This year's CNRS Gold Medal, France's most prestigious scientific distinction, has been awarded to Gérard Berry, holder of the first chair in computer science at the Collège de France since 2012. From the formal processing of programming languages to the computer-assisted design of integrated circuits and parallel real-time programming, Berry's achievements have led to major advances in information technology, finding myriad applications in the daily lives of computer users the world over.
Born on December 25, 1948, Gérard Berry studied at the École Polytechnique and worked as an engineer in the Corps des Mines before becoming a researcher at MINES ParisTech and INRIA, a position he held from 1970 to 2000. After serving as scientific director at Esterel Technologies from 2001 to 2009, he joined INRIA again as director of research between 2009 and 2012. Since then, he has held the first permanent chair in computer science ("Algorithms, machines and languages") created by the Collège de France, where he has also held two one-year chairs: "How and why the world becomes digital" (2007-2008) and "Thinking about, modeling and mastering computation" (2009-2010).
Gérard Berry is a pioneer of computer science. Since 1980, his main focus, in collaboration with researchers at INRIA, CNRS and the École des Mines, has been the development of a language, Esterel, which makes it possible to express the temporal synchronization of tasks and prove that they are properly executed. The purpose of this "synchronous programming" is to enable the development of programs that offer a guaranteed response time, a predetermined behavior as well as clearly defined resource needs. Unlike more conventional sequential programs, this type of synchronous program is in constant interaction with the environment, and is especially useful for embedded systems. Various versions of the Esterel language have found industrial applications with companies like Dassault Aviation, Bertin, ILOG, ST Microelectronics and Texas Instruments.
From CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research
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