Research and innovation celebrated by EPITA!
In addition to the inaugural conference given by Bernard Ourghanlian, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Security Officer for Microsoft France, the 2020 edition of the EPITA Research & Innovation Week, held September 14-18, was filled with exciting guests and remarkable moments. Let’s take a look at this special event that is part of the 2nd year curriculum, which includes conferences, workshops and shared discussions about the leading challenges facing the field of research and new technologies.
Mainly created to enable future engineers better understand the need for research and its applications, this week-long event allowed several specialists to explain the ins and outs of the research profession and the different ways to become a researcher. Hence, Didier Verna, a professor-researcher at LRDE, EPITA’s Research and Development Laboratory, endeavored to explore the reality and daily life of a researcher, while Thierry Géraud and Anne Dewilde respectively the director of LRDE and director of 3IE, the school’s innovation laboratory, explained to the students what they needed to do to join the laboratories’ teams during their studies. Two Alumni also gave presentations along these lines.
Researcher at Dataiku, a company specialized in Data Science, Alexandre Abraham (EPITA class of 2009) took advantage of this conference to go over the reasons why theses, long criticized for not being in line with the real world, have now been reassessed thanks to the increased interest of large companies, and more particularly the Tech giants, in these “PhD” profiles. Raphael Poss (EPITA class of 2003), a consultant at the Dutch Thaumogen Consulting firm and Head of the R & D teams at Cockroach Labs in New York, used his speech to explain to students that research is primarily a behavior linked to a variety of other activities, facilitated by personality traits, circumstances and group emulation, while showing how it is experienced outside of France.
This year cryptography was one of the most discussed topics, with three conferences dedicated to this mathematical discipline having multiple applications. This was the opportunity to review, in the company of Adrien Pommellet, professor-researcher at LRDE, the history and evolution of cryptography, from the coded messages by Julius Caesar to the appearance of cryptocurrency. Pierre-Yves Strub, lecturer at École Polytechnique, focused on the production of efficient and certified cryptographic algorithm implementations, guaranteeing high security. Pascal Paillier, founder of CryptoExperts and CTO of Zama, chose to speak about the major challenges of cryptography, particularly homomorphic encryption for better data protection, while sharing his personal experience as a team leader, inventor and entrepreneur in a field that he has been exploring for over 25 years.
Above and beyond cyber security and image processing, the EPITA students were also able to discover other original topics: the complex design of musical improvisation software (with Marc Chemillier, Jazz musician and director of studies at EHESS) and the evolution of the urban spatial structure of Paris from 1789 to 1950 (presented by Pierre-André Le Ny, geographer, cartographer and consultant) via the collaborative project SoDUCo in which the LRDE team also participates. The role of AI in automatic speech processing was explained by Reda Dehak, professor-researcher at the EPITA Security & Systems Laboratory (LSE). Other lectures also allowed the EPITA students to learn more about Design Thinking, the DevOps profession, the most recent web applications with the 3IE innovation lab, as well as entrepreneurial innovation. The latter benefited in particular from the focus on IONIS 361, the national incubator of the IONIS education Group, on the system set up by the EPITA StartUp Lab, the original start-up studio created by the school (which has already allowed for the development of several promising startups like Neutral News, Lokimo and eKee) and on the project-based approach that has been at the heart of EPITA’s educational philosophy for several decades. It was a decidedly very busy week!
Bernard Ourghanlian, guest of honor at the 2020 EPITA Research & Innovation week