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Soon, the number of connected objects will exceed the number of people on earth

Smart buildings

France’s scientific highest distinction, the CNRS Gold Medal, was awarded in 2014 to Gérard Berry, a 65 year old computer science expert specialized in the Internet of Things who holds, since 2012, the “Algorithms, Machines and Languages” chair at the Collège de France where he gives a cycle of 5 lectures, free of charge and open to all

Gérard Berry, a graduate from École Polytechnique, engineer from the Corps des Mines and former Research Director at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA)- has a passion: talking to objects to obtain better reactions from them with ever increased safety and reliability. This pioneer in “connected objects” which, today, globally refers to all the devices connected to a network, has a secret weapon: he creates languages. Computers, phones, televisions, planes, trains, cars, household appliances… all of them listen to him, understand and obey him. Yes, even planes! In fact, the first language he developed, Esterel, specialized in the synchronization of tasks found pioneer applications in aeronautics and is at the core of industrial innovations in companies such as Dassault Aviation, ST Microelectronics and Texas Instruments. Gérard Berry -who never runs out of projects- now dedicates his time to the development of HipHop, a new programming language adapted to embedded systems that aims at coordinating the complex and hardly predictable behaviours of a network of devices.

“Soon, the number of connected objects will exceed the number of people on earth. We are witnessing an invasion of (electronic) chips!” says with a mischievous smile the researcher – member of the French Scientific Academy- who uses pedagogy and humour as intellectual weapons. To all his different audiences such as the enthusiastic adults of the Collège de France -where G. Berry holds the first computer and digital sciences chair, created in 2012 – or the young children he has been meeting for many years in Montessori schools, this brilliant researcher delivers his creed: the world is becoming digital and everyone should, from a very young age, be educated and trained to this science “which is not limited to the keyboard and screen of a computer”. Formal treatment of programming languages, relationships with mathematical logic, real-time and parallel programming, integrated circuit design, formal program verifications… all of these activities with complex designations are now part of our everyday life, says the multi-awarded researcher who admits to a constant yet surprising source of inspiration: The Shadoks. “Despite their extremely limited mental capacities, the Shadoks have an extremely large vision of science”, he says. “Which proves that we can go very far! Also the paradoxical logic of the Shadoks pushes our reflection to its utmost limits!


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Explicit methods for exploration of states / transitions (March 25, 2015)

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Source: Hugo Whitemore