Dyade A Successful Cooperation between Bull and INRIA
by Patrick Valduriez
Dyade (1986-2001) was a strategic R&D joint venture between Bull and INRIA in information and communication technology. Innovative technologies produced by Dyade were transferred to Bull product divisions or released as open source software. Dyade also gave birth to four start-up companies: TrustedLogic, KelKoo, Jalios and Scalagent.
Recognizing the new dimension of Information (ICT) and its major impact on economical and social growth, Bull and INRIA created Dyade in march 1996 as a five-year Economic Interest Group with about 50 people. Dyades mission was to identify and develop innovative ICT with strong market potential, to demonstrate the industrial strength of the developed technologies with pilot users, and to transfer the results to either Bull or start-ups from Bull and INRIA. The incentive for Bull was to increase its technology portfolio and gain access to a fast-growing, high-potential market. The motive for INRIA was to transfer research results to industry and identify research directions that are strategic for industry.
Dyade engaged in a number of R&D actions, each sponsored by a Bull division and focused on an ICT domain where INRIA could bring its researchers expertise. An action would then associate INRIA researchers and Bull engineers at a single location (an INRIA site) to work together on a specific topic with the objective of demonstrating the industrial interest within one or two years. Actions were conducted in the following domains:
Transfer to Bulls Product Divisions
Open Source Software
Creation of start-ups by Dyade members. TrustedLogic, created in 1999, specializes in security technologies and services based on formal methods. KelKoo, created in 2000, uses Dyades mediator technology for comparing Web merchant sites. It is now the number one Internet buying guide in Europe. Jalios, created in 2001, develops and sells Web content-management solutions tailored to companies business needs. Scalagent, created in 2002, specializes in developing mediation solutions for B2B applications using agent-based technologies.
In parallel to technology transfer, Dyade produced excellent research results: 15 PhD theses and over 80 research papers which were published in the best specialized journals and conferences. Within Dyade, researchers could take advantage of a real experimental environment for proof-of-concept. For instance, the formal validation of cache coherency protocols for large multiprocessors helped finding new solutions for scaling up model-checking tools to very high numbers of states.
In retrospect, Dyade has been quite successful in terms of technology transfer and research results. The first reason is obviously the high quality and motivation of the INRIA researchers and Bull engineers who made Dyade real. But there are two other important reasons. One is the major commitment of Bull and INRIAs management which defined the original vision and allocated significant resources to the actions. The other reason was an efficient, light-weight management structure with independent actions, each sponsored by a Bull product division having strong interest in getting back results.