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Getting a big scientific prize for open-source software

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Development
OSS

It is a great honor, because the selection was made by the members of the Académie des Sciences, very accomplished scientists with impressive contributions to science. The “Académie” is the hallmark of fundamental academic science in France. To me, this prize is also symbolic because it recognizes an open view of academic research and transfer, a view that sometimes felt as not playing according to the incentives. We started scikit-learn as a crazy endeavor, a bit of a hippy science thing. People didn’t really take us seriously. We were working on software, and not publications. We were doing open source, while industrial transfer is made by creating startups or filing patents. We were doing Python, while academic machine learning was then done in Matlab, and industrial transfer in C++. We were not pursuing the latest publications, while these are thought to be research’s best assets. We were interested in reaching out to non experts, while partners considered as interesting have qualified staff.

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