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Computational Geometry: from geometric data to the geometry of data

Created in association between College de France and Inria, the Chair in Informatics and Computational Sciences is the culmination of a common drive to highlight the importance of this scientific discipline and the need for it to be fully recognized.

Jean-Daniel Boissonnat will give his Inaugural Lecture at Collège de France Thursday March 23rd about "Computational Geometry : from geometric data to the geometry of data"

  • Date : 23/03/2017
  • Guest(s) : Jean-Daniel Boissonnat

Interview by Mathieu Oricelli

How do you prepare for giving a lecture course at the Collège de France?

A lecture course at the Collège de France comprises three parts. The inaugural lecture will take place on 23 March. This will be followed by the lecture course itself, comprising eight sessions, each of which include a lecture and a seminar given by a guest. The seminars are an extension of the lectures and provide additional insight. Two seminars will be given by researchers from the centre. Fréderic Cazals will introduce the geometric problems that arise in structural biology and Pierre Alliez will talk about surface reconstruction.
The course will be followed by a double symposium on 6 and 8 June.
To prepare the course, you need to choose the subject, draft the text of the inaugural lecture - which will then be published - and structure the course into eight sessions that will each address one aspect of the subject. Speakers will also need to be invited for the seminars and symposia.
The seminars will be given by researchers who are much younger than me, thus showing that French research in algorithmic geometry is very much alive. The symposium will give the floor to several of the subject's founders, such as B. Chazelle, K. Mehlhorn and M. Sharir, and will also welcome internationally-recognised experts on new aspects of the subject.

What differences do you make between a lecture at the Collège de France and a university lecture?

The inaugural lecture is the opportunity to define the subject of the course in relation to the work of my predecessors and to the most recent research developments. It gives an overview of the state of knowledge and, as a result, contributes to the history of the discipline. It is aimed at a wide and informed public, wishing to better understand the evolutions in science and in contemporary intellectual life.

I shall endeavour to demonstrate that algorithmic geometry is a real scientific field born out of the need to model geometric objects and which has numerous applications. It will be more a question of presenting the concepts and main results than entering into the technical details of the proofs. I hope that those in the audience who are not familiar with algorithmic geometry will discover a new methodology that is of use for their applications, and that the experts will appreciate the image of the subject that the lectures will provide, as well as the seminars and symposia.

What will be the personal touch to create this image?

My scientific career is merged with the history of algorithmic geometry and, as a result, the course will have a personal touch. I will talk about subjects close to my heart such as surface reconstruction, a problem I worked on upon my arrival to INRIA in Rocquencourt in 1980. I will also speak about randomised algorithms, computational geometry, the CGAL library and mesh generation. I will also talk about my current centres of interest and the work we are carrying out in algorithmic topology and higher dimensional geometric modelling as part of my ERC project GUDHI (Geometry Understanding in Higher Dimensions).
I would also like to speak about software development and teaching.

Jean-Daniel Boissonnat will give his inaugural lecture on Thursday 23 March 2017 at 6pm , followed by acourse focusing on the theme: "Computational geometry: data, models, programs".

The lectures will take place at 5pm on Wednesdays from 29 March 2017 onwards, for a duration of eight weeks.

They are open to all, without prior registration.

The dissemination of the lectures given at the Collège de France is not restricted to those who physically attended them. They are filmed and posted on the Collège de France website.

The choice is vast, with 7,541 audio and video files available.

Keywords: Inaugural lecture Jean-Daniel Boissonnat Informatics and computational sciences chair Geometry of data Inria Collège de France Research centre Sophia Antipolis - Mediterranee