Idiap Research Institute
|Founded||Martigny, Switzerland (1991)|
|Founder(s)||Municipality of Martigny
State of Valais
University of Geneva
|Headquarters||Centre du Parc
Rue Marconi 19
P.O. Box 592
|Key people||Hervé Bourlard (director)|
The Idiap Research Institute, based in Martigny (Valais, Switzerland), is an autonomous, independent, non-profit research foundation specialized in the management of multimedia information and man-machine multimodal interactions. The institute was founded in 1991 by the Municipality of Martigny, the State of Valais, EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), the University of Geneva and Swisscom. The Idiap Research Institute is accredited by the State and Federal Governments, and is connected to EPFL by a joint development plan (LIDIAP is the EPFL laboratory of the Idiap Research Institute).
The Idiap Research Institute's budget, which amounts to more than 9 million Swiss francs, is 60% financed by research projects awarded following competitive processes, and 40% by public funds.
Whereas it only employed around thirty people in 2001, in 2011 Idiap had around one hundred employees, including 80 researchers (senior researchers, researchers, postdoctoral students and PhD students). All the personnel work at Centre du Parc in Martigny, in the west wing. The institute moved there in August 2007. It now occupies 2,600 m2 of premises over four floors.
The Idiap Research Institute is also the Leading House of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) on Interactive Multimodal Information Management (IM)2.
- 1 Research areas
- 2 Geographical situation
- 3 The Idiap Research Institute in figures
- 4 History
- 5 Missions: Research, Education and Technology Transfer
- 6 International Create Challenge
- 7 Awards
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
Idiap's mains research areas are the following:
Perceptual and cognitive systems
speech processing; natural language understanding and translation; document and text processing; vision and scene analysis; multimodal processing; cognitive sciences
Social and human behaviour
web social media, mobile social media; social interaction sensing; social signal processing; verbal and non-verbal communication analysis
Information interfaces and presentation
multimedia information systems; user interfaces; system evaluation
Biometric user authentication
speaker identification and verification; face detection, identification and verification; multimodal biometric user authentication
statistical and neural network based machine learning; computational efficiency, targeting real-time applications; very large datasets
The Idiap Research Institute is located in Martigny, one of the main towns of the Canton of Valais, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, in the south-west of the country. In the heart of the Alps, Valais has an exceptional landscape and a pleasant microclimate, which makes it a very popular tourist destination and a very sought-after place to live.
The Idiap Research Institute in figures
14 permanent researchers
11 postdoctoral researchers
29 PhD students
9 development engineers
6 system engineers
20 interns and visitors per year
6 doctorates awarded
30 positions in start-ups on the IdeArk site 9 administrative employees 25 nationalities represented
IM2 National Centre of Competence in Research (Interactive Multimodal Information Management) since 2001.
Participation in 37 research programmes
Project management of 5 consortiums
Participation in the economic development strategy of the Canton of Valais through The Ark programme and in particular the IdeArk company
133 scientific publications Organisation of a number of international conferences
The Idiap Research Institute, located in Martigny (Switzerland) and initially referred to as “Institut Dalle Molle d’Intelligence Artificielle Perceptive” (Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence), was founded in 1991 by the Dalle Molle Foundation for the Quality of Life, the Municipality of Martigny, the Canton of Valais, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Geneva and Swisscom as the third of three independent non-profit research institutes in Switzerland:
|ISSCO, Geneva||IDSIA, Lugano||IDIAP, Martigny|
|(1973: Linguistic AI)||(1988: Cognitive AI)||(1991: Perceptual AI)|
Legally, its status as a foundation guarantees it great autonomy and gives it access to public scientific research financing while positioning it as a neutral and credible intermediary between the academic world and industry.
As its inception the Idiap Research Institute consisted of about 10 people active mainly in the field of speech recognition. A first phase of development in 1996 saw the planned withdrawal of the Dalle Molle Foundation and the arrival of the current director, Hervé Bourlard, employed at the time by an institute in Berkeley, California. After having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2001 with the granting of the National Centre of Competence in Research for Interactive Multimodal Information Management (IM)2, the years 2002 to 2004 were marked by very strong growth exemplified by the construction of a second building. A period of consolidation, in terms of personnel, infrastructure, and financing, has followed. Fifteen years after its beginnings, the Idiap Research Institute had approximately 100 employees, 85 of whom are researchers representing 23 nationalities, and among them several from the far corners of the world.
Relocation to Centre du Parc
“The current premises no longer meet our growing needs for more space.” It is in these words that Jean-Albert Ferrez, Deputy Director of the Idiap Research Institute, started his announcement about the institute’s move to the journalists at the press conference organised on 30 May 2007 at Centre du Parc. In 1991, when it was founded, the institute accommodated its 10 employees on one floor of Villa Tissières. By spring 2007, the number of employees had increased to around one hundred and occupied two floors of the villa, one floor of the UBS building and the whole of the Pavillon Dalle Molle. “This geographical dispersion was preventing social links being formed within the institute and was therefore harming the dynamics of various groups and projects” explains Jean-Albert Ferrez.
The Mayor of Martigny and President of the Idiap Foundation Council, Olivier Dumas, was aware of this problem of lack of space, and got in touch with Groupe Mutuel in Spring 2007. At this time the insurer was completing the construction of its new administrative premises in the town centre, therefore freeing up those that it was occupying, and which it owns, at Centre du Parc. Very quickly the institute’s management weighed up the advantages of a possible move. The premises can be used in their current condition, needing only some minor work, including the installation of a specific cooling system in the computer server’s room. The rented area can easily accommodate 120 people and there are many ways in which the building could be extended. The increase in support from the city of Martigny and sponsoring by Groupe Mutuel were the final incentives in convincing the institute to take the move. In August 2007, the institute moved all of its employees and activities to Centre du Parc, in the “conference” part of the building. To accompany this change of location and to symbolically mark the start of a new era, the institute has also given itself a new logo.
Idiap Research Institute and EPFL sign a joint development plan
In February 2008, through Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) announced that it was quadrupling its support to the Idiap Research Institute for the next four years (CHF 6.5 million for 2008–2011). In the institute's budget, ~75% of the resources come from projects, and only ~25% from institutional support. With this subsidy granted by the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER), the institute will be able to establish a solid financial basis.
This support was accompanied by two major conditions, granting by the Canton of Valais and the Municipality of Martigny of at least an equivalent amount for the same period, and consolidation of the partnership with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to better integrate the institute in the Swiss academic scene and offer it security for the future. The joint development plan for the 2008–2011 was signed on July 2008. The plan in question aims to further improve the integration and supervision of Idiap PhD students, increase the academic visibility of the researchers and step up exchanges between scientists from the two institutions.
In 2008, as part of the development plan signed with EPFL, the institute started to revise its organization chart, which should be completed in 2009. The scientific and administrative structures will be fleshed out, the management will include new scientific members, some of the senior researchers will benefit from EPFL academic recognition and the director will be supported by an assistant.
Missions: Research, Education and Technology Transfer
The Idiap Research Institute was created in 1991 with one very precise mission in mind: research. This mission is still at the heart of the activities of the institute. All the fundamental and applied research undertaken at the institute is aimed at facilitating man-machine interactions, as well as developing multimedia information management. The institute also supports education by offering numerous courses at universities and institutes of higher learning as well as by regularly hosting interns and young researchers working towards their doctorates. Concerned with building bridges between the sometimes hermetic research world and the more exposed world of the private economy, the institute also pursues a mission of valorization for which it can count on numerous partnerships as well as on IdeArk. This spin-off makes it possible to ensure a rapid transfer of acquired knowledge to the industrial sector and to assist in the commercial exploitation of these discoveries.
International Create Challenge
Amongst other initiatives,the Idiap Research Institute honors its mission of technology transfer by organizing and supporting, jointly with the Association Interactive Multimodal Information Management (AIM2), the International Create Challenge.
With her universities, research institutions and engineering schools ranking amongst the best worldwide, Switzerland is one of the leading innovative countries in the world. This creates a natural breeding ground for start-up activities. However, the lack of a comprehensive program that combines training, mentorship and early-stage investment stalls the progress of technology start-up creation. The International Create Challenge intends to address this gap by facilitating as well as accelerating start-up creation within the framework of the IM2/Idiap domains of research and technologies.
The formula chosen for the International Create Challenge is a 3-week immersive seed accelerator program that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to drive their projects to a minimum viable product. It is a unique program combining state-of-art technologies and cutting edge research, mentors-lead coaching, micro-seed investment and a star prize of more than CHF 100’000.- .
The ICC program wishes to accelerate the process of start-up creation. It offers a new concept in the value chain of booster programs, speeding up the timeframe from the idea consolidation and the team setup to the prototype development.
The first edition of the International was held in September 2012 in Martigny/Switzerland at the premises of the Idiap Research Institute. During three weeks, 28 participants worked on 12 projects in an atmosphere of friendly competition. In the end, six promising and very high quality projects were awarded for their efforts, the three best teams receiving a cash prize as well as the opportunity to join the IdeArk Incubator for free during three years. Furthermore, four of the ICC'2012 ventures went on to win the IMD Startup Competition 2013.
Due to the great success it encountered, the organizers (AIM2 and Idiap Research Institute) decided to make it an annual event, opening its doors every fall in the Swiss Alps.
Every year, the Idiap Research Institute grants 2 awards to its PhD students: The Idiap Paper Award and the Idiap Research Award (both equally valuable).
Notes and references
-  Research centres in Martigny
-  Fondations d'utilité publique (DFI)
-  Research centres in Valais
-  Education, research and innovation 2008–2011
-  Idiap-EPFL collaboration renforcée
-  LIDIAP
-  SNSF NCCR IM2
-  About Idiap Research Institute
-  Fondations d'utilité publique (DFI)
-  SNSF NCCR IM2
-  Idiap 2005 Annual Report
-  Idiap 2006 Annual Report
-  Idiap 2007 Annual Report
-  Le Groupe Mutuel en 2007
-  Article 16 Idiap
-  Idiap-EPFL collaboration renforcée
-  IdeArk
-  www.createchallenge.org