ERCIM News No.43 - October 2000 [contents]

In brief..

CWI Incubator BV helps researchers starting a company: In July 2000, CWI has founded CWI Incubator BV (CWI Inc). CWI Inc will generate high-tech spin-off companies, based on results of CWI research. Earnings from CWI Inc. will be re-invested in fundamental research at CWI. During the last 10 years, CWI created 10 spin-off companies with approximately 500 employees. Generation of spin-off companies is an important method for institutes like CWI to convert fundamental knowledge to applications in society and to create high-level employment at the same time. CWI expects CWI Inc to attract enterprising researchers and to have a positive influence on the image of mathematics and computers science for students. For more information, see:

CWI - Data Distilleries Raises $24million. One of CWI’s succesful spin off companies is Dutch CRM developer Data Distilleries BV. In July 2000, Data Distilleries has closed a fundinground to raise $24m. The Amsterdam-based company will use the cash to expand into the UK and six other European countries and says it plans to be in the US market by the end of next year. Data Distilleries has developed technology that enables users with customer information from multiple channels to analyze it and draw up corresponding marketing and promotions customized for individual customers.

INRIA’s 2000-2003 four-year contract signed: Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg, Minister of Research, and Christian Pierret, Minister of Industry, signed INRIA’s 2000-2003 four-year contract with Bernard Larrouturou, Chairman of INRIA. The four-year contract provides for a significant increase in INRIA personnel, which will go from 755 to 1180 as of 2003, as well as in funding to keep pace with the augmentation of personnel. As early as 2001, the Institute's funding will be raised by 9.15 million Euros and the staff will be increased by 180 employees. France will make a significant effort for research in information and communication technology in the coming years in terms of both means and staff to further and consolidate the role of France and in the larger context, Europe, in terms of innovation and economic competitiveness. Along with other institutions and university departments, INRIA is at the heart of the French state research system upon which this policy is based. Through this contract, the State, aiming for ambitious goals, has conferred on INRIA the labour and material resources for a well-planned growth with precise strategic objectives.

The department of Computer Science in Trinity College Dublin hosted the first Irish Workshop on Eye-Tracking in May this year, in co-operation with the psychology department of University College Dublin. The analysis of eye movements can provide valuable insights which can be exploited in a range of research areas, and an interchange of ideas between the different fields is highly desirable. This workshop brought together an interdisciplinary group of researchers to share experiences in using eye-tracking hardware, and analysing eye movements. Topics included: Computer interfaces for the disabled, eye-tracking for video encoding, map-processing and other cognitive tasks, the treatment of schizophrenia, and applications in computer graphics. Link:

VTT Information Technology sells its VIP Intelligent Pagination system to Unisys Corp.: VTT Information Technology has sold the VIP Intelligent Pagination system developed by it to Unisys Corporation. The VIP software has been developed to automate the layout of classified advertisements in newspapers. VTT Information Technology has already supplied the software to a number of European newspapers, including the Helsingin Sanomat in Finland and Dagens Nyheter in Sweden. Unisys will continue to develop the software in Finland. The product complements the US company’s own, globally-marketed advertising systems which, until now, lacked a pagination function.

CWI upgraded its connection to SURFnet to gigabit level on 8 August. SURFnet is the national Dutch computer network for research and education organisations. CWI is the first client to get this very fast access to the SURFnet backbone, which will have a capacity of 80 Gbit/s next year.

Patrick Valduriez, Research Director at INRIA from the Caravel research team and his co-authors C. Bobineau, L. Bouganim and P. Pucheral from the PRISM Laboratory of Versailles University have been distinguished by the “Best Paper Award’ at the VLDB ( Very Large Database ) Conference for their paper ‘PicoDBMS: Scaling down Database Techniques for the SmartCard’. VLDB, which is one of the most prominent conferences in the database field took place in Cairo in September 2000.