EMECIS, a joint Master’s degree between UTC and the University of Genoa

To the extent that “gang-style robots” will become more and more present in our lives, UTC and the University of Genoa (Italy) have agreed to unite their engineering training capacities to set up EMECIS, a joint European Master’s degree in Engineering for Complex and Interacting Systems.

EMECIS, a joint Master’s degree between UTC and the University of Genoa

Inasmuch as it focuses on Europe and Theoretical and Development Research in Robotics, the new joint European Master‘s degree in engineering combines UTC’s MSCI’ (Master’s degree in Interacting Complex systems) and the Master’s diploma in Computer Science Engineering awarded by the University of Genoa, Italy and it has lots of attractive features.

EMICS – acronym for European Master in Engineering for Complex and Interacting Systems - is a course that addresses student engineers and lecturers who are interested in the ‘strange’ science of systems of systems and is a collaboration initiated in the framework of the French government incentive ‘Excellence Labex MS2T’- Control of Technological Systems of Systems at UTC where the work and research focus on “gang-style robots”! The objective of the course is to enable student engineers of both nationalities, French and Italian to enjoy crossover training at both establishments. The course also includes one or several placement abroad in order to have the joint degrees validated.

What are ‘systems of systems’?

“The Internet, the fire-brigade emergency warning network, mobile phone services are all examples of systems of systems”, explains Philippe Bonnifait, Vice-Chairman of UTC’s Scientific Advisory Board, and Director of the Robotex Research Group (GDR) at the CNRS and head of the MSCI Master’s degree awarded by UTC. If by “system”, we refer to “a set of components of varying nature organized to attain a shared objective”, then a system of systems is similarly defined as “a set of systems organized to attain a shared objective”, notes the research scientist Bonnifait. It is the complex “machinery” of systems, with more or less autonomy for decision and interaction, sometimes with a wide range of component systems that interact, communicate and organize their tasks which in most instances are collaborative and distributed.

Bringing men and robots closer 

“Following suit to the digital revolution, the next phase will certainly be that of robotics”, underscores Philippe Bonnifait, who foresees humans and robots coming closer together in the future. Whereas in post WWII industry, robots were seen as shapeless tools bolted to an assembly line, the 21st Century robots will be integrated to our human environments. Whether we are talking about cars, about vacuum cleaners, life companions (pets) or more or less humanoid workers, robots will be here to stay, autonomous, adaptable, interactive and communicative. The question of massive development of systems of systems and robotics that Philippe Bonnifait presented recently to the Académie française was closely followed and appreciated by all the “Immortels” present.

“Even if the French people seem particularly uneasy and even scared by the arrival of robots in their day-to-day lives and if the production lines for robotics are finding it difficult to take off, French research in robotics is still recognized as being one of the best in the world”, explains the head of the new Master’s degree. The decision to set up a Master’s degree between a French and Italian establishment not only offers students a new form of mobility, but also opens paths for research scientists to have a more open vista to Europe. It is planned that the course will commence in September 2016, with three Genoan students coming to UTC-Compiegne and two French students travelling to Genoa.