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Equipex Lille

Françoise Breton - 6/03/2012

Inria Lille is taking part in three Equipex projects

Named FIT, iDive, and Ligan, all three of these facilities-of-the-future projects (“Equipex”, for “Equipements d’Excellence” ), selected from over 600 proposals through the two calls for projects, are involving all researchers at Inria Lille to various degrees. For the teams, recognition and new opportunities are guaranteed.

FUN is preparing the Internet of the future

Five Inria teams, including Fun in Lille, are partners of the FIT (Future Internet of Things) Equipex that will make it possible to carry out very large scale testing on the future Internet technologies, which are largely based on mobile communicating objects embedded in vehicles, parcels, industrial equipment, clothing, etc. A real breakthrough. FIT will bring together three research platforms, two existing ones to which Inria contributed (PlanetLab, a network of computers set up in 2003 to test services on the Internet, and SensLab, which, since mid-2010 has enabled sensor networks to be tested), and a “radio-cognitive” third platform that will be set up to test radio propagation between mobile communicating objects. This represents overall funding of €3.7 million for Inria over a period of nine years out of the €5.8 million earmarked for the Equipex through the French government’s 'Future investments' programme.

The FIT national network will ultimately involve over 300 computers, thousands of sensors of various power levels, and hundreds of robots. With access being unrestricted and free of charge, it will enable a large number of users, be they researchers or users from industry, to test technologies and applications of future products. “Setting up such a platform is a genuine technological challenge, in particular in terms of making these dispersed tools compatible and enabling the resources to be reserved by the various users through a unified access system," explains Nathalie Mitton, in charge of the Fun team. “In this respect, SensLab, which is already a network of four platforms, constitutes valuable experience.” Indeed, SensLab is used by 174 users from 26 different countries, mostly French researchers but also American and German researchers, and around ten industrial users, such as Orange, Atos, Thales, and Alcatel Lucent, as well as a range of SMEs and startups.

This opens up new research & development opportunities, for instance in the fields of robots, radio, and home automation.

By joining FIT to form the Embedded Communicating Object (ECO) part of the project, SensLab is changing scale: the sensor platforms of Grenoble, Lille, and Strasbourg will be extended and connected to two new platforms set up by the HiperCom team in Paris and by Institut Télécom. Ultimately, ECO will bring together 2300 sensors (half of which are already installed in SensLab), and over 300 robots, some of which will foreshadow robots for exploring sites impossible for humans to access, such as nuclear sites, volcanoes, etc. Resources of this scale make it possible to do experiments under real service conditions on algorithms for communications and for self-organisation between sensors that the researchers have developed and tested previously under simulation conditions. Europe is expecting a great deal from these experiments and is participating in funding for FIT. “FIT is a genuine follow-on from SensLab,” says Nathalie Mitton, in conclusion. "By pooling new resources and new know-how in this way, our work will be more visible and will assuredly interest new users."

Laurent Grisoni, head of the Mint project team, partner of the iDive Equipex

« It took about one year to set up this project for a technological platform bringing together over 50 researchers. Its funding (€3.6 million) is a strong political encouragement to forging closer ties between digital technologies and human and social sciences, in particular art and science. The platform will make it possible to study how artists and the public use and interact with digital images, with the feature of being a multi-disciplinary platform: psychologists, artists and art historians will re-appropriate technologies such as touch-sensitive screens so as to study how they interact with digital visual content, around what is known as "Visual Studies”. This is taking the Mint developments on to new gesture-based interaction systems. From the outset, Mint has been working in a spirit of partnership in its fields of application. iDive should bring us new contacts and some fine scientific problems to study with a unique facility that is to be located in Tourcoing: a unique high-visual-density virtual reality room, and a large-size touch-sensitive and gesture-based interaction wall. »

Hélène Touzet, Bonsai project team leader, supporting the Ligan Equipex for any problems of analysis of sequencing data.

 « The funding for Ligan (€8 million) will make it possible to install latest-generation high-throughput sequencers on the Lille sequencing platform, thereby speeding up research into multifactorial diseases having genetic components such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or certain cancers. Our team, who are specialised in developing algorithms for analysing genomes and biological sequences, could, for example, help develop new software, supplementing the existing standard software. We will be there whenever we are needed, ready to offer our methodological skills. This might also open up scientific opportunities to us, with applications specific to the human genome. »

Keywords: Equipex Ligan Fit IDive Centre de recherche Inria Lille - Nord Europe