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Research field

Scientific challenges and priority research fields

The research teams at Inria Nancy – Grand Est focus on four scientific challenges divided in three research fields. 

The four scientific priorities of Inria Nancy - Grand Est centre  

  • Impact of IT security issues on our daily lives   

IT security issues weigh on whole areas of daily life. In particular, we wish to get involved in the underlying IT challenges behind two of them. The first is security in large-scale decentralised applications, typically peer-to-peer social networks or collaborative editing applications. In order to prevent the potential threat to privacy of data centralisation in the hands of one single body, we want to work on the emergence of distributed networks where each user will be able to decide on the people they wish to share their data with. The second area is electronic voting, where the challenge is to provide solutions that satisfy the numerous conditions necessary in order that voters can trust the result of the vote: an entire process that can be audited, definition and rigorous and comprehensive verification of voting protocols. 

Concerns these teams in particular: Coast, Caramba, Carte, Pesto, Madynes  

  • Images, robotics and instrumentation for health and assistance with dependency  

Instrumentation via sensors or cameras makes it possible to assist with surgical acts, or to make the environment of the patient or dependent person "smart". Using experimental platforms (in particular the centre's smart apartment), we wish to develop our research in the field of the surveillance of, and assistance to, dependent people by combining various methods (cameras, microphones, pressure sensors, etc.) and by developing the potential of service robots. Moreover, in partnership with clinical experimentation sites (IHU Strasbourg, CHU Nancy), we wish to carry out original high-impact research to support medical and surgical acts, particularly in interventional radiology, by combining the power of digital simulation, augmented reality, virtual reality and biomechanical modelling. 

Concerns these teams in particular: Mimesis, Magrit, Larsen, Multispeech   

  • Advanced resolution in digital engineering and rapid prototyping  

The problems linked to the modelling of complex physical phenomena taking uncertainties into account, PDE solving and mesh generation are most often studied by distinct communities. We want to combine their strengths, by combining the mathematical formalisms used to discretise PDEs with dynamic data structures from digital geometry, taking a chance on the fact that this approach is likely to significantly improve the performance and precision of the digital simulation methods. We also want to study the digital issues relating to additive manufacturing processes and the control of 3D printers. Of the possible applications, we would particularly like to explore - on both a scientific and technical level - the fields of materials, oil exploration and health. 

Concerns these teams in particular: Sphinx, Tosca, Alice, Gamble   

  • Discovery and modelling of knowledge from large volumes of data  

The omnipresence of volumes of data has enabled the rise of "data science", one of whose major challenges consists in mining data in order to discover any relevant, inoffensive and also malicious content, to solve problems with regard to understanding and interpretation and, therefore, to further knowledge in this field. The mining of textual and multimedia data will, as a result, enhance knowledge bases relating to the areas of the data processed; data flow mining enables the study of behaviours and uses and, potentially, attacks and the means to counter or even anticipate them; the correlation of certain data will expose flaws in personal data protection and the risks to privacy; finally, the mining of complex structures (graphs) will improve the understanding of certain problems in the field of computer-aided drug design. The chosen applications are in the fields of health, IT security, agronomics and social well-being.  

Concerns these teams in particular: Orpailleur, Pesto, Madynes, Coast, Multispeech

Three priority fields of research 

  • Modelling and simulation of complex systems for the engineering sciences and life sciences  

The complexity and size of the systems considered in a certain number of disciplines combining different dynamics pose real challenges in terms of modelling and simulation. Research particularly focuses on systems stemming from plasma physics, 3D modelling for oil exploration, the study of interactions between biomolecules, the estimation of parameters for complex biological systems, the multi-modal modelling of biological tissues and on large digital systems.  

  • Operational safety and security of IT systems  

Whether they are software, material or hybrid, systems are exposed to threats from man, from the organisation and procedures by way of errors, system failure, but also malicious acts. Research focuses on the secure design and certification of software, protocols and services, techniques to prevent, detect and protect against attacks on network infrastructures, cryptology, the verification of algorithms and distributed systems, computer virology as well as the different impacts of IT security on our daily lives. A substantial part of the research is carried out at the High Security Computing Laboratory (LHS).  

  • Understanding and emulation of cognition and human perception mechanisms

Emulating and assisting the cognitive capacities of human beings - to perceive, reason, communicate and use information - is a major issue that implies being able to model and analyse these faculties using ever-increasing volumes of data. Research focuses in particular on the automatic processing of written and spoken natural language, augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, the emergence of properties in complex decentralised systems inspired by biological models (autonomous robotics), statistical model-based learning, data mining, large-scale collaborative data management mechanisms, distributed cortical digital computing and the semantic web.