PRAIRIE at the French Naval Academy

On 4th and 5th October 2021 delegation from PRAIRIE made a visit to École Navale, the French Naval Academy located in Lanvéoc-Poulmic, near Brest.

The French Naval Academy is in charge of the education of the officers of the French Navy. While the main objective of the school is to train the cadets, Ecole navale also develops an important research activity oriented to the maritime and naval environments.

The purpose of the visit was to explore cooperation opportunities between PRAIRIE researchers and École Navale in the area of Artificial Intelligence.


AI for automatic quality assurance of medical image at a very large scale

Olivier Colliot and Ninon Burgos, PRAIRIE chairs, have published the first paper using medical imaging data from the clinical routine data warehouse of the Greater Paris Hospital (Entrepôt de données de santé, AP-HP). The data warehouse contains all medical images from patients hospitalized within the Greater Paris area hospitals of AP-HP.

In particular, it contains over 100,000 3D T1 brain MRIs. The paper describes an AI method that performs automatic quality control of medical images, which is a prerequisite for any subsequent analyses. This has a potentially very high impact. Indeed, clinical routine data warehouses, which contain data from millions of patients, have a huge potential for training AI models. Nevertheless, the quality of imaging data is heterogeneous and thus quality control is mandatory but is not feasible manually at such a large scale. The paper was published in Medical Image Analysis, the leading journal in AI for medical imaging: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1361841521002644. It is also freely available on HAL: https://hal.inria.fr/hal-03154792v4.

This work was done as a collaboration between the ARAMIS project-team (CNRS, Inria, Inserm, Sorbonne University, Paris Brain Institute) and the EDS team of AP-HP. This work was also supported by the Abeona Foundation.


11 gold medals at the Computer Olympiad 2021!

Congratulations to Quentin Cohen-Solal (postdoc PRAIRIE) and Tristan Cazenave (supervisor, PRAIRIE chair) who have won 11 gold medals at the 24th Computer Olympiad!

Quentin Cohen-Solal and Tristan Cazenave are winners in the following games: Surakarta, Hex 11, Hex 13, Hex 19, Havannah 8, Havannah 10, Othello, Amazons, Breakthrough, Canadian Draughts and Brazilian Draughts. They have entered many programs that use the same Deep Reinforcement Learning system. This system is original and stands out from Alpha Zero standard approaches in many ways, including the search algorithm and generation of training data. This is the first time that the same program wins so many gold medals! More details are explained in this paper accepted at the Workshop Reinforcence Learning in Games in AAAI this year.

Full results from the Computer Olympiad are available here.


Are “virtual children” the future of education? Focus on Justine Cassell

Meet Justine Cassell, PRAIRIE chair, credited with developing the Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA), a virtual human capable of interacting with humans using both language and nonverbal behavior.

Justine Cassell

Justine Cassell investigates the role that the ECA can play in children’s lives, as a virtual peer support for learning.

Invisible companions are closely related to a child’s environment, and most results from psychological studies agree that imaginary friends perform a positive function and promote children’s development.

“With imaginary friends, there is no scenario, the child’s imagination is not limited. This greatly helps them develop their creativity and build their ideal interlocutor, someone who is always there to listen to them. In my lab, we develop our virtual peers in such a way that it is difficult to gender them (boy or girl). We do this on purpose, so that the children can project onto themselves their own idea of who they want to talk to. So virtual peers play a bit of the role of a virtual friend.” says Justine Cassell.

Read more about this fascinating work here.


The National Digital Council publishes its first report

While the use of digital tools has greatly intensified in recent years, the unprecedented lockdowns of the past year have reinforced their omnipresence. The first theme addressed by the National Digital Council concerns the place of knowledge in the digital empowerment of citizens.

Recently the Council has published its first report on the topic. This work was led among others by Justine Cassell, PRAIRIE chair and a newly elected member of the French National Digital Council.

Justine Cassell says: “Digital tools are great for school education, where they complement traditional methods, and also for learning outside of school. What is often overlooked is that the very use of digital technology is a form of learning in itself, as it can enable peer-to-peer work. To benefit more, it is important to have a good digital culture and access to technologies that allow collective work. Thanks to this, we reduce the risk that the digital revolution will transform citizens into consumers of services, enslaved to technology.”

Read the press release and full report (in French).


PRAIRIE welcomes 6 new springboard researchers

PRAIRIE is excited to welcome onboard 6 new “tremplins” - young springboards researchers with exceptional scientific potential in the field of artificial intelligence.

The awardees appointed for the initial period of 3 years are:

Congratulations and welcome onboard!


Automotive industry and AI: launch of a new training program

Created in response to a call for projects of the SIA (Société des Ingénieurs de l'Automobile), the “IA Project Manager” training will be based on the research excellence of the PRAIRIE Institute, and the experience of Dauphine - PSL and Mines Paris - PSL in continuing education.

The new training program will help improve the skills of employees in the French automotive industry in the field of AI. They are strategic for the competitiveness of the French automotive industry and its technological independence.

The training offered by Université PSL will be mostly given by PRAIRIE chair holders, as well as by recognized professionals in the field. The 5-week program spread over 5 months will cover all the scientific and technical aspects of AI.

More information here (in French).


Applications for PRAIRIE Master fellowships 2021/22 are open!

PRAIRIE Master’s fellowships are accepting applications for four attractive programs:

The fellowships are available for M1 or M2 years and are awarded on academic criteria. Depending on the rules of each university, the fellowship amount can be maximum 1000€ per month.

Please find here the forms which need to be attached to your application dossier.


Poetry and AI

"If you can't come to Oupoco, Oupoco will come to you".

Discover Oupoco – the Poetry box, a new project which allows to generate sonnets from poems of French authors. Oupoco incorporates several thousand poems by 19th century poets, which were analyzed automatically by natural language analysis techniques. The project is coordinated by PRAIRIE chair, Thierry Poibeau.

Watch the presentation video and read more about the project here.

CNRS silver medal for Gabriel Peyré

Congratulations to Gabriel Peyré, PRAIRIE chair, who has been awarded the prestigious CNRS silver medal!

The silver medal is presented to researchers for the originality, quality, and importance of their work, which is recognised at national and international level.
More information here.