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September 22, 2017 | French Armed Forces Minister visits CEA Saclay campus to explore digital ecosystem

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French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly came to Nano-INNOV at the CEA’s Saclay campus on Tuesday, September 19 to hold a meeting of the Ministry’s Executive Committee to discuss digital transformation.

Cluster Systematic extended a special invitation to French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly to hold a meeting of the Ministry’s Executive Committee on digital transformation in Saclay. Saclay has become one of France’s major digital technology ecosystems, concentrating a broad range of support services for digital technology research and development at a single location.

Representatives of the CEA and of Systematic1 and SystemX2 presented their organizations. Systematic and SystemX are now housed at DigiHall3, the Paris-Saclay campus’ new digital technology hub set up to bring businesses end-to-end R&D and innovation services and unite digital technology stakeholders at a single location, the CEA’s Nano-INNOV platform in Palaiseau.

Five innovative startups and SMBs launched with these organizations’ support presented products and services with potential military applications. All of these companies were initially created to respond to civil market needs. However, virtually all of them are currently running projects with major French military and defense companies and the French Directorate General for Armaments, the French military’s procurement wing.

And three of the companies are startups spun off by List4, an institute of CEA Tech, the CEA’s technology research division.

  • Diota, was set up in 2009 to develop industrial-grade augmented reality software to give industrial companies the tools they need to interactively link data and human workspaces and enhance performance.
  • Kalray, founded in 2008, offers a new generation of field programmable gate arrays that leverage a massively parallel several-hundred-core architecture and that can be reconfigured after fabrication.
  • Krono Safe, established in 2011, commercializes a software suite built on more than fifteen years of CEA R&D in nuclear- and automotive-industry operating safety; the company is the only one on the market capable of automating the real-time critical software development process without compromising on performance or safety.
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French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly with (from left to right) Philippe Watteau, Director, List; Pascal Cléré, Director, IRT SystemX; Jean-Luc Beylat, President, Systematic Cluster; and Christophe Gégout, Deputy Administrator General, CEA. © Systematic

Minister Parly highlighted the importance of innovation and digital technology in the Armed Forces Ministry’s own transformation process, stating that the credibility of the nation’s military now depends on the defense industry and defense-specific technologies better integrating more of the innovations being developed by the kinds of new digital-technology stakeholders in the CEA ecosystem she met during her visit to Saclay.

The CEA is, of course, a major digital-technology stakeholder, a leadership position that can be attributed in part to the organization’s Military Applications Division, one of the world’s leaders in high-performance computing. The Division’s supercomputers, developed for nuclear dissuasion, are at the international state of the art.

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Startup Diota presents its technology to French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly. © Systematic
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Staff from the French Armed Forces Ministry attending a presentation with (from left to right) Michel Bédoucha (in the red tie), Director, CEA Saclay; Christophe Gégout, Deputy Administrator General, CEA; and Philippe Watteau, Director, List. © Systematic


1 Systematic Paris-Région is a cluster founded in 2005 to build an ecosystem of software, digital-technology, and industrial professionals poised to address tomorrow’s industries. The cluster counts more than 800 members and the CEA is a permanent member of its Executive Bureau.

2IRT SystemX is one of eight Technology Research Institutes established by the French government in 2012 to create a more attractive and innovative French economy. Each Institute focuses on developing markets related to its area of expertise through strategic and balanced public-private partnerships.

3DigiHall, formerly called Digitec, was set up in 2017 by the CEA, Télécom ParisTech, Inria, Systematic, and IRT SystemX, with the support of the Île-de-France Regional council, Paris-Saclay University, and the Paris-Saclay Development Authority. By 2020 DigiHall will be home to more than 1,500 research scientists and engineers.

4List earned the prestigious Institut Carnot seal in 2006 (Institut Carnot TN@UPSaclay).