The President of the French Republic presented an ambitious strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and launched the National AI Strategy on the closing day of the “AI for Humanity” debate on March 29, 2018.
Research, open data and ethical or societal issues
This National AI Strategy, with a public fund budget of 1.5 billion euros for five years (2018-2022), gathers three approaches:
- Achieving best-in-class level of research for AI, through training and attracting best global talent in the field;
- Disseminating AI to the economy and society through startups, public-private partnerships and data sharing;
- Establishing an ethical framework for AI.
Public research in digital technology has a responsibility to participate in the construction of a responsible and controlled AI and to nourish the public and citizen debate on these subjects, beyond circles of experts: it is one of the challenges of the AI plan to place the human at the center.
CEO of Inria
Vision and goals of the National Ai Research Program
45% of the National AI Strategy dedicated budget is devoted to the National AI Research Program.
Priorities of the National AI Research Program:
- Promote attractiveness and talent support programs;
- Develop AI training at all levels (initial training, continual education, and top-notch training at Master and Doctorate levels);
- Expand State-of-the-art digital infrastructures;
- Support research in AI through dedicated calls, operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR);
- Strengthen and foster joint collaborative strategies at European and international levels, and
- Boost private-public partnerships and increase the impact of research in AI.
Diffusion of AI knowledge to the economy will be also achieved through the development of numerical infrastructures for Data Interoperability, Data Wrangling, and Data processing through AI technologies (such as Scikit-learn). Their availability will be facilitated primarily for SMEs and intermediate-sized companies.
Several actions are carried out by the National AI Research Program:
- Network of 4 Interdisciplinary Institutes for Artificial Intelligence (3IA): ANITI, 3IA Côte d’Azur, MIAI, PRAIRIE
- Around 190 chairs for research and education
- 500 new PhDs in AI per year
- Supercomputer Jean Zay, #2 at EU Level
- + 100 M€ for ANR’s AI programs
- Calls for projects on international collaboration with Germany and Japan
- Research partnerships (Labcom, Carnot, IRT)
- Grand Défi Programme, with the challenge on Trustworthy and Industrial AI
Talent support programs
At a time when international competition for talent and cutting-edge research in AI is stronger than it has probably ever been, the swift deployment of the National AI Research Program is essential to give concrete form to the AI for Humanity strategy launched by the President of the Republic. Only on the basis of strong research shall we be able to promote, on an international level, the ethical values that we stand for while supporting our companies. I expect the 3IA to operate soon in a national network supported by Inria, which coordinates the national research program, alongside their German counterparts and more broadly with the world’s top AI research institutions.
Frédérique Vidal (24 Sept, 2019)
In order to mobilize the scientific community throughout the national territory and contribute to increase France attractiveness by supporting talents, 43 research and training chairs and 22 PhD programs (~300 PhD grants) in AI have been implemented, in addition to the 3IAs.
A Program: The Jean Zay supercomputer
The Jean Zay supercomputer is the first French supercomputer where high performance computing and AI facilities are converged. Its computing power reaches more than 28 petaflops per second, thanks to its 86,344 computational cores supported by 2700 GPU-based accelerators. On the data storage side, Jean Zay can support a very large data access load, with flow rates of almost 0.5 TB per second and more than 40 PB of capacity. Jean Zay is also a champion of energy efficiency thanks to its latest generation warm-water cooling technology, from which energy is recovered to heat the local buildings of the Paris Saclay area, a first ever at this scale in Europe.
INRIA coordinates The National Ai Research Program
Inria is leading this mission in cooperation with the national research institutions in digital sciences and technologies, and in contact with all stakeholders involved in the AI ecosystem. To carry out this mission, clearly separated from its research activity, Inria has set up a dedicated direction, named Mission-IA, whose main actions focus on:
- Coordinating the implementation of actions supported under the program;
- Providing scientific and technological expertise;
- Contributing in the development of bilateral cooperation activities, and
- Participating in strengthening the economic impact of public research.
The direction Mission-IA also hosts the French Center of Expertise of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.