Edouard Geoffrois has recently joined the French National Research Agency (ANR) as a program manager in the Department for Information and Communication Science and Technologies, while being also employed by the French National Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) in the division in charge of the Science and Innovation Policy. He is also the Technical Director of the Quaero program on multimedia content processing, a strategic research and innovation program supported by the funding agency under the Ministry of Industry (OSEO). After basic scientific studies at the Ecole Polytechnique, he specialized through a Master in Cognitive Science and a PhD on Automatic Speech Recognition at the University of Paris-Sud before joining DGA, where he conducted researches in speech and image processing and managed various projects in the same field.
Inferring new knowledge from data requires interpreting these data using complex mathematical models taking into account contextual information and background knowledge. The goal of research in knowledge processing is thus to find the best possible models for performing a given "intelligent" task. The quality of a model can be evaluated by measuring how it agrees with representative sample data sets for the task under study. Data is also important to train the models through automatic learning procedures. For the sake of reproducibility of experiments, the data used to test a model should be made publicly and easily available. Furthermore, to avoid any bias in comparing different models despite their learning ability, they should be tested before any experimental result is released, implying that all tests occur almost simultaneously. This leads to a specific organization, often called an evaluation campaign, where several research teams harmonize their needs and coordinate their efforts around a synchronized common test. Producing the needed data and organizing evaluation campaigns thus constitute critical resources for the success of the associated researches and must be granted much attention. Since they are not pure research activities, they should be carried out by dedicated teams, working at the service of the research community at large with a strong public support. Such resources are becoming a strategic component of any ambitious research effort in the field, and offer a natural means to coordinate work at the international level.