Marion Creange, the first doctoral student in computer science in France.

She was the first person in France to receive a doctorate in computer science. The French Computing Society (SIF) has just announced the death of Marion Creange, which occurred on March 28, 2022 at the age of 84. Portrait of a pioneer in his field.

Marion Creange was born in Nancy (Lorraine) on November 14, 1937. Marion Creange began her career in 1959, working on “automatic calculation“, the fact of carrying out calculations without the participation of a person who then took his first steps. “At that time, computers arrived in Nancy, the IBM 604 and IBM 650, which looked like large cabinets. It was not possible to store information, even floppy disks. Then we used perforated cassettes, which were used in whole boxes … “, explains Natasha Portier, a lecturer at the Higher Normal School (ENS) in Lyon. “At the time, Nancy was a pioneer in what would later become computer science..” Even before the word “computing” appeared, Marion Creange contributed to the formation of this discipline at the University of Nancy. It was there that she completed her thesis in 1961, becoming the first person, and indeed the first woman, to receive a doctorate in computer science in France. At that time, her research was focused on programming languages ​​and, in particular, on the development of a database query language.I recognize the chance that I had to be very young and get into the exciting field of computer science very early.she wrote in “My Computing Journey,” a 2020 retrospective text about her career published by Interstices.

Innovative Image Bank Software

Specializing in information research, she joined the laboratory created by Claude Par. A position that gives him the ability to apply these IT principles to projects of all kinds. “The way of robbery, but how interesting!”, insists Marion Creange. “So, for example, I participated in the development of a multimedia information database on the streets and crossroads of the city of Nancy, in the management of medical records (I had several successive joint projects, complex and enriching), in the management of the database of geological sections (with the regional commission for geological heritage).”

In 1983, she founded the EXPRIM (Image Research Experts) research group, which launched the Exprim project. It relies on a database of images accompanied by descriptions. The user can run a query, after which the program will offer him a set of matching images. Then the user must indicate which images are suitable for him and which are not. The process of improving the operation of a program and adapting it to the needs of the user. An ancestor of our custom algorithms today. “A typical example: a journalist who wants to illustrate an article in an original way. We can also think of a teacher, an advertiser… We are here in the field of human-machine communication and, more generally, artificial intelligence.” explains the computer scientist.

Marion Kreange, scientistarrived too early

Throughout her career, Marion Creange has collaborated with a wide variety of professionals: doctors, geologists, historians, physicists, educators, engineers and has always aroused their interest, openness and foresight. She also retained a pronounced taste for interdisciplinarity.“, salutes the Stanislas Academy, Lorraine Academy of Sciences, of which she was a member. The recent explosion of global information networks”also made him regret that he “came too early” in this area: it was very difficult for him to, for example, find a real application, the efforts to create useful information bases were too great and too expensive, while countless such bases can now be found on the Internet!

She was also an honorary professor at the University of Lorraine in Lorraine Research Laboratory for Computer Science and Applications (LORIA).

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