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October 06, 2021 | “Confiance.ai" programme

“Confiance.ai" programme: First significant results and an increasingly rich ecosystem of partners

Paris, on 6 October 2021

Technology Pillar of the Grand Défi1 "Ensuring the security, reliability and certification of systems based on artificial intelligence", the Confiance.ai program launched in January 2021 and led by the SystemX Institute of Technological Research (IRT), is showing sustained momentum and is unveiling its first results at the first Annual Day, to be held in Toulouse on 6 October 2021. Driven by a group of 13 French companies and research organisations, this €45 million programme spanning 4 years aims to meet the challenge of industrialising artificial intelligence (AI) in critical products and services.

"Trustworthy AI is one of the key current issues in the industrial world, as AI is spreading rapidly in all sectors, especially those that do not tolerate decision errors. We can only be extremely satisfied with the progress that has been made in France within the Confiance.ai programme. Fully operational since January, it has aroused the enthusiasm of many SMEs and academic players who have come to join our Common House and contribute their expertise and technologies, in collaboration with the 13 structuring partners who are the driving force behind the programme”, commented Julien Chiaroni, Director of the Trustworthy AI Grand Défi within the General Secretariat for Investment.

A first version of the trustworthy environment by the end of the year incorporating more than 20 technological or methodological components

To address these challenges, the programme partners focused on six initial use cases: camera-based scene understanding, welding vision inspection, liquid air demand prediction, aerial photo interpretation, visual industrial control, and airborne collision avoidance for unmanned aircraft systems.

These practical use cases have made it possible to assess the relevance of the first 20 technological components or methodological building blocks (e.g. evaluation of neural network robustness, quantification of prediction confidence intervals, generation of models robust to certain disturbances, methods for constructing and characterising datasets, etc.), which have already been incorporated into the first version of the trustworthy environment developed and which will be made available to partners by the end of the year. This environment will eventually offer a sovereign, open, interoperable and sustainable software tool platform for the design, validation, qualification, deployment and maintenance of critical AI-based products and services.

An ecosystem of over 40 partners by the end of the year

Confiance.ai is part of an open and integrative approach. The programme is developing and federating the national ecosystem around trustworthy AI and has opened up to many associated partners.

In addition to the 13 core contributors to the programme, 11 laboratories have recently joined the network, having been selected in the context of a call for expressions of interest focused on scientific challenges: Institut de mathématiques de Toulouse - ANITI, CRIL - Université d'Artois, CRISTAL - CNRS, LAMIH/UPHF / CRISTAL - Université de Lille, Inria KAIROS, IRIT - Université de Toulouse, LIP6 - Sorbonne Université, LITEM - Medial Lab - IMT, LITIS - Insa Rouen, ONERA and U2IS - ENSTA Paris. They will contribute to the maturation of scientific work or to the resolution of upstream scientific obstacles, most often in the form of a thesis or doctorate. To date, the programme has already seen 9 theses and 4 post-docs.

Other partners such as Apsys, LNE, Numalis and ONERA have also joined the programme, bringing their expertise and technologies.

Another AMI aimed at deeptech start-ups and innovative SMEs launched last July should enable a dozen French nuggets to be included in the programme from the 4th quarter of 2021.

In total, a powerful network of more than 40 partners will collaborate on the sites of Paris Saclay and Toulouse, two important places of trustworthy AI, towards the elaboration of this trustworthy environment where everyone will be able to derive value from these efforts. Confiance.ai is fortunate to be able to rely on this ecosystem and in particular on the Franco-Quebec program DEEL, the 3IA Aniti and the DataIA initiative.

A programme that contributes to the European Commission's "AI Act" regulation project

The European Commission has proposed a legal framework to promote trustworthy AI. However, its operational implementation requires the development of technical solutions enabling companies to respond. Confiance.ai will thus enable the creation of a technical environment (on certification, reliability, evaluation, transparency and auditability of algorithms and systems) that will guarantee, tomorrow, a high level of trust in AI technologies..


1 The Grands Défis are public investment programmes that aim to develop disruptive technologies and innovations with high social and economic impact.

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07 septembre 2021 | Solutions Industrie du futur

« Solutions Industrie du futur » : un contrat stratégique de filière signé par Agnès Pannier-Runacher et Frédéric Sanchez.

Agnès Pannier-Runacher, ministre déléguée auprès du ministre de l'Économie, des Finances et de la Relance, chargée de l'Industrie, et Frédéric Sanchez, président du Comité Stratégique de Filière, ont signé ce lundi 6 septembre 2021 le contrat stratégique de la filière « Solutions Industrie du futur » (S-I-F), dans le cadre du salon Global Industrie organisé à Lyon (69).

Annoncée le 9 avril 2021 par le Premier ministre Jean Castex, la création de la filière S-I-F fait partie intégrante de la stratégie du Gouvernement pour accompagner la transition des entreprises vers l’industrie 4.0.

Regroupant les secteurs des machines et solutions industrielles intelligentes (mécanique, électrique, électronique, numérique…) ainsi que l’offre digitale, cette filière est constituée de 32 000 entreprises. Elle emploie aujourd’hui 500 000 personnes en France et tient la 3ème place en termes de PIB industriel. Elle est portée par l’Alliance Industrie du Futur (AIF).

Si elle compte dans ses rangs quelques grandes entreprises championnes du secteur, la filière reste cependant principalement composée de PME et d’ETI, dispersées en de multiples sous-secteurs interdépendants.

C’est dans ce contexte qu’Agnès Pannier-Runacher et Frédéric Sanchez ont signé un contrat stratégique de filière, en présence des organisations représentant les salariés. Cette signature marque une nouvelle étape pour la filière, qui s’organise, se structure et se développe pour répondre aux besoins des entreprises utilisatrices et faire effet de levier sur les investissements des entreprises en solutions françaises, notamment ceux soutenus par le plan France Relance.

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July 26, 2021 | Booster Project

BOOSTER project: Secure solution, unlocking the full potential of data

Booster Project 250

The ability to rapidly process and analyse massive amounts of data to improve processes, products and services, is one of the main benefits associated with industry 4.0. However, until today, much of this immense potential is still unlocked due to the difficulty in protecting and ensuring data confidentiality and sovereignty.

BOOSTER, one of EIT Manufacturing’s 2021 projects, aims at changing data crunching forever.

"Today, we are starting to be pretty good at ensuring the data confidentiality and sovereignty when sharing and storing data. However, ensuring data confidentiality and sovereignty when computing and analysing the data has been a blocking point. The questions we answer is how to use partner data without having access to them, and how to respect privacy regulations while still being able to analyse the data", said Frederic Surleau, Responsible for Business Development at CEA List, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

Tapping into big business and improvement potential

Cybersecurity and data breaches is a big risk for industrial companies protecting their data and innovations, as well as for finance and insurance companies. The challenge is how to guarantee the confidentiality of data from collection to processing including involvement of remote third parties, while respecting regulatory and commercial constraints. As a result, most companies are reluctant to allow data computing by external parties unless confidentiality can be 100% ensured. BOOSTER, benefiting from the new Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) Technology intends to change the game.

The BOOSTER project consortium has developed a solution ensuring full confidentiality and data sovereignty for cloud computing. The aim is to deliver an industrial “secure by design” solution to accelerate the execution of data processing applications meeting even the most stringent privacy requirements. BOOSTER aims at demonstrating the practical integration of the Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) technology combined with an accelerated computing engine, deploying them in a cloud computing environment for a low software engineering cost.

"We are confident that this will pave the way for a wide deployment, boosting data-enabled improvements, but not only that – potentially resulting in completely new business offers and solutions", said Charly Bechara, founder and CEO, Scalnyx.

This new integrated solution combines so-called homomorphic encryption technologies developed by CEA List with a high-performance software acceleration from Scalnyx. Homomorphic encryption is a PET (Privacy-Enhancing Technologies) and a form of encryption allowing to perform calculations on encrypted data without decrypting it first. Homomorphic encryption can be used for privacy-preserving outsourced storage and computation. This allows data to be encrypted and outsourced to commercial cloud environments for processing, all while encrypted.

"Heverett Group is committed to develop of digital solutions to ensure a secure, sovereign data transfer between suppliers and factories. Moreover, leveraging artificial intelligence for industrial asset maintenance is one of our development axes in Europe" said Hervé LABARGE, Chief Innovation Officer, HEVERETT GROUP.

Joint venture startup to be launched at the end of 2021

The newly formed BOOSTER Consortium consisting of CEA List, Scalnyx, as technology providers and Heverett Group and Prima Industries as end-users aim at launching a joint venture startup focusing on cyber security.

The main benefits of the solution are:

  • Ensuring fully cybersecure and high-performance cloud-based data computing
  • Unlocking the full potential of industry 4.0 and big data
  • Open doors for new business models and business, such as the creation of a European cloud, Gaia-X.

 

 

July 19, 2021 | Dolphin Design and CEA-List

Dolphin Design and CEA-List join forces for a new embedded AI computing platform

dolphin design 250

Dolphin Design and CEA-List have formed a new joint R&D lab of embedded systems. Their goal is to achieve the best tradeoff for Edge AI devices between SW flexibility, energy efficiency, and peak performance. Specifically, CEA-List's PNeuro® hardware accelerator integrates AI into the computing platform developed in the joint lab, and is combined with the processing platform developed by Dolphin Design. Two CEA-List’s tools are involved, SESAM simulation environment that enables faster exploration and validation, and N2D2 code generator that facilitates programming.

Grenoble, France – July 19th, 2021

With the exponential increase of connected devices, and migration of data to the cloud, the data deluge is a real impediment as it consumes a lot of time and power. For Edge-IoT, the current challenge is to drive the Decision Making as close as possible to the sensors, to reduce the amount of data exchanged with the Cloud and therefore improve overall Power Efficiency, data privacy and response time.

To do this, chip designers must embed AI computing in their chip to perform the decisions, and they must find inventive MCU architectures that minimize power consumption and maximize the device’s battery lifetime.

With this perspective, Dolphin Design comes with processing platforms to help face the data deluge challenge:

  • CHAMELEON: innovative event-based MCU platform able to perform autonomously data collection and prefiltering without waking-up the power consuming MCU
  • RAPTOR: neural network accelerator platform for AI computing.
    • A reduced featured version of Raptor - Mini Raptor – will power the high-end versions of Chameleon MCU platform featuring AI capabilities to increase the processing power at a fraction of the power consumption.

Both these platforms are delivered with software tools: drivers, tool suite and virtual platform.

To match their customers’ stringent Time-to-Market requirements, Dolphin Design has strengthened its developments by joining forces with the expert teams of CEA-List in a joint lab.

The joint lab will draw on both partners’ solutions and know-how to bring a flexible new computing platform, with AI capabilities, to the embedded electronics markets. Dolphin Design has integrated several hardware IP, developed by CEA-List, into its Chameleon and Raptor product portfolio. CEA-List researchers continue to deploy and expand their N2D2 deep learning platform to improve processing efficiency and reduce the power consumption of systems that integrate the PNeuro® hardware accelerator.

PNeuro® is a single instruction, multiple data (SIMD), low footprint, programmable accelerator from CEA-List that will enable Dolphin Design to add AI capabilities to the low power Chameleon and Raptor products. Chameleon is an event-based MCU subsystem platform embedding several standard peripherals, an autonomous DMA, a fined-grained power management unit and a PNeuro® with 32 processing elements. Raptor is a programmable hardware accelerator specialized in NN (Neural Network) inference and vision processing, which includes a host core, a DMA, and a PNeuro® with 128 processing elements. With Chameleon and Raptor, Dolphin Design will cover a wide range of AI low power applications.

Moreover, by expanding CEA-List’s N2D2 tool features to PNeuro® architecture support, CEA provide a powerful and independent deep neural network platform, dedicated to embedded applications design for Chameleon and Raptor product users. N2D2 is able to generate the optimized PNeuro® program directly from the user’s high-level neural network application and is compliant with the ONNX exchange format readily available in all major deep learning frameworks. It also integrates advanced quantization technics that fully leverage the lower-precision PNeuro® core to keep the best applicative performance with reduced circuit area and power footprint. For a complete interoperability of the Deep Learning models, developments are planned to improve the standard ONNX support in N2D2 in order to add it to the list of ONNX compliant Machine Learning frameworks to increase the market reach for Raptor and Chameleon with mini-Raptor.

Finally, by combining both CEA’s PNeuro® Virtual model and SESAM / VPSim Virtual prototyping tool, Dolphin Design can improve design quality, performance and reliability, explore designs faster, and start Software development earlier in the design process.

PNeuro® accelerator, N2D2 DNN framework and SESAM/VPSim Virtual prototyping tools significantly consolidate the differentiating position of Dolphin Design’s Chameleon and Raptor products by combining low power efficiency with area metrics and other tools to ease and improve Dolphin customers’ development times.

For 2021, the partners have set their sights on a demo chip build on 22 nm FDSOI technology, and a software generation flow that Dolphin Design’s customers can use to develop energy- and resource-efficient applications.

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01 juillet 2021 | Programme « Confiance.ai »

Programme « Confiance.ai » : un collectif de 13 industriels et académiques français relève le défi de l’industrialisation de l’intelligence artificielle (IA) pour les produits et services critiques.

Les « Grands Défis » sont des programmes publics d’investissement qui visent à développer des technologies et innovations de rupture à fort impact social et économique. Le Grand Défi « Sécuriser, fiabiliser et certifier des systèmes fondés sur l’intelligence artificielle » a pour objectif de construire les outils garantissant la confiance placée dans les produits et services intégrant l’intelligence artificielle (IA) et entend ainsi fournir un cadre « technique » à la future proposition de réglementation européenne sur l’IA.

Demain, les technologies d’IA de confiance seront au centre de la conception et de la production de produits et services majeurs et variés comme le véhicule autonome, l’aéronautique de dernière génération, l’industrie 4.0, l’énergie ou la défense.

Doté d’un budget de 45 M€ sur la période 2021 – 2024, Confiance.ai ambitionne, grâce à un collectif de 13 partenaires industriels et académiques français majeurs, de créer une plateforme d’outils logiciels permettant l’intégration d’IA dans des produits ou services critiques, c’est-à-dire dont les accidents, les pannes ou les erreurs pourraient avoir des conséquences graves sur les personnes et les biens.

Confiance.ai mobilise l’expertise française en intelligence artificielle, mais aussi en ingénierie et en sureté de fonctionnement, pour offrir aux industriels des solutions leur permettant de développer de nouveaux produits et services à base d’IA de confiance, répondant ainsi à des enjeux majeurs autant sociétaux qu’en termes de compétitivité économique et de souveraineté.

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