by Jean-François Abramatic
CERN, the Centre for European Nuclear Research that has played a leading role in the development of the World Wide Web, has chosen INRIA, the French National Institute of Research for Computer Science and Control, to take over development and promotion of the World Wide Web. INRIA will receive support for these activities from the European Commission, which views a strong European presence in this rapidly developing area of communications as highly desirable.
INRIA will be responsible for the following four activities:
World Wide Web and CERN
Developed in 1989 to facilitate the work of CERN physicists by Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, the W3 (World Wide Web) standard is now used by millions of users of Internet. The Web allows the development of distributed multimedia applications and will play a key part in the development of the Information Highway.
CERN has invested substantial resources in the Web. But new demands on its researchers' time, such as their new accelerator programme, mean that it now wishes to focus on its primary missions. This is why it has asked INRIA to take over the Web project to look after development and promotional activities.
As CERN will still be a major user of the Web, which it sees as an essential tool for the scientific community, it will continue to take an interest in the technology and its evolution. In the first phases of this project, it will work together with INRIA to protect user community interests, guarantee consistency in developments and services and generally make for an easy transition. CERN will continue to be involved in areas that affect its own scientific community.
INRIA has played a significant role in the development of the Internet in France and in Europe and was involved from early days in a number of Web research projects.
Research programs and INRIA's technology spinoffs
INRIA's involvement has been both internal and external. Internal research programmes have included: SOR (system for distributed objects), OPERA (structured documents, hypertext), RODEO (Internet protocols). External involvement has come through INRIA technology spinoffs: GRIF SA (document editing software for the Web), Ilog SA (development software for better performance and user-friendly navigation on the Web), O2 Technology (structuring of complex information - text, image, sound - for Web services using the power of object technology), Edelweb (application development on Internet).
The virtual museum on Internet
During the conference "Multimedia: the cultural issues" held in September 1994, the French Ministry of Culture and Francophony and INRIA presented a multimedia exposition on the Internet network entitled Siècle des Lumières Paintings in French Museums", and in conformity with the World Wide Web standard.
The Information Highway
INRIA, along with CNET and Renater, was selected as the French "National Host" to promote experiments in advanced services on both Internet and the Web (under the European programme ACTS - Advanced Communications Technologies & Services). Among the responses to the French Industry Ministry's recent request for proposals on Information Highway development projects, more than 20 included INRIA as a partner. Applications include:
Experimental platforms proposed by Lyonnaise Communications to develop new services for as large a number of clients as possible using the existing cable network (cultural services, information and electronic news, financial services, electronic trading, access to Internet etc).
A virtual reality project, proposed by the city of Nancy, France, which will present tours of several "Art Nouveau" cities in Europe. This cultural and tourism project will be associated with leading European capitals such as Barcelona, Brussels, Prague and Vienna.
A multimedia project proposed by Bayard Presse for communication with 12 - 25 year olds in three different areas - school at home (high school and university level instruction), orientation for studies and professional activities, and a more personalized response to individual needs .
The W3 Conference
INRIA will organize and host the 5th international conference on the World Wide Web scheduled for the Spring of 1995. This conference, which is held twice a year, brings together experts in the field, program developers and users.