[IPAL ANNIVERSARY] 25 years of Franco-Singaporean collaboration in the service of scientific research in computer science

Signing Ceremony IPAL2

Source: https://www.ins2i.cnrs.fr/en/node/3410 (french version only)

The Image and Pervasive Access Lab (IPAL – CNRS/A*Star/National University of Singapore) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, marking a quarter-century of remarkable contributions across various research domains. Since its inception in 2007, following initial collaborations dating back to 1998 involving CNRS, the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (AStar), IPAL has played a pivotal role in the advancement of computer science research and subsequently, artificial intelligence in Singapore.



Beginnings, Growth, and International Collaborations

The IPAL’s story began in 1998 when exchanges commenced with the aim of facilitating joint research projects between CNRS, NUS, and AStar. Evolving rapidly, this initiative became a CNRS research group in 2000 and eventually attained the status of an International Research Laboratory (IRL), one of the highest levels of international collaboration with CNRS, in January 2007. This agreement, initially signed for a four-year term, involves CNRS Computer Science, AStar (through the I2R Institute), NUS (through the School of Computing), and the University of Grenoble-Alpes. It was renewed in 2011 and 2015, with additional partners such as Mines Telecom Institute and Sorbonne University.

This program commences in 2021 and is overseen by CNRS, A*Star, and NUS, in collaboration with the University of Toulouse 3, INP Toulouse, and the University of Cergy-Paris. This multidisciplinary collaboration demonstrates IPAL’s ongoing commitment to promote artificial intelligence research and strengthen ties between the French and Singaporean scientific communities.

Major Achievements and Future Projects

Over its 25 years of existence, IPAL has undertaken collaborative research projects leading to numerous co-supervised doctoral theses and international publications, as well as applications in various sectors such as healthcare, transportation, finance, and education.

As IPAL celebrates a quarter-century of success, the lab is firmly focused on the future. Led by Christophe Jouffrais, CNRS research director, IPAL aims to provide lasting benefits to the French and Singaporean computer science research communities, with the following key strengths:

  • A research hub based in Singapore to connect computer science researchers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Europe.
  • The establishment of a common academic base linked to computer science and technology research, encompassing high-quality international publications, innovative research prototypes, research contracts, copyrights, and patents.
  • An incubation space for future French and European leaders in research and industry who wish to contribute to the dynamism of Southeast Asia.
  • Research and development support for French and European industries interested in developing and providing innovative services or advanced technologies in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

IPAL: A Pillar of CNRS@CREATE’s DesCartes Program

The IPAL laboratory also plays a significant role in the DesCartes program, an initiative led by CNRS@CREATE, the first international subsidiary of CNRS based in Singapore. Launched at the end of 2021, this ambitious 5-year project aims to develop innovative hybrid AI for smart cities, facilitating optimal decision-making in complex urban systems. IPAL explores various themes within this program, including:

  • Explainable and reliable AI, which seeks to create understandable and secure AI models and systems, crucial in critical security systems.
  • AI and human-machine interaction (human-machine symbiosis, human augmentation, etc.), aiming to leverage synergies between AI and the system user through tailored and intelligent interfaces and technologies to enhance human cognition.
  • Natural language processing, focusing on the role of context in various application frameworks, such as multilingual information extraction on social networks or sentiment and emotion analysis.
  • Data science and its applications, as well as computational enhancement of AI through neuromorphic techniques.

Through its various ambitions and multidisciplinary research, the lab expresses its commitment to fostering innovation in AI and contributing to the development of intelligent, inclusive, and resilient cognitive technologies.