Numerical Modelling in Agronomy and Agri-food

GMN 3A (Groupe Modélisation Numérique en Agronomie et Agro-Alimentaire)

The design on our logo has a meaning which spans both maths and IT. Can you guess what it is?
G.M.N. 3A

Origin and project

The Numerical Modelling Group (Groupe Modélisation Numérique, GMN), founded on 3 May 2011, was created by the school in the hope that researchers working at AgroSup Dijon could re-group their skills and problems when they reach the stage of digital modelling, now that this is a nearly inevitable part of all research work.

It is first and foremost a cross-disciplinary project.  This group could, at the end of its new four-year contract, turn into a more concentrated and institutional structure, while remaining of a cross-disciplinary nature. This type of structure is, we think, not found in establishments similar to ours.

To understand the framework of the group's goals, which begin by insisting on the importance of tools and of sharing them:

  • Non-elementary mathematical tools must be used, if not by all participants then by at least some of them, and in a cross-disciplinary manner.
  • Digital technologies and tools used must contribute something to the group as a whole.

How the group works

The subjects that could be worked on are varied, so at first the group can only be structured around common mathematical and digital tools and methods. An information-sharing system will be created, this information:


  • circulating internally (seminars, forums, mailing lists, etc.)
  • coming from outside the group (invitations, participating in research groups, via research centres, etc.)
  • communicated publicly from inside the group.


Four actions:


  • Choosing the installation, use and training in modelling tools, either generalised (Matlab, R, etc.), or specialized while remaining cross-disciplinary (statistical packages, differential equations, EDP [Event-Driven Programming], imaging, etc.).
  • Implementing regular work sessions, training periods and/or seminars on modelling and/or simulation, on each others' research, while focussing on modelling and simulation methods and the math/IT tools used. This does not replace the talks given within their specialities, which are useful elsewhere.
  • If the research is ongoing, we may also organize "binning" seminars on the difficulties met with and not solved. These seminars may be internal or involve inviting external experts.
  • Participate in national research groups (Groupes De Recherche, GDR), and eventually create one. Of course, members who also participate in different labs within the University of Burgundy (LEAD, LEII, GPMA, etc.), shall have them contribute to the growth of the group, but the group shall work as closely as possible with the national research groups (GDR). We can cite some research groups: ISIS (Information, Signal, Images et ViSion), MOA (Mathématiques de l'Optimisation et Applications), MSPC (Mathématiques des systèmes perceptifs et cognitifs), etc.

Internal talks planned for 2012

  Christine Fant : "Automatic definition of odours in the processing of olfactometric data" ("Définition automatique d'aires odorantes dans le traitement de données olfactométriques")

Date to be determined in 2012.

Completed activities

Friday 25 May 2012

Seminar by Mostapha Adimy director of research at INRIA Grenoble
"Modelling of cellular dynamics" ("Modélisation de la dynamique cellulaire")

Abstract: In this talk we present some models describing the production and regulation of blood cells in bone marrow (hematopoiesis). We consider mathematical models of hyperbolic type: structured. These are partial differential equations in which the main variable depends on several "structures": time, but also age, size, maturity, etc.. These equations are treated in two different ways. One is a direct approach which is to analyse them without modifications, but the boundaries make this difficult to study. A second approach, to get round this, is to integrate them in relation to structured variables, using the method of characteristics, and bring it back to a system of equations with delay-type proliferation quiescence. We are interested in the properties of these equations, and in particular the stability of their solutions and oscillatory behaviour. We are also interested in models of hematopoiesis taking into account the action of external factors in the bone marrow (growth factors) that can act on apoptosis (programmed cell death), differentiation and / or reintroduction the quiescent phase to the phase of division. Finally, we develop some concrete examples to illustrate these approaches: the study of the periodic physiological haematopoiesis, the study of chronic myeloid leukemia, the study of acute myelogenous leukemia, and the study of feedback controls and self-renewal of progenitors for erythropoiesis (red blood cell lineage).

5 April 2012

Seminar by Sébastien Curet-Ploquin, from ONIRIS Nantes:
"Microwave Heating of Food Products: Numerical and Experimental Investigations"

Abstract :
"This presentation begins with a review of heating by microwave technologies applied to the sector of agri-food industries. In order to optimize existing procedures we need to predict and control the interaction between microwaves and substances. To do this, models predicting the behavior of food products subjected to microwaves will be presented. These models, validated experimentally, allow us to predict temperature distribution within processed products while under treatment."

1 June 2011

Talk by Paul Molin and Eric Ferret:
"Eye Movements: An Engineering Approach" (Mouvements de l'œil, une approche automaticienne)

  • Mathematical tools used: Numerical calculation of the Laplace transform on noisy experimental data, problems encountered, identification of a model based on rational fractions. Need to introduce non-linear terms.
  • IT tools: Matlab, optimization tools, and above all Simulink, an interactive and graphic tool for modelling dynamic systems.

  See the presentation made during the day, in French, PDF format (637 Ko)

24 June 2011

Talk by Rachid Sabre:
"Processing statistics and its uses in the fields of agronomy and agri-food" ("La statistique des processus, et ses applications aux domaines agronomique et agroalimentaire")

  • Mathematical tools used: Fourier transform in processing, estimation of spectral density, stationary processes, stable alpha processes.
  • IT tools: Matlab, R software.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Talk by Frédéric Cointault:
"Modelling sprayed droplets" ("Modélisation des gouttelettes en pulvérisation")

  • Mathematical tools used: Random Markov chains, Gabor filters, intercorrelation.
  • IT tools: Matlab, C language.

  See the French presentation made during the GMN seminar at AgroSup Dijon, in PDF format (5 Mb)

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Talk by Eric Ferret and Cyril IACONELLI:
"Utilisation de Comsol Multiphysics pour la réalisation de modèles numériques : une aide au calcul et à l’interprétation de phénomènes physiques complexes"

  • Introduction COMSOL, software for finished elements ("Introduction au logiciel d'éléments finis COMSOL"). Applied to agri-food.

  See the French presentation made during the day, in PDF format (1.8 Mo)

Friday 27 January 2012

Talk by Ludovic Journaux : 

  • "Methods of non linear categorization et applications" ("Méthodes de catégorisation non linéaires, et applications")
  • "Support Vector Machines (SVM) and their uses in recognizing objects in images" ("Support Vector Machines [SVM] et leurs applications à la reconnaissance d'objets dans les images.")

14 February 2012

Seminar by Hervé Rigneault

Hervé Rigneault is the CNRS Research director and head of the MOSAIC team at the "Institut Fresnel de Marseille"

  • visit of the optical microscope platform
  • conference by Hervé Rigneault: "Analyse d'image et modélisation en microscopie optique" (Image analysis and modelling in optical microscopes).

Group members

Alain Breuvart, Rémy Cachon, Thierry Castel,  Frédéric Cointault, Emmanuel Denimal, Christine Fant, Eric Ferret, Alexandre Gaudry, Christelle Gée, Gawain Jones, Ludovic Journaux, Thomas Karbowiak, Ambroise Marin, Jean-Noël Paoli, Paul Molin, Jean-Marie Perrier-Cornet, Laurence Pottier, Rachid Sabre, Jean-Claude Simon, Dominique Valentin, Sylvain Villette.

Paul Molin and Rachid Sabre have been designated group leaders.

Back to the question...

The design on our logo has a meaning which spans both maths and IT. Can you guess what it is?