Section: Application Domains

Application Domains

The application domains covered by Zenith are very wide and diverse, as they concern data-intensive scientific applications, i.e. most scientific applications. Since the interaction with scientists is crucial to identify and tackle data management problems, we are dealing primarily with application domains for which Montpellier has an excellent track record, i.e. agronomy, environmental science, life science, with scientific partners like INRA, CIRAD and CEMAGREF. However, we are also addressing other scientific domains (e.g. astronomy, oil extraction) through our international collaborations (e.g. in Brazil).

Let us briefly illustrate three representative examples of scientific applications on which we have been working on.

  • Pesticide reduction. In a pesticide reduction application, with CEMAGREF, we plan to work on sensor data for plant monitoring. Sensors are used to observe the development of diseases and insect attacks in the agricultural farms, aiming at using pesticides only when necessary. The sensors periodically send to a central system their data about different measures such as plants contamination, temperature or moisture level. A decision support system analyzes the sent data, and triggers a pesticide treatment only when needed. However, the data sent by sensors are not entirely certain. The main reasons for uncertainty are the effect of climate events on sensors, e.g. rain, unreliability of the data transmission media, fault in sensors, etc. This requires to deal with uncertain data in modeling and querying to be used for data analysis and data mining.

  • Botanical data sharing. Botanical data is highly decentralized and heterogeneous. Each actor has its own expertise domain, hosts its own data, and describes them in a specific format. Furthermore, botanical data is complex. A single plant’s observation might include many structured and unstructured tags, several images of different organs, some empirical measurements and a few other contextual data (time, location, author, etc.). A noticeable consequence is that simply identifying plant species is often a very difficult task; even for the botanists themselves (the so-called taxonomic gap). Botanical data sharing should thus speed up the integration of raw observation data, while providing users an easy and efficient access to integrated data. This requires to deal with social-based data integration and sharing, massive data analysis and scalable content-based information retrieval. We address this application in the context of the French initiative Pl@ntNet, with CIRAD and IRD.

  • Deepwater oil exploitation. An important step in oil exploitation is pumping oil from ultra-deepwater from thousand meters up to the surface through long tubular structures, called risers. Maintaining and repairing risers under deep water is difficult, costly and critical for the environment. Thus, scientists must predict risers fatigue based on complex scientific models and observed data for the risers. Risers fatigue analysis requires a complex workflow of data-intensive activities which may take a very long time to compute. A typical workflow takes as input files containing riser information, such as finite element meshes, winds, waves and sea currents, and produces result analysis files to be further studied by the scientists. It can have thousands of input and output files and tens of activities (e.g. dynamic analysis of risers movements, tension analysis, etc.). Some activities, e.g. dynamic analysis, are repeated for many different input files, and depending on the mesh refinements, each single execution may take hours to complete. To speed up risers fatigue analysis requires parallelizing workflow execution, which is hard to do with existing SWfMS. We address this application in collaboration with UFRJ, and Petrobras.

These three application examples illustrate the diversity of requirements and issues which we are addressing with our scientific application partners (CIRAD, INRA, CEMAGREF, …). To further validate our solutions and extend the scope of our results, we also want to foster industrial collaborations, even in non scientific applications, provided that they exhibit similar challenges.