Cybersecurity, microfluidics and quantum processors … the best techno of the week

This week, many of you have read our article on the desire to expand in the Grand-Est region of Wallix, one of the French cybersecurity pioneers. Our article on microfluidic innovations at HP also caught your attention. Just like the 2020 edition of the Teratec Forum and its workshop, which is dedicated to the various qubit technologies in the competition to manufacture the first quantum processors.

Wallix, from Brittany to the Grand Est

Wallix is ​​already well established in Brittany and now wants to build an industrial cybersecurity center in the Grand-Est. In the future, this project could be part of the national cyber campus project, which will be launched in September 2021 at a first location in La Défense and later at a second on the Satory plateau.

Microfluidics: HP wants to weigh up in pharmacy and medicine

On the occasion of its innovation summit, which took place online on October 15, the printing specialist HP highlighted its innovation in microfluidics. A skill that could open up the field of health and biotechnology further.

Quantum: Qubit technologies are exhibited in the Teratec forum

The 2020 edition of the Teratec Forum, which took place entirely online on October 13th and 14th, devoted an entire workshop to the presentation of the various qubit technologies that are competing to manufacture the first quantum processors. Good news: the French are very prominent in some of them. Overview.

Carbon nanotubes: from supercapacitors to batteries

Nawatechnologies is known for its carbon nanotube supercapacitors. These nanotubes could soon be used in lithium-ion battery electrodes to improve their performance and prepare for “all-solid” generations and beyond. In any case, this is what the promising results of the first prototypes suggest, says Pascal Boulanger, founder and technical director of the Aix en Provence company.

Bosch Rexroth is renewing its automation range

With the ctrlX automation platform, which consists of new hardware and software modules, Bosch Rexroth is renewing its automation components that are 15 years and older. This October 9 announcement has two goals: to promote the modularity and flexibility of the automation functions and to open up as many communication protocols as possible.


Autonomous vehicle: missions that adapt to the terrain

One bird in hand is worth two in the bush. For almost all players, the time has passed when Gascons promised – like the one Elon Musk affirmed in July – to see a 100% autonomous vehicle in 2020. Now it’s about developing products. and services that rely on limited autonomy. A less ambitious goal, but one that could lead to offers[…]Read the article


Ifpen focuses on high performance computing to develop design methods that lower the cost of floating wind turbines

IFP Energies nouvelles (Ifpen) announced on October 20 that it had used the Grand National Equipment for Intensive Computing (Genci) Jean Zay supercomputer to simulate the behavior of a floating structure for offshore wind turbines. The Institute for Scientific Computer Development and Resources (Idris) delivered 6 million hours of computers over 5 days – the equivalent of 80 years of computers on a standard computer. These hours, achieved through a call for projects, allowed Ifpen to further study the behavior and lifespan of floating offshore wind turbines and pave the way for new design methods.

Overcome the uncertainties of traditional methods

“The aim of these simulations is to reduce conservatism and thus costs, which are usually due to uncertainties,” emphasizes Vincent Le Corre, wind project manager at Ifpen. In other words, the goal is to avoid oversizing the floats, as is generally the case, in order to overcome the limitations of traditional simulation approaches. The latter have access to limited computation volumes and generally resort to simplifications when selecting the environmental conditions considered representative – swell, wind, currents. However, the marine environment is complex.

“This is the first time that we have examined the behavior of floating wind turbines with a comprehensive set of data related to their surroundings in order to get the most accurate answer possible,” explains Le Corre. This gave us a benchmark we needed to develop innovative design methods. “”

Dynamically selected environmental conditions

These new design methods are cost-effective in terms of computing time and are based on “adaptive test plans”. This means that the environmental conditions for the calculation are chosen dynamically rather than a priori. The idea is that after the first calculation results, the environmental conditions adapt to those where the uncertainties are greatest in order to carry out more calculations there. “With these methods we can find the right compromise between the most common regimes (swell, wind, currents), where damage is generally low, and the rarer regimes, where damage is greater,” adds Le Corre.

These supercomputing simulations were carried out with the Deeplines Wind software, which Ifpen developed together with the Principia company. The TLP float tight line platform developed with SBM Offshore served as a model. This was chosen by EDF Renouvelables in particular to equip the pilot wind farm off Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Goal: 80 to 100 euros per megawatt hour

“The results of our calculations on Jean Zay have confirmed the very high quality of behavior of this swimmer,” assures Le Corre. The flotation elements held by taut anchor lines are under water and are pulled very firmly to the surface. “This creates great stability and very little movement in the nacelle,” he continues. This disrupts production very little and tires all components at the turbine level much less. “”

However, for the development of future commercial floating wind farms, the need to reduce costs goes beyond the float, concludes Le Corre: “It certainly does represent a significant cost, but the challenge is to make the entire sector competitive. According to WindEurope, the goal is to achieve an electricity price of 80 to 100 euros per megawatt hour for the first European commercial farms by 2023-2025. In order to optimize the designs, the calculations have not yet been completed.


“The bar was set too high, but the entire ecosystem was awakened,” said Fawzi Nashashibi (Inria).

Fawzi Nashashibi, Coordinator of the Inria White Paper on Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, believes the time has come for pragmatism. Although tremendous progress has been made, theoretical and practical challenges remain.

Waymo, Ford, Tesla and many others promised robot taxis and other autonomous cars on our roads in 2020-2021. How about today

Things are clear: there is no use of autonomous vehicles. What is best done today is what is referred to as Level 2 or 3, such as adaptive cruise control. That means an average degree of automation. It’s not really autonomy. The promise of an autonomous car for Mr. Everyone was not kept. The bar was set too high and too early. There was one outlier triggered by IT giants Google at the top. By getting in the car, they pushed the traditional manufacturers. Concerned that these powerful players are invading their flower beds and claiming to be drivers in addition to their design, manufacturers have started the race for autonomy. Also through the multiplication of promises and beautiful demonstrators.

Why was the bar too high?

First, there are technical difficulties. It is important to understand that driving safely in the city is a very complex task considering other cars, bikes, pedestrians, etc. And even though the American suburbs or the freeway are simpler environments, there is basically still a bottleneck: the limited reliability in detecting and recognizing objects and obstacles with neural networks. Nobody can yet guarantee 100% detection, especially by limiting false alarms at the same time. But it’s not just the technical aspect. Autonomous cars raise a variety of ethics, law, certification, maintenance, infrastructure issues. Its complexity has probably been underestimated.

Autonomy has fallen like a breath now?

Not at all! Failure to keep promises doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress. On the contrary: enormous progress has been made and we are making further progress. In addition, the past boom has had a positive effect on the mobilization of everyone involved, from authorities to project developers, from insurers to infrastructure operators. A whole ecosystem was awakened. Amsterdam Declaration [signée par les ministres des transports de l’UE en 2016, ndlr] encourages nations to support the development of autonomous vehicles and laws such as the Pact Law have been passed in France to allow experimentation in a real-world environment. Jobs have been created and autonomous vehicle development will continue in the future, even if it is not done with the same passion and pace.

What is the state of mind among those developing autonomous vehicles? Are we facing new, unsustainable promises?



A more stable and brighter blue quantum dot LED

On October 14th, Korean researchers from Samsung published an article in Nature magazine about the development of new nanoparticles for a blue quantum dot light-emitting diode (QD-LED). The red and green QD LEDs have good lifetimes and luminosity, but the blue ones are less efficient. This article, entitled “Efficient and stable light-emitting diode with blue quantum dots”, is a step towards improving the properties of blue QD LEDs.

Although QD LEDs are not yet on the market, Samsung has announced that it will use this technology “in the near future” for these screens. Current QLED displays do not use QD LEDs. These are liquid crystal screens that are backlit by white LEDs. A filter based on quantum dots[…]


Qualcomm is accelerating its virtual and augmented reality program for industry

With the expansion of teleworking and the proliferation of telemedicine, Qualcomm is accelerating in virtual and augmented reality for businesses. The San Diego company used its 5G summit to announce that its XR Enterprise (XEP) program has doubled its supplier list, which now has more than 60 members.

Like what Google is doing with Google Glass or in France with the start-up SkyReal, this program aims to offer companies and industries solutions in the fields of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented (AR) in different sectors (architecture, construction, Manufacturing, energy, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, retail, etc.) to solve production, industrial process or maintenance problems faster and cheaper.

Among the newcomers, we particularly find the American specialist in the Internet of Things (IoT) dedicated to industry, PTC. “Technologies like IoT and Augmented Reality are essential for industry to transform and operate at the highest levels of efficiency,” said Mike Campbell, general manager of Vuforia Business, PTC. Connecting with other members of the Qualcomm XEP ecosystem will drive the adoption of an improved, affordable, and responsive IoT environment management system. “”

Telemedicine, e-learning and teleworking in virtual and augmented reality

The Qualcomm XEP program was unveiled a year ago at the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2019. For example, a player like Mitchell International was able to develop Mitchell Intelligent Vision, the first hands-free system for VR and AR dedicated to the vehicle repair process that runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile XR Platform. Other Qualcomm XEP partners, the telemedicine specialist XRHealth and the provider of virtual and augmented reality solutions for education, VictoryXR, were integrated into the catalog of the American Pico Interactive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spatial, which connects colleagues in a virtual 3D work environment, should launch its XR Viewers headsets in 2021, which are compatible with a 5G smartphone equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip. Deutsche Telekom, KDDI and LG are interested. “This expanded line of innovations in VR and AR will be a key element in meeting the increased demands of businesses for remote working, professional training, education and learning, data visualization and health,” said Brian Vogelsang, Qualcomm product manager, in a statement.


Total presents its research on the use of quantum computers during the quantum computer in Paris-Saclay

The big consumers of intensive computers are gradually beginning the quantum adventure. And with good reason, with the acceleration of the race for quantum processors led by Google, IBM and Intel, according to Atos, quantum chips could be carried out by 2023, making it possible to radically accelerate certain calculations.

Total is represented at the online event “Quantum Computing in Paris-Saclay” on October 20th and is one of the first users of quantum. Marko Rancic, head of quantum computers at Total, explained how the French energy giant was already experimenting with quantum computers to solve four challenges, which were divided into three sub-projects within the company: combinatorial optimization to achieve his goal of “CO2-free emissions” by 2050 (trajectory of entire vehicles, production planning, optimization of the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, etc.), the solving of physical equations and the modeling of chemical systems and materials (CO2 capture, batteries, hydrogen storage, etc.).

Quantum Annealing Machines for Optimization

“We have made good progress in using quantum annealing machines to improve optimization tasks,” begins Marko Rancic. In this area we have an agreement with the American start-up QCWare [qui fournit des couches logicielles pour l’utilisation d’algorithmes quantiques émulés sur des calculateurs dans le cloud, ndlr]. “”

Far from universal quantum computers, these machines make it possible to find the absolute minimum of a function within a range of possible solutions, possibly very large, but still finite, by using a computation based on quantum fluctuations instead of the classical computation. “Today we are in talks with the Canadian start-up Xanadu, Google and the French start-up Pasqal to get direct access to their machines. “”

Quantum Computing provides better machine learning performance 96% of the time

In particular, this latest collaboration with Pasqal, who is developing a quantum computer based on cold atoms, should enable Total to test its own graph partitioning algorithm, an optimization method derived from graph theory. This algorithm was developed by an intern for six months and the work should be continued internally by a PhD student thanks to the funding the French company received under the European NEASQ project, part of the Horizon 2020 program.

The company goes even further by combining quantum machines and an optimization algorithm with machine learning. “Using quantum resources is expensive,” admits Marko Rancic. However, they are particularly convincing when using machine learning algorithms: in 96% of the cases, our machine learning algorithms performed better with the quantum computers we used than with classic computers. The company started this research in mid-2019 with one PhD student and a second joined in April 2020.

The MOF-5 lane for capturing CO2

The second major axis of investigation in Quantum for Total concerns chemical modeling. On the one hand, the company is modeling new methods for capturing CO2. And especially given the use of MOF-5, “a porous material that we want to use as a filter to capture CO2,” said the engineer. This is the subject of a two-year partnership with the British start-up Cambridge Quantum Computing, which enables the connection between the quantum algorithms developed by an end customer and the basic building blocks of the Qiskit quantum software infrastructure. , made available as open source by IBM.

On the other hand, Saft, a subsidiary of Total, is researching new materials to develop new generation batteries. For this purpose, the company is working on its own implementations of well-known quantum algorithms such as Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE) and Imaginary Time Evolution (ITE) and testing them on the Quantum Learning Machine (QLM), an emulator of the quantum processor from Atos, the Total, a premium Member of the quantum program of the French digital giant, installed at the Pau site.


In simulation, artificial intelligence and sensors promote the circular economy

Will new technologies help recycling and building a circular economy? This was the question behind the “Science in the Service of Industry” event organized by Dassault Systèmes on October 20th and attended by many scientific managers from large companies online. It is part of a series of four conferences as part of the annual Science in the Age of Experience meeting.

On this occasion, Dassault Systèmes focused on the discussion about the circular economy and the challenges to be overcome in order to establish it. The presentations by David Clark, Vice President for Sustainable Development at packaging manufacturer Amcor and Sébastien Flichy, Director of Innovation, Evaluation and Marketing at Veolia, focused on the contribution of digital technologies to better design products and making them easier to recycle.

Cut down on complex plastics

Omnipresent, when we approach the concept of circular economy, the question of plastic has been raised from the start. “Plastic pollution is a big problem, we can’t deny it,” says David Clark. “But it is a material that has enormous advantages for preserving products. And it is difficult to do without it and find relevant alternatives. “

To back up his argument, David Clark provides a non-source histogram that shows that alternative solutions can even increase environmental costs by a factor of four, be it in terms of impact on food crops or the degradation of biodegradable plastics. “Methane generator.” “The performance and durability of petroleum-based plastics work against them when it comes to the end of their life,” adds David Clark. “The most important solution is to learn how to better recycle them. “

Simulation to improve the packaging properties

The Amcor Group has set itself the goal of making 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025. A commitment that requires a thorough review of the way packaging is designed. In the line of sight, so-called complex packaging, which consists of several layers of different materials, each offering properties. “We want to limit the number of materials in our packaging. However, if we remove a functional layer and thus a property, we have to compensate for this loss by acting on the design of the packaging. “

In order to revise its designs, especially with regard to the mechanical properties, Amcor has equipped itself with a simulation system with which the behavior of its packaging can be quickly tested under certain conditions. “It’s a valuable tool for quickly assessing the relevance of a design and testing new things,” says David Clark. “This enables us to achieve our goal of making our products recyclable.”

A battery of technologies for recycling

This is what recyclers like Veolia expect. “Recycling is a real necessity today. There is strong regulatory pressure in this direction. But there is still too little recycled plastic today, ”said Sébastien Flichy from Veolia. The group has made solid investments in research and development to develop new technologies: the TSA2 (Self-Adaptive Sequential Sorting) sorting system, whose sensors allow all synthetic resins to be sorted automatically and waste to be sorted manually by the operator via a Tablet and a robot system equipped with Max AI. The latter is equipped with artificial intelligence and can recognize and sort complex waste.

According to Sébastien Flichy, despite the technologies now ready for use, there is still considerable room for improvement in order to achieve a circular economy. “Most products are not intended to be recycled. The end of life is not sufficiently taken into account in product design. Designers and recyclers need to have more dialogue and, above all, promote data exchange in order to offer the best solutions, ”he concludes.


Autonomous car: from failure to a new beginning

The autonomous car promised for 2020 is not here. Cooled by technical, legal and regulatory difficulties, the sector is reorganizing and moving more modestly. It can build on the tremendous advances that have been made. Where are the self-driving cars? They should start multiplying on our streets from 2019 and especially this year following the promises of Tesla, Uber.[…]Read the article


The “Smartship” program is showing its first demonstrators for intelligent ships at Euronaval

Will digital technologies make sailors obsolete in the near future? “It’s not for now. However, robot solutions are developing rapidly, ”replies Marc Battais, Smartship, Robotics and Digital Officer of the Mediterranean Cluster.

On the occasion of the Euronaval 2020 trade fair, which will take place in a virtual format from October 19-25, the Toulon Cluster for Competitiveness in Marine Technologies has published an update on its “Smartship” program.

This initiative was launched in late 2018 by the Strategic Committee of the Maritime Sector as part of an innovative call for projects (API) and aims to integrate new information technologies and robotics into the maritime sector. In 2019, a Mobilization of Interest (AMI) was required for the first time to identify a certain number of projects.

Techno stones for the ship of the future

“We rely on three main areas: IoT and the digital twin of the ship, the augmented seaman and finally robotics and the autonomous ship,” explains Marc Battais. “The aim is to build safer and more efficient ships both economically and ecologically.”

Several projects identified as part of this “Smartship” program resulted in demonstrators between the end of 2019 and 2020, which the competition cluster proposed during the Euronaval:

Seanet 3.0: This robotic solution from IADYS (Interactive Autonomous Dynamic Systems) aims to collect waste and pollution on the surface of water in a completely autonomous way. Passion (for Integrated Operation and Navigation Gateway): This project, carried out by the companies IXBlue, CS-Group and Diadès-Marine, as well as the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Maritime (ENSM), aims to carry out a project to bridge the ship of the future. A joint augmented reality system makes it possible to place a filmed representation of the environment with important information for navigation and anti-collision. It has been designed to be visible to all operators on the bridge. A demonstrator was tested for the first time at the end of 2019. DIUSV: This is a UPS robot (for unmanned surface ships) from which an electric underwater observation robot can be used automatically. This is remotely controlled and can carry out monitoring operations on certain systems, e.g. B. offshore wind farms. The project is led by the engineering office Technip FMC. SeaOwl: Is worn by the company of the same name. This is a 5 million euro project to create a fully remote controlled ship. A demonstration took place on September 10th: a captain was able to steer a tow in the port of Toulon from a command post in the premises of the polytechnic school in Palaiseau (Essonne), ie 800 kilometers away.

The Mediterranean Pole will close a new AMI on November 7th. After the selection by the Corimer (Research and Innovation Committee of the Maritime Industry), the selected projects can receive the identification of the cluster for the integration of the “Smartship” program.

“These AMIs should be continued with an appeal every year,” explains Marc Battais. “Today there is a real appetite for digital solutions in the maritime sector, an aspect where we have lagged a little.” Manufacturers are reacting today. “