Celebrating 25 Years of EPITA: an interview with Prof. Joël Courtois
Prof. Joël Courtois, Managing Director of EPITA Graduate School of Computer Science since 1998, returns to the Gala in which the book event of the 25 years of the school was launched:
What was the idea behind this book project?From the outset, the school wanted to mark the occasion for this quarter of the century. It was necessary to leave a trace and go much further than a festive event of an equally prestigious evening. A book is immortal, and this one is already available in digital form; it may suffer from the ravages of time… We had two choices: either a historical book recounting the first twenty-five years of school, that would interest only Epitians, or a book in our heart of activity that imagines the future. A book that addresses both our students and the general public and that describes a company heavily impacted by the advances in Information and Communication Technology.We started on a more societal than a technical piece of work: the city, the research, health, human relations, etc. All these areas have changed so much thanks to information technology …
Is this really a book for the general public?Undeniably: we wanted it to be accessible to the greatest number of people. The book isn’t about a thorough technical work: the social aspects have taken precedence. This is a book that can be toured in various ways. Traditionally, from the first to the last page, or chapter by chapter, through the 25 topics presented. It can also be read by digging information out of questions and answers that cover all aspects.
Is it a characterisitc of EPITA, this ability to project itself into the forthcoming years?Not really, we ask students to be open about what will be the future. We are aware that we do not have a very long term visibility from a technical or a social point of view. Our job is to prepare them to learn, to make them able to constantly integrate new technologies and new social manners. Our students are ready for these challenges.
Awards were presented to partners at the gala ceremony.Beyond the institutional side, beyond the gathering of our partners, senior members, teachers and businesses, we wanted to mark the event by two awards. One for companies to thank them for their confidence: Thales and Orange are the two largest employers of alumni EPITA. Second type of business we wish to honor: the start-up, some start very strong with many alumni, as Solucom, the largest recruiter of young graduates. Other prizes awarded, after a first run during the 20 years of school, the Trophy EPITA Ambassadors, through which we honor the alumni who have a brilliant career in our midst and keep a strong link with the campus. They can come back to animate conferences or offer support for events.