Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Key modeling challenges

During the project lifetime, we will address several computational challenges related to the modeling of living forms and transversal to our main research axes. During the first phase of the project, we concentrate on 4 key challenges.

A new paradigm for modeling tree structures in biology

There is an ubiquitous presence of tree data in biology: plant structures, tree-like organs in animals (lungs, kidney vasculature), corals, sponges, but also phylogenic trees, cell lineage trees, etc. To represent, analyze and simulate these data, a huge variety of algorithms have been developed. For a majority, their computational time and space complexity is proportional to the size of the trees. In dealing with massive amounts of data, like trees in a plant orchard or cell lineages in tissues containing several thousands of cells, this level of complexity is often intractable. Here, our idea is to make use of a new class of tree structures, that can be efficiently compressed and that can be used to approximate any tree, to cut-down the complexity of usual algorithms on trees.

Efficient computational mechanical models of growing tissues

The ability to simulate efficiently physical forces that drive form development and their consequences in biological tissues is a critical issue of the MOSAIC project. Our aim is thus to design efficient algorithms to compute mechanical stresses within data-structures representing forms as the growth simulation proceeds. The challenge consists of computing the distribution of stresses and corresponding tissue deformations throughout data-structures containing thousands of 3D cells in close to interactive time. For this we will develop new strategies to simulate mechanics based on approaches originally developed in computer graphics to simulate in real time the deformation of natural objects. In particular, we will study how meshless and isogeometric variational methods can be adapted to the simulation of a population of growing and dividing cells.

Realistic integrated digital models

Most of the models developed in MOSAIC correspond to specific parts of real morphogenetic systems, avoiding the overwhelming complexity of real systems. However, as these models will be developed on computational structures representing the detailed geometry of an organ or an organism, it will be possible to assemble several of these sub-models within one single model, to figure out missing components, and to test potential interactions between the model sub-components as the form develops.

Throughout the project, we will thus develop two digital models, one plant and one animal, aimed at integrating various aspects of form development in a single simulation system. The development of these digital models will be made using an agile development strategy, in which the models are created and get functional at a very early stage, and become subsequently refined progressively.

Development of a computational environment for the simulation of biological form development

To support and integrate the software components of the team, we aim to develop a computational environment dedicated to the interactive simulation of biological form development. This environment will be built to support the paradigm of dynamical systems with dynamical structures. In brief, the form is represented at any time by a central data-structure that contains any topological, geometric, genetic and physiological information. The computational environment will provide in a user-friendly manner tools to up-load forms, to create them, to program their development, to analyze, visualize them and interact with them in 3D+time.