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European Research Council 2017


François Baccelli, winner of an ERC Advanced Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants are awarded each year to senior scientists to reward the excellence of their research work and to enable them to carry out an exploratory project over five years.

François Baccelli is the winner of one of these grants. Research director at the Inria Paris research centre and head of the Simons Center on Communication, Information and Network Mathematics at the University of Texas, he will use this funding to develop - in Paris - his work on the stochastic dynamics of large networks. 

What does your research project consist of?

My project lies at the interface between mathematics and communications engineering. It focuses on stochastic geometry, a branch of probability theory, which looks at the probability distribution of geometric objects. My aim is to develop dynamical stochastic geometry tools in order to understand the dynamics of these objects.

What are the concrete applications of your project?

The stochastic geometry tools that I developed at the Department of Computer Science at the graduate school École Normale Supérieure (DI ENS, ENS Paris/Inria/CNRS), then at the University of Texas, are already widely used in the design of cellular networks.  The dynamical version of these tools will make it possible to address major questions on these networks, but also to analyse other types of large networks, such as social networks or neural networks.

What made you want to embark on this adventure?

It was Antoine Petit, former CEO of Inria, who pushed me to apply. In all of the large networks, dynamics is vital and still misunderstood. It has become essential to develop new mathematical approaches in order to study it.

What does this grant represent for you?

It brings European recognition for my work on network analysis and provides me with the opportunity to freely develop a new line of research. 

How are you going to use this grant in concrete terms?

I will use it to recruit high-level PhD students to decipher the fundamental aspects of network dynamics within the Inria project team Dyogene, a joint team with the ENS and the CNRS.  I also intend to roll out LINCS (Laboratory of Information, Networking and Communication Sciences), a collaborative research laboratory on the networks of the future, set up by Inria, Institut Mines-Télécom, Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) and Alcatel Lucent.  I would like to develop a maximum number of partnerships in Europe and internationally, in particular with the Simons Center, which I created at the University of Texas.

The five key dates in François Baccelli's career relating to his ERC project

  • 1998: After 12 years of research on the modelling and simulation of computer systems at the Inria centre in Sophia-Antipolis, François Baccelli creates the TREC project team on the modelling and control of communication networks at the DI ENS.
  • 2001: He publishes an article on stochastic geometry tools for the study of networks based on information theory in the journalAdvances in Applied Probability. This first collaboration with Bartek Blaszczyszyn from the TREC project team is behind the project funded by the ERC.
  • 2011: He publishes an article on the modelling of cellular networks by stochastic geometry in the journalIEEE Transactions on Communications. This article, which received the IEEE Rice Prize, is, to date, one of the most cited of the IEEE journals in the field of networks.
  • 2012: The Simons Foundation awards him a Math+X Chair in order to develop his stochastic geometry tools within the framework of communication networks at the University of Texas.
  • 2014: He founds the Simons Center on Communication, Information and Network Mathematics - a multidisciplinary research centre associated with the Math+X chair.

Keywords: ERC 2017 Advanced Grant François Baccelli Inria de Paris Europe