When Credit Lyonnais built itself a grand new office near the Opera in the center of Paris in the 1870s, it used a piece of the Louvre as a model and commissioned Gustave Eiffel’s atelier to design its soaring glass canopy.

Even today, the building remains a big draw for new generations of engineers. Except this breed doesn’t use steel beams and glass to shape the world. They write software to control machines.

Starting this fall, the top two floors of Le Centorial, as the building is known, will belong to GE Digital’s first global “digital foundry,” a collaborative space where coders, data scientists and app developers can incubate new startups and work with customers on new software applications. “The digital revolution involves looking for needles of value in haystacks of big data,” says Robert Plana, the foundry’s first incubation and ecosystem director. “It’s difficult for any company to proceed alone. We’ll use the foundry to design fast solutions with partners, test them and release the best and most disruptive ones into the real world.”

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