Section: Scientific Foundations
OpenAlea: An open-software platform for plant modeling
OpenAlea is a component based, open-software platform for interdisciplinary research in plant modeling and simulation. This platform is used for the integration and comparaison of different models and tools provided by the research community. It is based on the Python language that aims at being both a glue language for the different modules and an efficient modeling language for developing new models and tools. OpenAlea currently includes modules for plant simulation, analysis and modeling at different scales (V-Plants modules), for modeling ecophysiological processes such as radiative transfer, transpiration and photosynthesis (RATP , Caribu , Adel , TopVine , Ecomeristem ) and for 3D visualization of plant architecture at different scales (PlantGL ).
OpenAlea is the result of a collaborative effort associating 10 french research teams in plant modeling from INRIA, CIRAD, INRA, LaBRI, Laboratory Jean Kuntzmann and ENS Lyon. The Virtual Plants team coordinates both development and modeling consortiums, and is more particularly in charge of the development of the kernel and of some main data structures such as multiscale tree graph and statistical sequences.
OpenAlea is a fundamental tool to share models and methods in interdisciplinary research (comprising botany, ecophysiology, forestry, agronomy, applied mathematics and computer science approaches). Embedded in Python and its scientific libraries, the platform may be used as a flexible and useful toolbox by biologists and modellers for various purposes (research, teaching, rapid model prototyping, communication, etc.).