16 research talks

Today, as external examiner for the once-every-four-years INRIA self-assessment in France, I watched 16 research presentations. The presentations represented, collectively, the scientific advances of a very large and diverse scientific research community funded by the French government.

The total yearly budget for this endeavor, as I understand it, is about 480 million euros. Thousands of scientists participate, there are major research collaborations with leading scientists around the world, and the entire enterprise is completely awesome in its sheer ambition and scale.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and delighted by many of the things I learned, new technologies that will improve education, health care, research and much more. The concept of a government of a major Western country believing in science, and in its ability to help make the world a better place, was a beautiful thing to behold.

In the U.S. we used to think that way. Sigh.

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