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Computer sciences


The Collège de France and Inria establish a chair in "Computing and Computational Sciences"

Gérard Berry © Inria / Photo J.-M. Ramès

 Computing and computational science, unlike quantum physics or molecular chemistry, are notions with which the general public has become familiar given the place occupied by new technology in our daily lives. But there is a huge risk of confusing computer science with the use made of it. On the one hand, the objects that have become commonplace, technical applications used every day (podcasts, GPS, etc.), and on the other, an original and complex science that needs urgent recognition as such.
Recognising computer science as a separate science to improve how it is taught

Recognising computer science as a separate science to improve how it is taught

In fact, computer science is a science in its own right with its own fields of study such as programming languages, its intrinsic ways of thinking and its independence from other sciences. Because it converts the world into calculations, it radically alters how we represent it. The Collège de France added information technology to its curriculum by appointing Gérard Berry as holder of the Chair of Technological Innovation - Liliane Bettencourt, for the 2007-2008 academic year, with a series of lectures entitled "Why and how the world is turning digital". On the strength of the success and feedback of this approach and convinced of computer science's significance, the Collège de France decided, in partnership with Inria, to give him a more permanent platform by creating a new chair in "Computing and Computational Sciences". ».

Computer science, at the heart of our everyday lives and the scientific challenges of tomorrow

At a time when we are discovering new uses associated with new technologies almost every day, things that are not a mere improvement in our daily lives, but that totally revolutionise the way we do things, it is important to give our fellow citizens some "computing common sense". Anyone and everyone ought to know the basics of this science, as they do elementary principles of physics such as gravity.
The chair in Computing and Computational Sciences, established for five years, welcomes a new incumbent every year, who is a recognised specialist in a given field (programming languages, security and protocol analysis, robotics, etc.). Gérard Berry was appointed the first holder of the chair for the 2009/2010 academic year. The theme of his lecture cycle will be "Thinking through, modelling and understanding computer calculations". It will in particular address the issues caused by the gap between human thought and automated computation, between the idea of a calculation and its faithful production. These courses will be held on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. from 25 November 2009.


Pierre Corvol , Collège de France trustee.
 “In addition to its research and teaching activities, the purpose of the Collège de France has always been to support new and emerging sciences and remain alert to the scientific developments that are transforming our societies, of which the digital revolution is undoubtedly one. All aspects of our lives are affected by these transformations, our daily routines, our economy, and scientific research. Computer science opens up hitherto undreamed of possibilities in many other sciences through its computing, simulation and modelling capabilities. The Collège de France could not ignore it. "

 Michel Cosnard , Chairman and CEO of Inria
“The annual chair in Computing and Computational Sciences marks the acceptance of computer science by the Collège de France as a scientific discipline in its own right. This is an important stage in the recognition of our scientific field. This recognition is crucial to ensure that computer science is taught more widely, which in turn is vital if our country is to reap maximum benefit from the advances offered by new technologies in the social and economic spheres alike.”


A public science and technology institution under the supervision of the ministries for Research and for Industry. Executives: Michel COSNARD, Chairman and CEO of Inria - Jean-Pierre VERJUS, Deputy Managing Director. Annual budget (2009): €200m, of which 21% is from its own resources. Regional research centres:  Paris - Rocquencourt, Sophia Antipolis -Méditerranée, Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, Nancy - Grand Est, Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique, Bordeaux -Sud Ouest, Lille - Nord Europe, Saclay - Île-de-France. 2,800 researchers, including more than 1,000 PhD students, working within more than 168 project-teams, the majority of which are shared with other bodies, Grandes Ecoles and universities.  790 ongoing research agreements. 80 associate teams around the world. 96 businesses started since 1984.

Keywords: Press release Computational sciences Gerard Berry College de France