Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

National Initiatives


Participants : Carole Delporte-Gallet, Hugues Fauconnier, Pierre Fraigniaud, Adrian Kosowski, Laurent Viennot.

Cyril Gavoille (U. Bordeaux) leads this project that grants 1 Post-Doc. H. Fauconnier is the local coordinator (This project began in October 2016).

Despite the practical interests of reusable frameworks for implementing specific distributed services, many of these frameworks still lack solid theoretical bases, and only provide partial solutions for a narrow range of services. We argue that this is mainly due to the lack of a generic framework that is able to unify the large body of fundamental knowledge on distributed computation that has been acquired over the last 40 years. The DESCARTES project aims at bridging this gap, by developing a systematic model of distributed computation that organizes the functionalities of a distributed computing system into reusable modular constructs assembled via well-defined mechanisms that maintain sound theoretical guarantees on the resulting system. DESCARTES arises from the strong belief that distributed computing is now mature enough to resolve the tension between the social needs for distributed computing systems, and the lack of a fundamentally sound and systematic way to realize these systems.

ANR MultiMod

Participants : Adrian Kosowski, Laurent Viennot.

David Coudert (Sophia Antipolis) leads this project. L. Viennot coordinates locally. The project begins in 2018.

The MultiMod project aims at enhancing the mobility of citizens in urban areas by providing them, through a unique interface enabling to express their preferences, the most convenient transportation means to reach their destinations. Indeed, the increasing involvement of actors and authorities in the deployment of more responsible and cost-effective logistics and the progress made in the field of digital technology have made possible to create synergies in the creation of innovative services for improving the mobility in cities. However, users are faced with a number of solutions that coexist at different scales, providing complementary information for the mobility of users, but that make very complex to find the most convenient itinerary at a given time for a specific user. In this context, MultiMod aims at improving the mobility of citizens in urban areas by proposing contextualized services, linking users, to facilitate multimodal transport by combining, with flexibility, all available modes (planned/dynamic carpooling, public transport (PT), car-sharing, bicycle, etc.).

We consider the use of carpooling in metropolitan areas, and so for short journeys. Such usage enables itineraries that are not possible with PT, allows for opening up areas with low PT coverage by bringing users near PT (last miles), and for faster travel-time when existing PT itineraries are too complex or with too low frequency (e.g., one bus per hour). In this context, the application must help the driver and the passenger as much as possible. In particular, the application must propose the meeting-point, indicate the driver the detour duration, and indicate the passenger how to reach this meeting-point using PT. Here, the time taken by drivers and passengers to agree becomes a critical issue and so the application must provide all needed information to quickly take a decision (i.e., in one click).

In addition, the era of Smart City gathers many emerging concepts, driven by innovative technological players, which enables the exploitation of real-time data (e.g., delay of a bus, traffic jam) made available by the various actors (e.g., communities in the framework of Open Data projects, users via their mobile terminals, traffic supervision authorities). In the MultiMod project, we will use these rich sources of data to propose itineraries that are feasible at query-time. Our findings will enable the design of a mobility companion able not only to guide the user along her journey, including when and how to change of transportation mean, but also to propose itinerary changes when the current one exceeds a threshold delay. The main originality of this project is thus to address the problem of computing itineraries in large-scale networks combining PT, carpooling and real-time data, and to satisfy the preferences of users. We envision that the outcome of this project will significantly improve the daily life of citizens.

The targeted metropolitan area for validating our solutions is Ile-de-France. Indeed, Instant-System is currently developing the new application “Vianavigo lab” which will replace the current “Vianavigo” application for the PT network of Ile-de-France. Our findings will therefore be tested at scale and eventually be integrated and deployed in production servers and mobile applications. The smaller networks of Bordeaux and Nice will be used to perform preliminary evaluations since Instant System already operates applications in these cities (Boogi Nice, Boogi Bordeaux). An important remark is that new features and algorithms can contractually be deployed in production every 4 months, thus enabling Instant System to measure and challenge the results of the MultiMod project in continue. This is a chance for the project to maximize its impact.


Participants : Carole Delporte-Gallet, Hugues Fauconnier, Pierre Fraigniaud.

Arnaud Sangnier (IRIF, Univ Paris Diderot) leads this project that grants 1 PhD. (This project began in October 2017).

Distributed algorithms are nowadays omnipresent in most systems and applications. It is of utmost importance to develop algorithmic solutions that are both robust and flexible, to be used in large scale applications. Currently, distributed algorithms are developed under precise assumptions on their execution context: synchronicity, bounds on the number of failures, etc. The robustness of distributed algorithms is a challenging problem that has not been much considered until now, and there is no systematic way to guarantee or verify the behavior of an algorithm beyond the context for which it has been designed. We propose to develop automated formal method techniques to verify the robustness of distributed algorithms and to support the development of robust applications. Our methods are of two kinds: statically through classical verification, and dynamically, by synthesizing distributed monitors, that check either correctness or the validity of the context hypotheses at runtime.

ANR Distancia

Participants : Pierre Charbit, Michel Habib, Laurent Viennot.

Victor Chepoi (Univ. Marseille) leads this project. P. Charbit coordinates locally. The project begins in early-2018.

The theme of the project is Metric Graph Theory, and we are concerned both on theoretical foundations and applications. Such applications can be found in real world networks. For example, the hub labelling problem in road networks can be directly applied to car navigation applications. Understanding key structural properties of large-scale data networks is crucial for analyzing and optimizing their performance, as well as improving their reliability and security. In prior empirical and theoretical studies researchers have mainly focused on features such as small world phenomenon, power law degree distribution, navigability, and high clustering coefficients. Although those features are interesting and important, the impact of intrinsic geometric and topological features of large-scale data networks on performance, reliability and security is of much greater importance. Recently, there has been a surge of empirical works measuring and analyzing geometric characteristics of real-world networks, namely the Gromov hyperbolicity (called also the negative curvature) of the network. It has been shown that a number of data networks, including Internet application networks, web networks, collaboration networks, social networks, and others, have small hyperbolicity.

Metric graph theory was also indispensable in solving some open questions in concurrency and learning theory in computer science and geometric group theory in mathematics. Median graphs are exactly the 1–skeletons of CAT(0) cube complexes (which have been characterized by Gromov in a local-to-global combinatorial way). They play a vital role in geometric group theory (for example, in the recent solution of the famous Virtual Haken Conjecture). Median graphs are also the domains of event structures of Winskel, one of the basic abstract models of concurrency. This correspondence is very useful in dealing with questions on event structures.

Many classical algorithmic problems concern distances: shortest path, center and diameter, Voronoi diagrams, TSP, clustering, etc. Algorithmic and combinatorial problems related to distances also occur in data analysis. Low-distortion embeddings into l1-spaces (theorem of Bourgain and its algorithmical use by Linial et al.) were the founding tools in metric methods. Recently, several approximation algorithms for NP-hard problems were designed using metric methods. Other important algorithmic graph problems related to distances concern the construction of sparse subgraphs approximating inter-node distances and the converse, augmentation problems with distance constraints. Finally, in the distributed setting, an important problem is that of designing compact data structures allowing very fast computation of inter- node distances or routing along shortest or almost shortest paths. Besides computer science and mathematics, applications of structures involving distances can be found in archeology, computational biology, statistics, data analysis, etc. The problem of characterizing isometric subgraphs of hypercubes has its origin in communication theory and linguistics. . To take into account the recombination effect in genetic data, the mathematicians Bandelt and Dress developed in 1991 the theory of canonical decompositions of finite metric spaces. Together with geneticists, Bandelt successfully used it over the years to reconstruct phylogenies, in the evolutional analysis of mtDNA data in human genetics. One important step in their method is to build a reduced median network that spans the data but still contains all most parsimonious trees. As mentioned above, the median graphs occurring there constitute a central notion in metric graph theory.

With this project, we aim to participate at the elaboration of this new domain of Metric Graph Theory, which requires experts and knowledge in combinatorics (graphs, matroids), geometry, and algorithms. This expertise is distributed over the members of the consortium and a part of the success of our project it will be to share these knowledges among all the members of the consortium. This way we will create a strong group in France on graphs and metrics.


Participants : Pierre Charbit, Michel Habib.

This project starting in early-2018, led by Reza Naserasr, explores the connection between minors and colorings, exploiting the notion of signed graphs. With the four colour theorem playing a central role in development of Graph Theory, the notions of minor and coloring have been branded as two of the most distinguished concepts in this field. The geometric notion of planarity has given birth to the theory of minors among others, and coloring have proven to have an algebraic nature through its extension to the theory of graph homomorphisms. Great many projects have been completed on both subjects, but what remains mostly a mystery is the correlation of the two subjects. The four color theorem itself, in slightly stronger form, claims that if a complete graph on five vertices cannot be formed by minor operation from a given graph, then the graph can be homomorphically mapped into the complete graph on four vertices (thus a 4-coloring). Commonly regarded as the most challenging conjecture on graph theory, the Hadwiger conjecture claims that five and four in this theorem can be replaced with n and n-1 respectively for any value of n. The correlation of these two concepts has been difficult to study, mainly for the following reason: While the coloring or homomorphism problems roots back into intersections of odd-cycles, the minor operation is irrelevant of the parity of cycles. To overcome this barrier, the notion of signed graphs has been used implicitly since 1970s when coloring results on graphs with no odd-K4 is proved, following which a stronger form of the Hadwiger conjecture, known as Odd Hadwiger conjecture, was proposed by P. Seymour and B. Gerards, independently. Being a natural subclass of Matroids and a superclass of graphs, the notion of minor of signed graphs is well studied and many results from graph minor are either already extended to signed graphs or it is considered by experts of the subject. Observing the importance, and guided by some earlier works, in particular that of B. Guenin, we then started the study of algebraic concepts (coloring and homomormphisms) for signed graphs. Several results have been obtained in the past decade, and this project aims at exploring more of this topic.