The Artificial intelligence for science, science for artificial intelligence (AISSAI) center

As part of its strategic plan on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) has launched its AI for Science and Science for AI (AISSAI) Center. The main objective of this center is to structure and organize transverse actions including all CNRS institutes that interact with AI.

Logo AISSAI

 

About the AISSAI Center

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of research in its own right, but it can also accelerate scientific discovery in many fields, provided that it fosters closer ties between different scientific communities. Because of its national and multidisciplinary scope, as well as its international standing, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) plays a driving role in promoting these interactions between different fields of research. As they are not only related to the assimilation of AI methods (in particular, machine learning), they are also necessary for the removal of barriers specific to this field related to strategic subjects such as explainability, the incorporation of expert knowledge, and frugality.

 

The center's mission

In order to further support interdisciplinarity related to AI, a collective reflection was initiated, which led to the outlining of an interdisciplinary center for AI (AI for Sciences, Sciences for AI). This center has received strong support from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESRI) through the Investment for the Future Program (PIA).

As a visibility factor for the CNRS's positioning regarding AI, the center's vocation is to organize thematic programs and working groups on multidisciplinary subjects for which data science is important (related to cutting-edge subjects at the heart of AI), training related to AI for researchers from different communities, as well as events such as workshops, webinars, or hackathons.

The center will also function as an incubator for projects, with fellowships, researcher invitations, and personnel funding (possibly through calls from the Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives). It will also aim at building links between AI and our society. This means supporting both the advancement of AI research and the integration of AI into research practices.

The exchanges that took place throughout 2021 have made it possible to organise an initial program structured around various themes in 2022 and 2023.

At the same time, a call for projects "AI for Sciences and Sciences for AI” has been launched by the Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives in order to support projects on the theme of AI which expect to include multidisciplinary teams.

The Center's governance

The operational management of the center is accomplished by an executive committee assisted by a project manager, Amanda Smith. This committee regularly consults the center’s steering committee, which composed of representatives from each CNRS institute. An international Scientific advisory board also plays a role in the center’s operations.

The International Scientific Advisory Board

In order to increase the center’s visibility on an international level, an international scientific committee has been organized. This committee will meet once or twice a year in order to make proposals regarding the strategy and scientific orientations of the center.

The Executive Committee

  • Jalal Fadili, professor at the National Graduate School of Engineering and Research Center of Caen (ENSICAEN) and project manager at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)
  • Gabriel Peyré, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Applications (DMA) at the École normale supérieure, Paris
  • Jamal Atif, professor at Paris Dauphine University and project manager at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)
  • Alexandre Legris, professor at the University of Lille and deputy scientific director at the CNRS Institute of Chemistry (INC)

The Steering Committee

  • Claudine Médigue, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)
  • Jean-Louis Vercher, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)
  • Alexandre Legris, professor at the University of Lille and deputy scientific director at the CNRS Institute of Chemistry (INC)
  • Vincent Miele, research engineer at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE)
  • Alexandre Gefen, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (INSHS)
  • Fabien Godeferd, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences (INSIS)
  • François James, professor at the University of Orléans and deputy scientific director of the National Institute for Mathematical Sciences and their Interactions (INSMI CNRS)
  • Gabriel Peyré, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Applications (DMA) at the École normale supérieure, Paris
  • Laurent Lellouch, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute of Physics (INP)
  • Jamal Atif, professor at Paris Dauphine University and project manager at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)
  • Jalal Fadili, professor at the National Graduate School of Engineering and Research Center of Caen (ENSICAEN) and project manager at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)
  • Sébastien Incerti, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3)
  • Maryvonne Gérin, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)
  • Jean-Pierre Vilotte, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)
  • Martina Knoop, senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives (MITI)
  • Arnaud Lalo, research engineer at the CNRS Research Office (DGDS)

Events

Drawing upon the multidisciplinary experience and proven organization of the CNRS, the aim of the AISSAI center is to foster dialogue between disciplines through several programs:

  • Thematic programs. Several are currently being organised, including statistical physics and machine learning, causal learning and inference. Others are to come ;
  • Fellowships and visiting researchers. A call will be launched soon ;
  • Training sessions, such as the Les Houches School of Physics ;
  • Hosting multidisciplinary teams ;
  • Acting as a project incubator.

Thematic programs

The AISSAI center will be a place of cross-fertilization between AI and science in all of its forms. Thematic programs, intitially lasting for one month, will be one of the main pillars of the scientific activity of this center. These programs are selected for their scientific excellence, their thematic relevance to the center's objectives, and their transdisciplinary, unifying and innovative characteristics.                                                                    

The main objective of the thematic programs is to develop, over a period of one to three months, an in-depth reflection on an existing or future research topic at the interface between AI and one or more other scientific disciplines. The program must be connected with the center’s other scientific activities, particularly with fellowship holders and their teams.

AI and Causality

For more information about the thematic program AI and Causality (coming soon)

Fields of Research

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of research in its own right, but it can also accelerate scientific discovery in many fields, provided that it fosters closer ties between different scientific communities. Because of its national and multidisciplinary scope, as well as its international standing, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) must play a driving role in promoting these interactions between different fields of research. As they are not only related to the assimilation of AI methods (in particular, machine learning), they are also necessary for the removal of barriers specific to this field related to strategic subjects such as explainability, the incorporation of expert knowledge, and frugality.

AI is certainly transforming our societies, but AI, as a knowledge discovery paradigm, is also impacting the way research is produced across disciplines. AI methods, in particular Machine Learning, represent today an important challenge for modeling increasingly complex and multiscale systems, as well as exploiting the massive increase in flows, volumes and the diversity of multi-source data from large instruments, observation systems, experimental platforms, etc. They are leading to new research practices whose level of maturity and organization varies greatly from one discipline to another, as well as new needs in terms of expertise and international collaborations.  Within the CNRS, AI methods are now being deployed very rapidly in the context of major research infrastructures and national and international experimental platforms that the CNRS supports or to which it contributes (for instance, in biology, high-energy physics, climate modeling, etc.). The very aim of the AISSAI Center is to foster dialogue between disciplines, to address new scientific questions and to establish radically new modes of collaboration between scientific fields.

Contact

Contact the AISSAI center

Contact

Amanda Smith
Project manager of the AISSAI center