ERCIM News No.35 - October 1998

INRIA -Gérard Huet, Senior Scientist and Head of International Relations department has received the Herbrand Award during CADE-15 in Lindau, Germany 8 July. Gérard Huet, Associate mem-ber of the French Académie des Sciences, is known for his deep work in automatic theorem proving, with a lasting international influence. He is the originator of the Coq system, under development at INRIA-Rocquencourt, with which a number of companies such as Dassault-Aviation, Bull CP8 or France Télécom are experimenting today.

INRIA - Jean-Pierre Merlet, Senior Scientist at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, head of the SAGA project proposal, has received a special mention from the Jury of the Altran Foundation Prize, Innovation, pain, deficiencies and physical handicap. The micro-robot that has received the prize, under development at INRIA can be used for inspection as well as surgery proper. It is less than 1cm in diameter, it is bio-compatible and transparent with respect to NMR and radiological apparatus. It may be autonomous, because its head contains both a source of energy and control, which is activated remotely.

CNUCE-CNR - The Michelangelo prize, awarded annually by the town of Carrara and the province of Massa-Carrara for an original work of art, was won this year by the cyber painter Marco Cardini, together with Leonello Tarabella, Massimo Magrini and Giuseppe Scapellato of the Computer Music Lab, CNUCE, Pisa. The unusual theme of Michelangelo ‘98 was technological research of particular artistic value. Cardini uses the Aerial Painting Hands system, created by Scapellato, and the sound system, developed at the Music Lab by Tarabella and Magrini, to produce graphical and musical works in real time. At the prize-giving ceremony on 1 August in the town hall of Cararra, the very avant-garde performance by Cardini was received with great enthusiasm and interest by the invited audience.

INRIA - Serge Abiteboul, Senior Scientist at INRIA Rocquencourt , head of the VERSO research team, has received the 1998 Innovation Award from ACM SIGMOD. ACM SIGMOD is the special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery including the best known researchers in the field of Data Bases. The SIGMOD Innovation Award is given for innovative contributions to the development or use of database systems and databases. The contributions must have been reduced to practice and adopted widely in significant use. SIGMOD acknowledges both the fundamental research work of Serge Abiteboul as well as his cooperation in the creation of the O2 software. The award is presented yearly by SIGMOD since 1992, and all earlier recipients have been working in the United States.

Sir James Lighthill, brilliant mathematician who foresaw the use of communications satellites and space shuttles, has died aged 74. In the mid 1950s he was one of the British scientists at work on suppressing noise from the jets of the prototype Boeing 707. In the early 1960s Lighthill developed the first communications satellites. News of the project was reported under the headline “A telephone in space”. At the same time Lighthill was investigating the feasibility of using high-altitude aircraft as launch platforms for spacecraft. In 1963 he took part in talks at Chequers to explain to ministers and Service chiefs the future importance of satellites. The next year, he was appointed to a Royal Society research professorship, attached to Imperial College, London. He also set up an Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, of which he served for two years as president. In 1969 he became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, where he stayed for 10 years. Lighthill was elected Provost of University College, London, in 1979. From 1990 to 1995 he served on the Special Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction sponsored by the International Council of Scientific Unions. In 1964 Lighthill was awarded a Royal Medal by the Royal Society, of which he had become a Fellow in 1953, when he was only 29. He was Secretary and then Vice-President of the Royal Society between 1965 and 1969. In 1961 he became a Fellow of Royal Aeronautical Society. He received honorary doctorates from 24 academic bodies, ranging from Tallahassee to St Petersburg. He was knighted in 1971.

INRIA - Olivier Faugeras, Senior Scientist at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis and Adjunct Professor at MIT, head of the ROBOTVIS research team, has been awarded in June the Grand Prix France Télécom by the French Académie des Sciences for his work on geometry and image processing. Olivier Faugeras is one of the world leading scientists in computer vision. His work is also at the foundation of a newly created high technology company, Realiz, which specializes in computerized special effects for video and motion pictures.

return to the contents page