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Renewal of the Data Science Institute programme

Thanks to the excellence of its teaching since its creation in 2017, the "Data Science Institute" sponsorship programme was renewed at the beginning of the year with the support of the Orange Group, Orange Côte d'Ivoire and Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire. Thus, the increase in data management skills in West Africa will be reinforced.

At the beginning of 2021, the Orange Group, Orange Côte d'Ivoire and Société Générale are supporting the "Data Science Institute" programme. The partnership was signed by Elisabeth Fonteix, Director of Training and Skills Development at Orange, Clotilde Boury, Human Resources Director at Orange MEA, Mamadou Bamba, CEO of Orange Côte d'Ivoire, Aymeric Villebrun, CEO of Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire, N'Guessan Koffi, CEO of the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB), Kouassi Hugues Kouadio, Director of the École Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d'Économie Appliquée d'Abidjan (ENSEA), Eric Labaye, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the École Polytechnique and Jean-Paul Cottet, General Delegate of the École Polytechnique Foundation.

The Institute is centred around data science courses taught by Ivorian research professors in collaboration with École Polytechnique professors, thus disseminating X's expertise in Côte d'Ivoire. Students can thus appropriate an engineering based on new developments in the storage and processing of massive data. Having become a reference in West Africa, the Institute's initial training is hosted by the INPHB, including a long-term internship within the Orange Cote d'Ivoire teams, and is complemented by continuing education at ENSEA.

Led by Éric Moulines, a professor at the École Polytechnique within the Centre for Applied Mathematics (CMAP*), Lambert Tanoh, a professor at INP-HB and Jean-Arnaud Kouakou, a teacher-researcher at ENSEA, the "Data Science Institute" brings together computer engineering and the study of large masses of data within a programme that is unique of its kind in Africa. The programme provides advanced training in distributed environments, parallel computing and statistical methods for artificial learning. This knowledge is put into practice through annual data camps and other student challenges. Among the M2 students who participated in the latest challenge, which brought together more than 100 teams and 13 major schools, three teams from the programme were ranked in the top 10.

Orange Cote d'Ivoire is pleased to have recruited 10 of the 12 students from the first class of this course. The second class, which includes 30 students, has just completed its course, with almost half of them having benefited from a six-month end-of-study internship within the Orange Côte d'Ivoire and Orange Burkina teams, combining teleworking and face-to-face work.  It should be added that this partnership offers the opportunity for Orange executives to provide training as temporary employees and for INPHB teachers to take advantage of guided tours of Orange CI's data processing sites. Beyond a simple partnership, this alliance with our partners makes us optimistic about the excellence of the training of future generations of data scientists who will reveal their talents.

Éric Moulines confided to us that the Institute is "a building block in the construction of new collaborations in higher education in French-speaking Africa, particularly in the field of digital technology, for which Africa has many assets. "According to him, the keys to the success of the programme are "co-construction, with a very strong local partnership and significant financial support that allows us to offer quality education without discriminating against students at the entrance. "

Mamadou Bamba, Managing Director of Orange Côte d'Ivoire, emphasises: "With the renewal of this programme, we are reaffirming our commitment to young people in West Africa, who constitute a formidable pool of talent. The Data ecosystem and its economic potential are development opportunities that Orange is proud to support through its training actions in order to continue the digital transformation. "

About the Institute:
Supported since 2017 by the Orange Group, and joined by Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire in 2021, the "Data Science Institute" sponsorship, carried by Éric Moulines, Lambert Tanoh and Jean-Arnaud Kouakou aims to accelerate the rise in "data management" skills in Côte d'Ivoire and West Africa. Hosted within existing Ivorian institutions, the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB) and the École Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d'Économie Appliquée d'Abidjan, it plans to set up an international-level course of excellence in data sciences, initially for students and then for company executives.

Project leaders: Éric Moulines, researcher at the Centre for Applied Mathematics (CMAP: a joint research unit of the CNRS, École Polytechnique - Institut Polytechnique de Paris), professor at the École Polytechnique of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and member of the Académie des Sciences
Lambert Tanoh, Lecturer and researcher in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny
Jean-Arnaud Kouakou, Lecturer - Researcher at the École Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d'Économie Appliquée in Abidjan

* CMAP: a joint research unit CNRS, École Polytechnique - Institut Polytechnique de Paris