AI, cybersecurity and quantum, new themes of the EDF-INRIA partnership which aims to accelerate the energy transition

The EDF group and INRIA, the national research institute for digital sciences and technologies, signed an agreement in 2016 which led them to collaborate on around thirty projects. It is on the occasion of the Salon VivaTech 2022 that they announced their intention to strengthen their scientific and technological partnership. While certain themes such as scientific computing, imaging and optimization have been at the center of various collaborations, while numerical simulation is currently the subject of the joint IDEFIX project team launched in 2021, new themes such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity or quantum are added to this strategic partnership.

The EDF group is an integrated energy company, present in all business lines: generation, transmission, distribution, trading, energy sales and energy services. Leader in low-carbon energies in the world, with 90% carbon-free electricity, it has developed a diversified production mix based mainly on nuclear and renewable energy, including hydropower. Its mission is to build a CO2-neutral energy future that reconciles the preservation of the planet, well-being and development, thanks to electricity and innovative solutions and services.

The group relies daily on strong R&D to improve its performance in all its activities and prepare for the future by working on breakthrough technologies. EDF’s R&D covers all trades and activities in the energy sector, which is why it also carries out research for external, academic or industrial sponsors.

The EDF-INRIA partnership

EDF R&D and Inria have been working together since 2016 to meet the challenges of energy transition, which has already given rise to more than thirty joint projects.

The two players renewed their partnership at the Viva Technology exhibition and identified new research themes covering a wide range of digital issues:

  • Be at the forefront of mathematical optimization techniques to respond to the major operational issues of the organization and management of industrial assets in the electrical system such as energy management, schedules, etc.
  • Organize and manage the electrical systems of tomorrow.
  • Master the best simulation techniques (physics, AI, etc.) and data management.
  • Effectively design and implement high-performance digital twins.
  • Open up new technological opportunities through the hybridization of AI and simulation.
  • Anticipate and then qualify the means of calculation of tomorrow, in particular quantum computing.
  • Integrate AI technologies, while ensuring a sober, controlled and responsible use of these technologies.
  • Increase the resilience of energy systems in terms of cybersecurity.

Bernard Salha, EDF R&D Director, said:

“The renewal of our partnership with this leading national research institute is part of a well-established, trusted, long-term collaboration. »

Bruno Sportisse, Chairman and CEO of Inria, said:

“This partnership with EDF, a major French industrial player for our energy sovereignty, is key for Inria. It is part of our proactive impact policy aimed at the French industrial fabric. »

IDEFIX: the first joint EDF-INRIA project team

IDEFIX, the first joint project team of this partnership, was created in 2021 and brings together scientists from the Inria Saclay Center, the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris) and EDF R&D scientists.

It is made up of four Inria researchers, four EDF researchers and a research engineer from IP Paris, an expert in software development for the simulation of sound phenomena and in HPC calculation. It is co-directed by Houssem Haddar, Inria Research Director, and Lorenzo Audibert, whose thesis he supervised, currently R&D project manager at EDF.

The IDEFIX project-team works on numerous imaging applications using X-rays, radar (electromagnetic) and sonar (ultrasonic). Research focuses, among other things, on biomedical imaging, sound guidance, sound modeling in virtual reality and modeling of composite materials.

Houssem Haddar said:

“EDF is faced with a very wide variety of field issues (on dams, power plants, heat exchangers or alternators, etc.), which are all case studies that help us improve and broaden the spectrum of our methods. mathematics and numeracy aimed at solving complex and difficult inverse problems. »

Currently, IDEFIX researchers focus on everything related to the detection of cracks and the measurement of changes in physical properties, related for example to humidity or chemical reactions. They also plan to look into a certain number of problems specific to EDF, which could be studied in the future with comparable techniques, such as the modeling of dam foundations or the wear tests of certain metal components.

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AI, cybersecurity and quantum, new themes of the EDF-INRIA partnership which aims to accelerate the energy transition


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