 12/09/13 10:25
  34. 34. COUNTER POINT• New energies need computational sciences Onwhat model are new energiesdeveloping? J.C.:Weare in the process ofchanging the way we produce anddistribute electricity. Untilnow,we had a centralised, hierarchicalsystem, with electricitygenerated by enormouspower stations. Weare going to gradually moveover to a decentralised, individualisedmodel, where eachoneofusissimultaneously aproducer,a distributor and aconsumer,thanks to therenewable energy generated bywind turbines, solar panels andeven hydroelectric systems orfuel cells. This is the “smart grid”principle, a truly revolutionarytechnological andeconomic development thatwill take several decades andwill bring about a total reorganisationof the market. Whatplace does digital technologyhave in this change? J.C.:Digital technology iscentral to this concept. Each individualmust be able to collectinformation about theenergy they have produced soas to optimise their energy consumptionand manage their energydistribution according totheir capacity and their needs. Thiswill require the integration ofsensors at all levels to adapt tothe situation in real time, aswell as the development ofanalysis, modeling and forecastingtools. Smart digital brokerswill also need to be developedto manage supply anddemand automatically atlocal level, so that energy issold when there is excess capacityand bought when it isneeded. These systems must beclear and intelligible so that eachuser understands theimpact of his/her choices. Whatchallenges does thischange pose? J.C.:Onechallengeistheneed tobe able to integrate any technologyimaginable, includingthe batteries ofelectric vehicles, so that, once connectedto the home, they can beused as a storage system toregulateproduction.Wemust alsodevelop quite powerful modelsto analyse and forecast productionand consumption accordingto the habits andneeds of each individual, whiletaking weather conditions intoaccount. Finally,we must takecare to protect theconfidentialityof the data collectedin homes; once objects becomedigital and connected, ourevery move can be observed andanalysed for commercial orother purposes… James Crowley isa professor at Ensimag, aschool in the Grenoble INP (Instituteof Technology)group. Atthe Inria Grenoble–Rhône- Alpesresearch centre, heleads the Prima project- team,which is working onsmart spaces, interactive environmentswith perception, actionand communication capabilities.He co-organised anInria Industry Meeting onenergy efficiency inMarch 2012. Inria — Annual Report 2012 28 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 28 12/09/13 10:25
  35. 35. to be used to train surgeons in developing countries to perform operations on patients suffering from cataracts, a disease that leaves millions of people blind worldwide. The prototype, currently under development, uses the Sofa interactive physical simulation platform developed by several Inria teams.The same platform is used at IHU Strasbourg, as well as to create special effects for video games. The many advantages of biotechnologies “As part of the Future Investments programme, we are also involved with the GreenStars Institute of Excellence for Carbon-FreeTechnologies,” adds Alain Viari.This institute brings together 45 industry players, SMEs, competitiveness clusters and academic players, including the Biocore project-team, to produce biofuel, Omega-3 or Omega-6, or proteins to feed animals, using microscopic algae. “Further upstream, the Ibis project-team has been working on bacteria for a long time now, with a similar aim,” he adds. As part of the Future Investments programme (and specifically the Reset project), researchers are receiving support to develop a new biotechnology approach that aims to increase production yields. Through modeling of gene expression processes, they are seeking to control this complex machinery in order to focus it on the production of molecules of interest (glycerol and propylene glycol in the demonstration programme). Another strategic field for Inria for many years has been sensor networks. “There are eight research teams working on these subjects,” explains Frédéric Desprez, Deputy Scientific Director responsible for “Networks, Systems and Services and Distributed Computing”. During the 2012 Paris Marathon, the Socrate project-team, in collaboration with HiKoB, a start-up created during Inria’s expansion in 2011, and Euromédia, a European leader in audiovisual and cinematography services, conducted another demonstration of the performance levels of its devices. Former runner and cyclist Laurent Jalabert, whose soles were fitted with autonomous wireless 20project-teams working in the field of health. 1,200people took part in the last Miccai international conference in Nice.A simulator for training surgeons in developing countries to perform cataract operations. RESEARCHMISSION 29 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 29 12/09/13 10:26
  36. 36. sensors, had his running statistics monitored in real time (stride frequency, number of steps, etc.). Other demonstrations are planned for the 2014Tour de France and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.“The prototypes are constantly being improved,” explains Frédéric Desprez. “They are getting lighter, more autonomous, and improving in terms of data transmission and energy consumption.” All of these improvements could be beneficial in other applications such as those being targeted by HiKoB: car park occupancy rates, measuring road traffic, environmental performance, energy performance, etc. An increasing amount of data to process A lot of research is being done on distributed systems and in particularly the Internet, a gigantic communication infrastructure whose use has changed in radical and unexpected ways in recent years, with a proliferation of user-generated content and explosive growth in social networks. It is in this context that Anne-Marie Kermarrec, head of the Asap project-team, has received a new type of ERC grant, a “Proof of concept” grant, to create a start-up (named Allyours) and confirm her research results in an industrial context.These results were achieved, in part, thanks to a previous ERC grant awarded in 2008 (Gossple). Her work should make it possible to personalise Caramel project-team • INRIA NANCY–GRAND EST RESEARCH CENTRE • algorithm around, the Number Field Sieve, a complex algorithm from both a mathematical and a computer science point of view, invented in 1993, explains the researcher. We are developing it in order to improve it. We are coding it and distributing it in full as free software.” Its efficiency, together with the improvements made in computer technology, suggest that 1,024-bit keys will be broken by 2020 (the keys used for our bank cards, which are subject to constraints in terms of resources and energy, currently contain 960 to 1,152 bits). All this work constitutes valuable progress in the field of integer factorisation, which can be useful in a wide range of arithmetic applications. “Cryptography is one of our favourite fields of application,”explains Pierrick Gaudry, head of the Caramel project-team. “One reason is that the security of RSA keys, one of the most common ‘public-key cryptography’ systems (used for bank cards and e-commerce) is based on integer factorisation, one of our main fields of study over the last six years.”Since 1991, RSA has set researchers the challenge of cracking its protection systems to see how vulnerable they are. At the end of 2009, after two years of calculations, the Caramel team and its Swiss, Japanese and Dutch partners (EPFL, NTT, CWI) cracked a 768-bit RSA key (a 232-digit number) of the size used to protect our bank cards until the mid-2000s. They are now trying their hand at cracking a 896-bit key with EPFL. “We are using the best factorisation Painstaking analysis of cryptography systems Passionate about arithmetic.The Caramel project-team (Inria Nancy – Grand Est) comprises a dozen researchers, PhD students and post- docs.They are interested in all the algorithms that allow us to calculate efficiently with integers, real numbers, complex numbers, polynomials, algebraic curves, etc., and their programming.Their main field of application is public-key cryptography. •The researchers are also designing new cryptography systems, including systems based on elliptical curves and their variants. RESEARCHMISSION Inria — Annual Report 2012 30 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 30 12/09/13 10:26
  37. 37. COUNTER POINT• Research, digital technology and design: a vital blend How do you see the role of interaction design? J.-L. F.: I usually say that design is the link between technology and human beings. It provides meaning, poetry, desirability. It is the bridge between science and art, between technology and emotion, which are too often seen as opposites. It is a way of reflecting desires, be they tacit or expressed, understanding usage practices and revealing potential. What is its place in digital technology? J.-L. F.: Our era is as important and innovative as the start of the 20th century. The age of conventional computer science, which used the computer as a tool, is now over. We have entered the digital era, and there is so much to be done in this field. Digital technology is bringing about a technological and societal revolution, opening the way for new industries, new usage practices, and new relationships with objects and instruments that are not necessarily tangible physical items. Software is going to change the world: that is an enormous creative challenge. What do you have in common with the researchers? J.-L. F.: What researchers and designers have in common is curiosity, a quest for the new and a desire to understand. We like to come up with questions, plough new furrows, take risks… We are driven by our dreams, by our desire to invent, to create something that does not yet exist. Is there a place for poetry in the digital world? J.-L. F.: In Pascal’s time, scientists were also poets or philosophers. That disappeared with the advent of specialisation and the system of selective elite engineering schools which direct students into different fields according to their academic performance. It is rare for people to be able to pursue their first love... Along with art and philosophy, science is one of the fundamental components of a society, a key part of what makes us human. The key is interdisciplinarity. This is not something that can be imposed, but it is possible to create conditions in which it can develop: in some laboratories, for example, researchers, engineers, sociologists, anthropologists and designers work together with their very different but complementary visions of the world. When I see porosity between science and society, I applaud it. Jean-Louis Frechin isan interaction designer. Trainedat the Paris- Villeminarchitecture schooland the École NationaleSupérieure deCréation Industrielle, heruns the NoDesign agency,which is interested inthe new relationships emergingbetween human beingsand the new objects ofour time, as well as digitalcities and new interfaces. 31 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 31 12/09/13 10:26
  38. 38. Web searches (with user permission) to suit the characteristics, tastes and profile of users, in a decentralised and extensible way, using a search engine that can be installed on computers or servers.The goal is to gain in precision while protecting privacy. Another field in which huge volumes of data must be handled is supercomputers.The challenge is to take advantage of multi-core processors to get them working in parallel in optimum fashion. An example is the Damaris software program developed by the Kerdata project-team, which can be used to reduce the number of files created by a factor of 16 and overall data size by a factor of 6.The results have been validated on three supercomputers, includingTitan, the most powerful in the world, in early 2013, after experimentation on the French Grid’5000 platform, which comprises over 8,000 cores spanning nine sites). David Margery,Technical Director since 2007, has made a considerable contribution to the development of this tool, which is unique in the world. The engineer won the Inria Award for Research and Innovation Support in 2012. “Once again, the next step is to work with very large data volumes,” adds Stéphane Ubeda, Director ofTechnological Development, “be it in medicine orWeb semantics, with new data storage and processing spaces.” Interoperable architectures Some of the platform’s applications could be used to boost the performance of the StarPU software designed by the Runtime project-team, which reached maturity in 2012 after four years of development. StarPU allows optimum use to be made of multi-core machines operating in parallel through intelligent scheduling of data transfers between processors and accelerators via a shared virtual memory. In 2012, the software was incorporated in the digital scientific modeling libraries of the American laboratory ICL (Innovative Computing Laboratory) at the University ofTennessee, a benchmark in the field for multi-core architectures. Real recognition. “Just as Grid’5000 was created by making multiple machines located in different parts of the country interoperable, a vast virtual reality 8Inria project-teams working on sensor networks. Another field in which huge volumes of data must be handled is supercomputers. RESEARCHMISSION 32 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 32 12/09/13 10:26
  39. 39. platform could come into being in a few years’ time,” predicts Stéphane Ubeda. It was with this in mind that the technology development action (TDA)* VCore, was set up.The aim of this action is to make the different virtual reality software programs developed in various parts of the Institute interoperable, in conjunction with the virtual reality platforms at Grenoble, Sophia Antipolis and Rennes.This work is being done in cooperation with the Fraunhofer centre in Darmstadt, Germany. In the same vein, the Inria Project Lab** C2S@exa brings together a dozen teams seeking to make the different software programs developed for high- performance computing interoperable, in order to address two challenges facing scientific computing, the first concerning the simulation of nuclear fusion and the other the burial of radioactive waste. Partnerships: central to the organisation of our research All these successes owe a great deal to the Institute’s original organisational structure, with, for instance, Heads of Science for each centre: researchers who provide scientific leadership for their centre in addition to their research work. “We are appointed for four years,” explains Stéphane Ducasse, Head of Science at the Lille–Nord Europe centre. “At the level of the centre, we have to lead Cordelia Schmid • INRIA SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST • INRIA GRENOBLE – RHÔNE-ALPES CENTRE • bases using methods with little supervision, i.e. with less and less human intervention. This is the subject of the ERC Advanced Grant for Allegro (active large-scale learning for visual recognition), the aim of which is autonomous learning of visual concepts using the enormous quantity of data available on the Net. The idea is to use the additional data associated with these images and videos, such as written annotations, oral comments and scripts, to avoid having to go through the arduous and potentially incomplete approach of current supervised learning methods. The difficulty will be in achieving robustness in the face of the heterogeneity, relative inconsistency and highly variable quality of the information available,” explains Cordelia Schmid. The challenge of computer vision Cordelia Schmid is an Inria researcher working in the field of computer vision, and more specifically visual recognition combining invariable image descriptors and learning methods. Her research enables a computer to learn to interpret any kind of real image or video, recognise objects, actions and places, and index large image and video bases (containing over 100 million items). She is also a pioneer and a world leader in modern visual recognition methods. In 2012, Cordelia Schmid received the prestigious IEEE Fellow status, as well as an ERC Advanced Grant. “The next challenge is indexing increasingly large image and video In the vanguard of visual recognition. After obtaining a PhD from the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble (INPG) in 1996, Cordelia Schmid pursued post-doctoral research in Oxford with the Robotics Research Group. She has been a researcher at the Inria Grenoble–Rhône-Alpes centre since 1997. • In 2003, she created the Lear project-team, for which she is responsible. Appointed an Inria senior research scientist in 2004, she was made an IEEE Fellow and awarded an ERC grant in 2012. RESEARCHMISSION 33 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 33 12/09/13 10:26
  40. 40. The solitude of the researcher: myth or reality? Is solitude necessary for a researcher? F. C.: Research is a fundamentally creative activity. Like an artist, a researcher needs solitude to create. They must not, however, be cut off from the world, as they need inspiration. They find this around them, both in their exchanges with colleagues and outside of work. But there comes a time when they must be alone in order to process information, order their thoughts and make progress. This phase requires quiet and distance. So this period of solitude is not permanent... F. C.: No, it’s not a question of being shut away on your own for months on end! You just have to mix it up and make sure that you make time for short, but intense, moments of isolation. This is sometimes difficult these days, when there are constant demands on your time that can be detrimental to your concentration. Doing everything in a hurry, which has become the normal modus operandi of many organisations, is not compatible with the long-term nature of research… Doesn’t exchanging with others drive science forward? F. C.: It is fundamental. We are part of a history, a continuum. We cannot ignore what was done before us, or what is being done around us. Wefeed off each other through conferences, publications, study groups, work meetings and other encounters. Furthermore, we work on a global scale, with researchers from the world over. As part of the Inria Project Lab Regate, which brings together several teams from Inria, Inra and universities, I am involved in interdisciplinary work conducted within a network comprising many different fields and institutions, at the intersection of several communities, each with its own language. We form a virtual entity that is able to overcome barriers. The scientific issues we study are our binding agent, our cement. What place do human relationships have? F. C.: In this process of buildingsomething together, relationships between individuals are fundamental. More generally, the human dimension is very important in research, because you are passionate about your projects and you invest a lot of yourself in them, and you need to get on well with your colleagues to work well with them. This is particularly true when it comes to interdisciplinary work, which is all about learning about “otherness”. Frédérique Clément is a researcher in Inria’s Sisyphe project-team and head of the Inria Project Lab** Regate. She works on mathematical models designed to understand biological phenomena. 34 COUNTER POINT• Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 34 12/09/13 10:26
  41. 41. the scientific team and to coordinate the reflections on the priorities of research. We also represent our centre in the regional authorities (universities, clusters) and in the national committees of Inria, in particular the evaluation committee*** where we participate in the creation, the follow-up and the evaluation of the project-teams, as well as in the recruitment and the evaluation of the researchers”. “Research in partnership with others is something we do on a daily basis,” confirms Pascal Guitton. “Three quarters of our 181 project-teams are affiliated with universities, engineering schools and other research institutes, to which we have been communicating assessment information for several years now. In 2012, we also signed a partnership agreement with the CDEFI (Conference of the Heads of French Engineering Schools).”There are international partnerships too, such as those with SiliconValley (California), where 18 associate teams are working. Christine Morin, head of the Myriads project-team, conducts her research there, representing the Institute as Malik Ghallab did before her, in order to promote collaborations with the universities of Stanford and Berkeley and the LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). Furthermore, an agreement has been signed between one centre, Nancy–Grand Est, and the Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik in Saarbrücken, Germany. This agreement officially creates a joint team (VeriDis) comprising four permanent members in Nancy and two in Saarbrücken, who have already been working together for some time.There is no shortage of ideas for new partnerships. 181Inria project-teams. 18associate teams working with Silicon Valley (California). Each year, Inria provides activity reports of its teams on the website *Cross-disciplinary collaborative projects enabling researchers to propose ambitious programmes for the development, integration and sustainability of software prototypes. Fifteen or so actions of this type are selected each year. **The“Inria Project Labs” (the new name for“large-scale actions”) establish collaborations between several project-teams, and potentially with other academic teams (French or European), with the objective of working together to achieve scientific or technological breakthroughs via clearly defined joint research projects. *** see p. 75 RESEARCHMISSION 35 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_26-35_BAT.indd 35 12/09/13 10:27
  42. 42. I nriais beginning totakestock ofits activities financedunder the 7th European Framework Programme (FP7) and is preparing to undertake other big projects as part of the next European programme, Horizon 2020, which has a strong focus on societal challenges. Inria is also continuing to build structured international collaborations on unifying themes, and consolidating its collaborations in Chile through a foundation devoted to ambitious research and technology transfer projects. “With the end of FP7 just a year away, it is now possible to make an initial assessment of Inria’s involvement in the European programmes,”says Thierry Priol, Director of European Partnerships. “With 201 projects financed today, as against 120 under the previous framework programme, we can already qualify Inria’s involvement in FP7 as a success.”Inria is primarily involved in cooperative projects, taking part in 66 projects that tackle technological challenges and 21 related to societal challenges in fields of application such as energy and healthcare. It can also boast a high success rate when it comes to European Research Council (ERC) grants: with 33 grant holders, Inria is the leading recipient of ERC funding in the field of computer science. In 2012, ten members of Inria staff were awarded grants, and two previous recipients were given a new kind of additional funding in the form of a “Proof of Concept” (POC) grantto develop the results of their research. “With47.6 million and 47.2 millioneuros respectively, cooperative projects and ERC grants account for the majority of the 104.5 million euros of funding received from the European Commission thus far,” underlines Thierry Priol. Sustained participation in EIT ICT Labs Inria also contributes actively to the European knowledge and innovation community EIT ICT Labs, created in late 2009. This year, researchers from the Institute took part in 24 activities, mostly addressing cloud computing, the Internet, privacy and security but also associated with a range of fields of application including smart spaces, the cities of the future and healthcare. In this last field of application, the Lira cooperation agreement with Philips Research, the Fraunhofer Institute and the CWI (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica), all of them partners in EIT ICT Labs, provides an excellent Strengthened partnershipsinEurope and worldwide PARTNERSHIPS CONTRIBUTORS Thierry Priol, Director of European Partnerships Hélène Kirchner, Director of International Relations Claude Puech, Director of the Inria Chile Foundation and Executive Director of Ciric (Communication and Information Research and Innovation Centre) PARTNERSHIPSMISSION 36 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 36 12/09/13 10:29
  43. 43. Franck Cappello • JOINT DIRECTOR OF THE LABORATORY FOR PETASCALE COMPUTING (JLPC), AN INRIA INTERNATIONAL LAB* WITH THE NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SUPERCOMPUTING APPLICATIONS (NCSA) AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS • springboard for launching new activities. “EIT ICT Labs provides up to 25% of the funding for the project to assist with a technology transfer, establish a start-up or file patents while also offering an opportunity to work with the rest of Europe, explains Thierry Priol. The case of Anne-Marie Kermarrec is a fine illustration of how this tool can support the process of developing real-world applications for extremely avant-garde research.” The researcher has obtained a POC grant for a start-up creation project designed to develop the results of her ERC project Gossple on an affinity search system for search engines. Additional funding from EIT ICT Labs will allow her to experiment with the implementation of this system on mobile platforms and collect market data. Fresh impetus for partnerships in Chile The International Relations Department set up the Inria Chile Foundation in Santiago this year to develop the Institute’s activities in Chile. The Foundation is home to the Ciric programme (Communication and Information Research and Innovation Centre),selected by the Chilean government in 2011 as part of its call for proposals to create centres of excellence to foster innovationin sectors critical to the country’s economy. At the end of 2012, the Foundation had a workforce of around thirty people, including around twenty engineers developing prototypes and a supervisory team focusing Curiemachine. FTI is also the subject of a European prototype as part of Prace. The JLPC also enhanced its profile through contributions to international projects, including the G8 Exascale project, which aims to adapt climate simulation software to exascale computers. Franck Cappello attributes this success to the joint laboratory set-up, which allows in-depth work over a long period, as well as a combination of complementary approaches. “For Inria, the JLPC offers a wealth of research possibilities, as well as the opportunity to test prototypes or ideas on the biggest academic machine around. The American researchers,for their part, appreciate our theoretical expertise on algorithms,” the researcher adds. Given the large workforce required to create all the software necessary for the operation of exascale machines, the need to adopt an international approach is gradually being recognised. In this context, the JLPC serves asa sort of prototype and is attracting interest from a growing number of countries. An exemplary collaboration The JLPC (Joint Laboratory for Petascale Computing) has proved to be extremely active and productive. “In four years, the laboratory has welcomed a dozen researchers and students a year and produced 34 publications and six software programs that are currently being transferred, three of which are already in use on Blue Waters, the most powerful computer in the academic world at the present time,”says a delighted Franck Cappello. This year, for example, Helo log analysis software was implemented on Blue Waters, while the FTI fault tolerance technology was transferred to French supercomputing operator Genci’s Franck Cappello was already a seasoned researcher when he joined Inria in 2003 and took charge of the Grid’5000 computing grid. • In 2007, he got together with Marc Snir from Urbana-Champaign to study the possibility of a joint laboratory to develop the software vital to the operation of the Blue Waters supercomputer. • In 2009 the JLPC was born. PARTNERSHIPSMISSION 37 Inria — Annual Report 2012 * Inria International Labs coordinate Inria activities in a given region of the world and bring together the Institute’s teams with those of one or several foreign academic partners. RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 37 12/09/13 10:29
  44. 44. ontechnology transfer activities. This development work is closely linked to the world of research and the teams are in constant dialogue with the business world. “We are starting to collaborate in a new, less academic way with foreign partners. This original new approach is being watched with interest by our French and foreign partners, as well as by the ministries to which we report,” notes Claude Puech, the Foundation’s Director. Two of Ciric’s research subjects are linked to issues with a high impact in Chile: energy, demand for which is increasing with economic growth of 4 to 6% per year, and natural resources, especially water treatment. “These fields offer very interesting research subjects, connected with issues such as the optimisation of electricity distribution, which in Chile is characterised by a wide variety of production methods and multiple independent distribution networks,” explains Claude Puech. Mireille Bossy (Tosca project-team), for example, is leading a small team that is developing modeling and simulation software for wind farms. Today, the Inria Chile Foundation is starting to become known and is being contacted directly by Chilean businesses for assistance, including in fields that are not common in Chile. It also provides a point of entry for French companies wishing to develop their activities in Chile. Discussions have, for instance, been held with Artelys, an SME specialising in optimisation for energy systems and the environment, an active contributor to the Systematic competitiveness cluster and a partner of Inria in the Inria Innovation Lab Metis (a joint laboratory associating a project- team with an SME). This laboratory, which is led by Olivier Teytaud of the Tao project-team, aims to develop a digital optimisation platform for managing large systems in an uncertain environment. Inria Chile is also home to other projects, such as a collaborative project with the international consortium Alma (see inset, p. 39), and is working to foster mobility. “We have negotiated a programme with the Chilean funding agency Conicyt, which is a Chilean equivalent of Inria’s associate teams, as well as funding that will allow engineering students at the end of their studies to work within Inria teams for two to three months in order to raise their awareness of the realities of the research world.” In 2012, it was decided that six engineersout of the 50 selected by Conicyt togo abroad would spend the firstthree monthsof 2013 in an Inria team. Verypositiveresultsforthe JLPC More academic in nature, the JLPC, an Inria International Lab with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has proved its value in developing software capable of functioning on the world’s largest academic computer, Blue Waters (see inset, p. 37).The laboratory also began collaborating with the Argonne 204projects funded by FP7, including: 129cooperative projects, 33ERC (European Research Council) grants, 23Marie-Curie projects, 12Capacity projects to fund infrastructures, 7public–private partnerships. PARTNERSHIPSMISSION 38 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 38 12/09/13 10:29
  45. 45. National Laboratory, part of the US Department of Energy, this year. “Less than a year before the scheduled end of the JLPC, the success of the initiative andthe international collaborationsset up with Europe and Japan, in particular, suggest that a new international laboratory will be proposed with these partners after December 2013, or even opened up to new international partners,” argues Hélène Kirchner, Director of International Relations. Restructuring collaborative projects to raise their profile For the last two years, Inria has also sought to establish structured collaborations between Inria researchers and American researchersas part of the Inria@SiliconValley project, launched in 2010 and led since early 2012 by Christine Morin, head of the Myriads project-team. The dynamic that has been created is attracting the interest of a growing number of researchers. The programme involved 18 associate teams in 2012 and has 21 in 2013.“The subjects covered by the teams are varied, but we hope to bring several teams together to work on the subject of smart cities and thus raise the profile of these collaborative efforts,” explains Hélène Kirchner. This year also saw Inria launch a programme in Brazil in conjunction with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Entitled “Hoscar”, this programme focuses on high-performance Emmanuel Pietriga • HEAD OF MASSIVE DATA AT INRIA CHILE AND MANAGER OF THE PARTNERSHIP WITH ALMA • and astronomers to do their job,” explains the researcher. Now working on site, he can interact with users constantly and test his software directly on the radio-telescope equipment. “The collaboration has proved very fruitful, as the operators and astronomers have a good knowledge of programming, which makes our exchanges much easier,” he stresses. The control room interface has been gradually put in place since Alma was inaugurated in March 2013. The success of this project has led to Emmanuel Pietriga being called upon to develop other interfaces, such as a dashboard allowing detailed monitoring of the use of the telescope, which was started in late 2012. “These applications use a lot of software components that are ‘made in Inria’. It is very satisfying to know that they are being used in this prestigious international project!” Control room interfaces “made in Inria” Alma, the world’s largest radio- telescope, which was built in Chile, is infinitely more complex than its predecessors. Monitoring the 66 antennas that scrutinise the sky and interpreting the plethora of data collected in real time pose problems that have not been met before. Alma’s astronomers have called upon Emmanuel Pietriga to design and develop the control room interfaces for the telescope. “Our collaboration began in 2009 with expert advice on visualisation, butit was strengthened considerably in 2010, as it became apparent that the human–machine interfaces required profound modifications if they were to enable the operators A graduate of the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble, Emmanuel Pietriga was recruited by the In-situ project-team in Saclay in 2004. He works on the development of innovative interfaces that can be used to handle large quantities of data. But the researcher has another passion: astronomy. • His contribution to the Alma project allows him to combine his two loves, while providing an international showcase for the software designed by his team. PARTNERSHIPSMISSION 39 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 39 12/09/13 10:29
  46. 46. Inria — Annual Report 2012 40 Private and public research: working together to drive research forward What role does R&D have in a business like EDF? C. W.-R.: Our primary objective istohelpimprovetheperformance of our operational units, identify and develop medium and long-term growth drivers and anticipate the major challengesand issues the group will face in the global energy context. We work for the company’s different businesslines, i.e. electricity production, distribution and marketing. Our R&D takes place at the crossroads betweenindustry and academia. We are constantly paying attention to what is being done in the research world, so that we can identify avenues for improvement and spot potentially revolutionary technologies as early as possible, a recent example being smart grids, which are very important for EDF. But you don’t just sit back and observe… C. W.-R.: No, we work with a number of institutions, be it through framework agreements, as is the case withInria,orthroughpartnerships with universities andgrandes écoles, French or European programmesor joint laboratories, where teams get together to work on a project. These are collaborations based onmutualinterestandthepooling of resources. The idea is to move forward together. Compatible visions are what make a partnership work. It is all about a relationship of trust. It is important for people to know and like each other. Isit a mutually beneficial relationship? C.W.-R.:In R&D, we sometimes comeup against obstacles –in modeling or algorithms, forexample – and we turn tothe academic world to help usovercome these obstacles. Theproblems that we refer tothem often raise questions thatareofinteresttoresearchers, andthestudyofsomehigh-tech subjectscan pave the way fornew approaches. Nevertheless,there are still somebarriers to be removed, asthetwoworldsareoftenseen tobeinoppositiontoeachother. Weneed to develop joint programmes.There are mechanismsfor hosting researchersin businesses, butit is rare for people from businessto be welcomed intothe world of research inthe same way. Claire Waast-Richard isDirector of Information Systemsand Technologies atEDF R&D. She leads R&D programmeson information technologiesfor EDF’s businesslines. As part of theprojects she supervises, shesets up partnerships withvarious research organisations,including Inria,and monitors veryclosely the work ofcomputational science laboratories. Inria — Annual Report 2012 COUNTER POINT• RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 40 12/09/13 10:29
  47. 47. computing and the management of high volumes of scientific data in the medical and environmental fields. “This programme provides an opportunity to work with Brazilian partners to extend the impact of the Project Lab CS2@Exa (see p. 33), led by Stéphane Lanteri, who is also responsible for Inria’s contribution to the Hoscar programme.” Consolidating and expanding partnerships in Asia On the other side of the globe, this year saw Inria celebrate the 15th anniversary of Liama, the Inria International Lab working in cooperation with China. The lab is now home to 11 joint research projects, the most recent of which was set up with the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) to develop software suitable for multi-core architectures. “Through this collaboration, our researchers have the opportunity to apply their expertise in error-tolerant accelerators by accessing the resources and knowledge necessary to develop complete circuits and heterogeneous architectures,” explains Hélène Kirchner. With its French partners, the Institute has also invested in India and Japan, by taking part in the French National Centre for Scientific Research’s international joint research units and through joint responses to calls for tender. In Taiwan, the project proposed by Inria, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Pierre and Marie Curie University and the National University of Taiwan on intelligent robotics and automation was selected by Taiwan’s National Science Council for the period 2012–2016. “This is an opportunity to open the Inria Project Lab PAL (robotics for personalised assistance) up to foreign partners,” concludes Hélène Kirchner. 36people, including 28 engineers, make up the staff of the Inria Chile Foundation, with whom 80 researchers are associated. Inria — Annual Report 2012 41 PARTNERSHIPSMISSION RAIN012_UK_36-41_BAT.indd 41 12/09/13 10:29
  48. 48. I n 2012, Inria consolidated its strategy, which prioritises direct bilateral relations in industrial partnerships, and technology transfer by and to SMEs, whether they exist already or are created for the purpose (spin-offs). Inria’s technology transfer strategy is essentially built on two pillars: firstly, industrial research partnerships, which involve research work by several teams, and secondly, the transfer of technologies, software prototypes or patents to businesses.“Technology transfer results in the integration of our research results in businesses’ products or services,” explains David Monteau from the Technology Transfer and Innovation Department. The importance of Carnot certification for research partnerships Having received Institut Carnot certification in 2010 for a renewable period of 5 years, Inria has adopted one of the Carnot priorities as its own: namely the implementation of bilateral partnerships. It receives a contribution from the State based on the volume of contracts it signs with businesses. “It is a good tool for Inria, which chimes with our partnership policy,” confirms David Monteau, who underlines the fact that, as well as providing additional resources and recognition of the Institute’s know-how, certification also extends the Institute’s network. “SMEs are our priority for technology transfer and our objective as part of the Institut Carnot is very ambitious,” he says, adding that by 2015, the challenge will be to increase the total volume of direct contracts by 60% and the volume of contracts specifically concerning SMEs by 100%. The Institute prioritises the development of partnerships between an Inria research team and an SME, known as Inria Innovation Labs. Psatt: a programme to drive technology transfer The technology transfer action monitoring programme (Psatt) is the key component of the technology transfer system. “It enables a researcher or a team that wishes to conduct a technology transfer project to receive support from experts. Specifically, it is the members of the Inria technology transfer action monitoring committee (Csatt) – people with recognised An ambitious technology transfer strategy TRANSFER CONTRIBUTORS David Monteau, Acting Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation Philippe Broun, Technology Transfer and Partnerships Officer, Inria Grenoble – Rhône-Alpes centre Agnès Guerraz, Head of the Technology Transfer Action Monitoring Programme 42 Inria — Annual Report 2012 TRANSFERMISSION RAIN012_UK_42-47_BAT.indd 42 12/09/13 10:31
  49. 49. Mark Loriot • CEO OF DISTENE, PARTNER OF THE INRIA GAMMA 3 PROJECT-TEAM IN AN INRIA INNOVATION LAB • experience in technology transfer and innovation in software, most of them from outside of the Institute – who provide advice on how to manage the projects,” says Agnès Guerraz, national manager of the programme. The committee is chaired by Inria’s Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, and led by the head of the Psatt; Inria’s Director of Technological Development or the latter’s representative, is also a member. The committee is made up of the following external experts: • Sophie Cluet, Head of Research and Technology at Pierre and Marie Curie University; • François Cuny, Managing Director of the Systematic competitiveness cluster; • Jean-Christophe Gougeon, Technology Transfer Associate for software technologies, Expertise and Innovation Development Department, Oséo; • Laurent Kott, Chairman of the Board of Directors of IT-Translation; • Nicolas Landrin, Managing Partner, iSource Gestion SA; • Hervé Lebret, Head of Innogrants for start-up, Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. In 2012, 26 new projects were initiated, embarking upon a process of maturation (choice of team, partners, market, etc.) with a view to technology transfer. What are the benefits of this collaboration? M. L.: It really speeds up the company’s progress. It allows us to work together on clearly defined subjects that are also of interest to the research world. It is a mutual commitment that allows us, in turn, to make our own commitment to major prospective clients who are looking for functionalities that require considerable research efforts. Purely from a marketing point of view, the partnership lends us credibility, both in France and abroad. Thanks to the joint lab system, which puts SMEs at the heart of innovation, Distene has seen an 18% increase in its business in the area concerned by the lab, and a 10% increase in its overall business. What prospects do you see for the lab? M. L.: Our aim is to continue on the same path, knowing that a mesh product takes five to ten years to develop and that some of the products developed as part of this partnership have not yet reached the required level of maturity. A win-win collaboration How did your collaboration with the Inria Gamma 3 team come about? M. L.: This relationship with Inria is a historic one, since Distene is a spin-off of Simulog, the first ever Inria subsidiary, created in 1984. Disteneisasoftwarefirmspecialising inmeshcomponentsforscientific computing,and we sell technologies, some of them developed by Inria. Furthermore, since innovation is essentially achieved through academic partnerships, we have been working with Inria for many years, particularly with the Gamma 3 team,a collaboration which has now beenformalised with the creation ofanInriaInnovationLab,alaboratory shared with Distene. From R&D to entrepreneurship: a complete career • Equipped with a DESS (post-graduate diploma) in applied mathematics, Mark Loriot started his career as an R&D researcher at Inria subsidiary Simulog. He then took the reins of Simulog Technologies (a subsidiary of Simulog), before buying the company in 2004 with Laurent Anne to form a new company, Distene. With 12 staff members, Distene generates annual revenues of 2 million euros and is achieving steady growth in a niche market in which it is aiming to establish a lasting presence. 43 Inria — Annual Report 2012 TRANSFERMISSION RAIN012_UK_42-47_BAT.indd 43 12/09/13 10:31
  50. 50. Combining research and development in business In what circumstances was the Inria Innovation Lab Siwa created? X. P.: The partnership with Mauna Kea Technologies started several years ago with two successive joint Cifre theses. This work enabled us to demonstrate the technical feasibility of a rapid panoramic reconstruction and content- based image search solution for use in confocal miniprobe endomicroscopy. However, that did not mean that we were able to develop a marketable product quickly. Since then, our approach has matured and we have found an avenue to explore to develop this technology and integrate it in a product. As that required additional research, we created a joint structure. So you are involved in an industrial project... X. P.: We provide support and guidance. Inria has a technology transfer mission, but the industrial project is led by the SME. Our objectives are different: a company like Mauna Kea Technologies has to produce products or services that sell, whereas the task of a researcher is to synthesise knowledge. Thepoint of this laboratory is to build on the work done upstream and to work on subjects directly with industry and users, while continuing to pursue research. The technical problems we encounter lead us towards broader, more abstract scientific challenges, which offerus new avenues to explore. All that helps my research; Ifindit difficultto make progress on a theoretical issue if I don’t have any concrete application in mind. What are the constraints of this kind of collaboration? X. P.: The business has to stick to a design and production schedule, which sometimes forces us to adopt operational solutions while leaving some avenues aside to be studied elsewhere. We work on both aspects in parallel. In our case, the tasks were well divided from the start: thecollaboration is all the more balanced for the fact that Mauna Kea Technologies was founded by former researchers who know our culture inside-out. This is not always the case, but the role of public research is to bolster innovation, not to provide turnkey solutions… Xavier Pennec isaseniorresearchscientistat Inria.Heworksontheanalysis ofmedicalimagesaspart oftheAsclepiosproject-team. HecreatedtheInriaInnovation LabSiwainpartnership withtheSMEMaunaKea Technologies,whichsells anendomicroscopysolution forgeneratingopticalbiopsies. COUNTER POINT• Inria — Annual Report 2012 44 RAIN012_UK_42-47_BAT.indd 44 12/09/13 10:31