I had several opportunities to visit the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) to discuss scientific and technical collaborations in the field of Big Data.
EPFL is one of the worldwide most renown engineering schools/university, with world-class researchers. Big Data is no exception. EPFL (and Switzerland in general) knows how to attract the best brains from the most diverse countries in the world.
On my latest visit I discussed collaboration opportunities in the field of data ethics, gouvernance, GDPR and cryptography and found myself not far away from the building where EPFL displays its most prominant project : the Venice Time Machine project and and the blue brain project. The EPFL has probably invested a few millions in a brand new building (the Art Lab), opened at the end of 2016 to promote those two projects among others. Immersive video is used for the Venice Time Machine project to show the visitor how Big Data technology can be used to trace back the history of city like Venice. Algorithms are used to scan and retrieve texts from 80km of archives accumulated along 1000 years and make those archives searchable. For those of you who speak French, have a look at this video by Swiss public broadcaster RTS on the project.
At the time of my visit the EPFL also hosted an Art exhibition dedicated to French painter Pierre Soulages. This exhibition represents really what museums of tomorrow may look like. The exhibition starts for instance with a Virtual Reality booth where you can get into one painting and discover the richness of the applied black patterns, see the structure of the black paint and better understand the concept of “Outrenoir” that Soulages invented in 1979. The visitor can also explore the effects of lights on the painting, which is the very principle Soulages based Outrenoir upon. The startup ARTMYN developped a process of scanning and rendering which allows visitors to explore the topography of the painting. The result is amazing and perfectly adapted to the work of Soulages.