Section: Research Program

Parametrization of complex systems

Project-team positioning

We focus on a specific problem: the "population" parametrization of a complex system. More precisely, instead of trying to look for parameters in order to fit the available data for one patient, in many cases it is more pertinent to look for the distribution of the parameters (assuming that it is gaussian or log gaussian) in a population of patients, and to maximize the likelihood of the observations of all patients. It is a very useful strategy when few data per patients are available, but when we have a lot of patients. The number of parameters to find is multiplied by two (average and standard deviation for each parameter) but the number of data is greatly increased.

This strategy, that we will call "population" parametrization has been initiated in the eighties by software like Nonmem. Recently Marc Lavielle (Popix team) made series of breakthroughs and designed a new powerfull algorithm, leading to Monolix software.

However population parametrization is very costly. It requires several hundered of thousands of model evaluations, which may be very long.


We address the problem of computation time when the complex model is long to evaluate. In simple cases like reaction diffusion equations in one space dimension, the evalution of the model may take a few seconds of even a few minutes. In more realistic geometries, the computation time would be even larger and can reach the hour or day. It is therefore impossible to run Monolix on such models, since it would be much too long. Moreover the underlying algorithm can not be parallelized.

We propose a new approach combining Monolix software together with a model precomputation on an adaptative grid. This strategy appears to be very efficient, since we were able to parametrize a PDE model as fast as a simple ODE model, after a precomputation step (which can be parallelized).

We develop all the necessary software (parallelized version of precomputation).

In collaboration with Popix project team.