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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
www.inria.fr
AnnualReportInria2012
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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
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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
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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
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Inria — Annual Report 2012
03
Inria — Annual Report 2012
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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
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Inria — Annual Report 2012
Inria — Rapport annuel 2011
0505
Inria — Annual Report 2012
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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
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Inria — Annual Report 2012
07
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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
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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
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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)
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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
•••
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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
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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.
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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
(Inriality.fr), 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
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57
365
DAYS
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Inria — Annual Report 2012
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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
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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
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Inria — Annual Report 2012
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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
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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
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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
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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
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CUR
COLLABO
RAIN012_UK_24-25_Rabats_BAT.indd 24 12/09/13 11:04
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
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
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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
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
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
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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
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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
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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
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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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
inria.fr
*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
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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)
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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.
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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
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.
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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.
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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
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
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
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
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
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension
Inria - 2012 Annual Report: Digital Technology, the social dimension

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

  • 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 www.inria.fr AnnualReportInria2012 RAIN012-Couvmontee7mm_BAT.indd 78 12/09/13 10:56
  • 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. 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. 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. 03 Inria — Annual Report 2012 03 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 03 12/09/13 10:16
  • 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. 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. 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
  • 9. Inria — Annual Report 2012 07 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 07 12/09/13 10:16
  • 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
  • 11. Inria — Annual Report 2012 09 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 09 12/09/13 10:16
  • 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. 11 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_0II-11_BAT.indd 11 12/09/13 10:16
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 (Inriality.fr), 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. 57 365 DAYS 17 Inria — Annual Report 2012 RAIN012_UK_17-23_BAT.indd 17 12/09/13 10:37
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 inria.fr *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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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