The name of our company is a tribute to one of the first French data scientists.
Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban (1633 – 1707), close advisor to Louis XIV, became Maréchal of France in 1703 and is best known for the fortifications he built and for his military successes. Our logo actually derives from the structure of Fort Louis, a major pillar of one of the greatest achievements of the King’s Engineer, the Dunkerque fortifications.
But, as shown in the excellent biography by Anne Blanchard, Vauban also is one of the fathers of modern statistics. Having set up population counts (the first census) in many French regions, in 1686 he published, ‘Méthode générale et facile pour faire le dénombrement des peuples’. He was one of the first to summarize these census results in tables, allowing users to immediately visualise key figures for various segments. His statistical endeavours culminated with his last opus, ‘La Dixme Royale’, with the aim of proposing a simpler, fairer and more efficient tax system, in order to achieve the « relief of the population and reimbursement of the State debts ».
Vauban can be viewed as a rational man in a not so rational time. By basing his recommendations to his king on objective data, Vauban was in the vanguard of modern statistical methodology. He was also a man with strong opinions, pleading for the Protestants not to be banned after the king revoked the Edict of Nantes, and for a tax system that took into account all revenue sources, without loopholes or privileges.