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See detailFair Trade and Social Enterprise
Huybrechts, Benjamin ULg

in Raynolds, Laura; Bennett, Elizabeth (Eds.) The Handbook of Research on Fair Trade (2015)

This chapter suggests that the notion of ‘social enterprise’ is useful to capture the DNA of organizations focused on fair trade and to locate them within a broader organizational taxonomy. Without ... [more ▼]

This chapter suggests that the notion of ‘social enterprise’ is useful to capture the DNA of organizations focused on fair trade and to locate them within a broader organizational taxonomy. Without seeking to impose a new term that may not resonate for certain actors or regions, this chapter aims to bring two contributions to fair trade research and practice. First, it is suggested that the social enterprise approach is particularly useful as an analytical tool enabling researchers and other stakeholders to capture the evolution and diversification of organizational models in fair trade. Second, the use of a broader organizational approach that is not specific to the sole fair trade sector allows for connections with similar organizations in other sectors and brings a shift from considering mainly what the organizations do (fair trade in this case) towards also addressing what they are (innovative social enterprise models combining market dynamics with social purpose). This chapter is structured as follows. First, the concept of social enterprise is introduced and discussed. Then, the evolution of the organizational landscape of fair trade (in the North) is summarized. Finally, fair trade organizations are examined in the light of the social enterprise concept, with illustrations from a study in four European countries (Huybrechts 2010a; 2012). [less ▲]

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See detailPolitiques de la littérature : Sartre, Bourdieu, Foucault
Bolmain, Thomas ULg; Cormann, Grégory ULg

Book published by Presses Universitaires de Liège (2015)

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See detailReview on greenhouse gas emissions from pig houses: Production of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide by animals and manure
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Nicks, Baudouin ULg

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2015)

The environmental impacts of livestock production are attracting increasing attention, especially the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Currently, pork is the most widely consumed meat product in the ... [more ▼]

The environmental impacts of livestock production are attracting increasing attention, especially the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Currently, pork is the most widely consumed meat product in the world, and its production is expected to grow in the next few decades. This paper deals with the production of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) by animals and by manure from pig buildings, with a focus on the influence of rearing techniques and nutrition. GHG emissions in piggeries originate from animals through CO2 exhalation and CH4 enteric fermentation, and from manure through the release of CO2, CH4 and N2O. The level of the CO2 exhalation (E-CO2, pig) depends on the physiological stage, the body weight (BW), the production level and the feed intake of the animals concerned. Enteric CH4 (E-CH4, pig) is principally related to dietary fibre intake and the fermentative capacity of the pig’s hindgut. Based on a review of the literature, the following equations are proposed in order to estimate E-CO2, pig (in kg day_1) and E-CH4,pig (in g day_1) for fattening pigs: E-CO2, pig = 0.136 _ BW0.573; E-CH4,pig = 0.012 _ dRes; with BW (in kg) and dRes for digestible residues (in g day_1). Numerous pathways are responsible for GHG production in manure. In addition, the microbial, physical and chemical properties of manure interact and modulate the level of emissions. Influencing factors for removal systems for both liquid and solid fractions of manure have been investigated. A large range of parameters showing an impact on the level of GHG production from pig houses has been reported. However, few of these can be considered unquestionably as GHG mitigation techniques because some strategies have shown contradictory effects depending on the gas, the circumstances and the study. Nevertheless, frequent manure removal seems to be an efficient means to reduce concurrently CO2-, CH4- and N2O-emissions from pig buildings for both slatted and bedded floor systems. Manure removal operations may be associated with specific storage conditions and efficient treatment in order to further reduce emissions. Several feeding strategies have been tested to decrease GHG emissions but they seem to be ineffective in reducing emissions both significantly and durably. In general, good management practices that enhance zootechnical performance will have beneficial consequences on GHG emission intensity. Taking into account the results described in the literature regarding CO2-, CH4- and N2O-production from animals and manure in pig houses, we estimate total GHG emissions to 448.3 kg CO2equiv. per slaughter pig produced or 4.87 kg CO2equiv. per kg carcass. The fattening period accounts for more than 70% of total emissions, while the gestation, lactation and weaning periods each contribute to about 10% of total emissions. Emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O contribute to 81, 17 and 2% of total emissions from pig buildings, representing 3.87, 0.83 and 0.11 kg CO2equiv. per kg carcass, respectively. [less ▲]

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See detailConscience et représentation. Débats récents en philosophie de l'esprit
Dewalque, Arnaud ULg; Gauvry, Charlotte ULg

E-print/Working paper (2015)

Introduction for a book on representationalism I am co-editing with Charlotte Gauvry.

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See detailL'expérience de la valeur: Ehrenfels et Meinong
Dewalque, Arnaud ULg

E-print/Working paper (2015)

A supposer que le concept de valeur soit un concept empirique, qui a sa source dans l'expérience, de quel type est l'expérience de la valeur? Dans les pages suivantes, je suggère qu’Ehrenfels et Meinong ... [more ▼]

A supposer que le concept de valeur soit un concept empirique, qui a sa source dans l'expérience, de quel type est l'expérience de la valeur? Dans les pages suivantes, je suggère qu’Ehrenfels et Meinong ont apporté certaines améliorations substantielles à la position de Brentano. Ces améliorations résident essentiellement dans les deux points suivants : (1) les volitions se caractérisent par une dimension « active » ou conative qui fait défaut aux sentiments, ce qui interdit de les ranger dans une seule et même « classe » de phénomènes psychiques ; (2) le concept de valeur trouve son origine empirique dans les volitions ou les phénomènes conatifs, non dans les sentiments ou phénomènes affectifs. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantitative temperature monitoring of a heat tracing experiment using cross-borehole ERT
Hermans, Thomas ULg; Wildemeersch, Samuel ULg; Jamin, Pierre ULg et al

in Geothermics (2015), 53

The growing demand for renewable energy leads to an increase in the development of geothermal energy projects and heat has become a common tracer in hydrology and hydrogeology. Designing geothermal ... [more ▼]

The growing demand for renewable energy leads to an increase in the development of geothermal energy projects and heat has become a common tracer in hydrology and hydrogeology. Designing geothermal systems requires a multidisciplinary approach including geological and hydrogeological aspects. In this context, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) can bring relevant, qualitative and quantitative information on the temperature distribution in operating shallow geothermal systems or during heat tracing experiments. We followed a heat tracing experiment in an alluvial aquifer using cross-borehole time-lapse ERT. Heated water was injected in a well while water of the aquifer was extracted at another well. An ERT section was set up across the main flow direction. The results of ERT were transformed into temperature using calibrated petrophysical relationships. These ERT-derived temperatures were then compared to direct temperature measurements in control piezometers collected with distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and groundwater temperature loggers. Spatially, it enabled to map the horizontal and vertical extent of the heated water plume, as well as the zones where maximum temperatures occurred. Quantitatively, the temperatures and breakthrough curves estimated from ERT were in good agreement with the ones observed directly during the rise and maximum of the curve. An overestimation, likely related to 3D effects, was observed for the tail of the heat breakthrough curve. The error made on temperature can be estimated to be between 10 to 20 %, which is a fair value for indirect measurements. From our data, we estimated a quantification threshold for temperature variation of 1.2°C. These results suggest that ERT should be considered when designing heat tracing experiments or geothermal systems. It could help also to assess the geometrical complexity of the concerned reservoirs. It also appears that ERT could be a useful tool to monitor and control geothermal systems once they are in operation. [less ▲]

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See detailResponse of plant functional traits during the restoration of calcareous grasslands from forest stands
Piqueray, Julien; Ferroni, Lucia; Delescaille, Louis-Marie et al

in Ecological Indicators (2015)

In this survey, we studied the response of plant functional traits to calcareous grassland restoration in the Calestienne region, Southern Belgium (restoration protocol: forest clear-cutting followed by ... [more ▼]

In this survey, we studied the response of plant functional traits to calcareous grassland restoration in the Calestienne region, Southern Belgium (restoration protocol: forest clear-cutting followed by grazing at all sites). We considered traits related to dispersal, establishment, and persistence that integrate the main challenges of plants to re-establish and survive in restored areas. Functional traits were compiled from databases and compared among (i) pre-restoration and young restoration forests; (ii) restoration areas of different ages; and (iii) old restorations and reference grasslands. The following questions were addressed: (i) What is the early response (2-4 years) in terms of plant functional trait following one restorative clear-cut event? (ii) What plants functional trait responses occur from restorative management (i.e. sheep and goat grazing)? (iii) Which differences still persist between the oldest restored parcels (10-15 years), and the historical reference grasslands? Forest clear-cuts induced several changes among functional traits, including decreased mean seed mass and certain vegetative traits (i.e. decreased phanerophytes, branching species; and increased short lifespan species i.e. annuals and biennials). During restorative management, clonal, epizoochorous and autumn germinating species were favored. Despite numerous other changes during this phase, many differences remained compared to reference grasslands. In particular, geophytes, mycorrhizal and evergreen species abundance were not approaching reference grassland values. The observed pattern helped to draw inferences on the possible mechanisms operating under vegetation recovery following restorative forest clear-cut and subsequent management were identified and described in this study. Results indicated grazing was an important factor, which increased epizoochorous species, and autumn germinating taxa that filled niches in vegetation opened by summer grazing animals. Finally, differences between old restoration and reference grasslands emphasized that management should focus on reduction in soil fertility, and geophyte rhizomatous grasses. Long-term monitoring is vital to assess if management plans are effective in the complete restoration of species functional trait assemblages. [less ▲]

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See detailThe sentence repetition task: A powerful diagnostic tool for French children with specific language impairment
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Quémart, Pauline; Magis, David ULg et al

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2014), 35

This study assesses the diagnostic accuracy and construct validity of a sentence repetition task that is commonly used for the identification of French children with specific language impairment (SLI ... [more ▼]

This study assesses the diagnostic accuracy and construct validity of a sentence repetition task that is commonly used for the identification of French children with specific language impairment (SLI). Thirty-four school-aged children with a confirmed, diagnostically based diagnosis of SLI, and 34 control children matched on age and nonverbal abilities performed the sentence repetition task. Two general scoring measures took into account the verbatim repetition of the sentence and the number of words accurately repeated. Moreover, five other scoring measures were applied to their answers in order to separately take into account their respect of lexical items, functional items, syntax, verb morphology, and the general meaning of the sentence. Results show good to high levels of sensitivity and specificity at the three cut-off points for all scoring measures. A principal component analysis revealed two factors. Scoring measures for the respect of functional words, syntax and verb morphology provided the largest loadings to the first factor, while scoring measures for the respect of lexical words and general semantics provided the largest loadings to the second factor. Sentence repetition appears to be a valuable tool to identify SLI in French children, and the ability to repeat sentences correctly is supported by two factors: a morphosyntactic factor and a lexical factor. [less ▲]

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See detailToward a tool aimed to quantify soil compaction risks at a regional scale: application to Wallonia (Belgium)
D'Or, Dimitri; Destain, Marie-France ULg

in Soil & Tillage Research (2014), 144

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the ... [more ▼]

The spatial analysis of the soil compaction risk has been developed at the regional level and applied to Wallonia (Belgium). The methodology is based on the estimation of the probability of exceeding the preconsolidation stress due to the application of loads on the soil. Preconsolidation stresses (Pc) are computed from the pedotransfer functions of Horn and Fleige (2003) at pF 1.8 and 2.5 and classified into 6 categories ranging from very low Pc (< 30 kPa) to extremely high Pc (> 150 kPa). The computation requires the knowledge of pedological (texture, organic content), mechanical (bulk density, cohesion, internal friction angle), and hydraulic variables (water content available, non-available water content, air capacity, saturated hydraulic conductivity). These variables are obtained from databases like HYPRES or AARDEWERK or from pedotransfer functions. The computation of Pc takes into account the spatial structure of the data: in some cases, data are abundant (e.g. texture data) and spatial variability is taken into account through geostatistical methods. In other cases, the data is sparse but uncertainty information can be extracted from the knowledge of the statistical distribution. Maps of the most probable Pc class are produced. Uncertainty is computed as the classification error probability. Implementation of these methods in Wallonia showed that Pc values higher than 120 kPa are reached either on 64 % of the territory at pF 2.5 or on 55 % at pF 1.8. A higher uncertainty was found at pF 2.5 than at pF 1.8. Uncertainty was also found higher for clay and clayed loess than for other textural classes present in Wallonia. The risk of compaction is defined as the probability that Pc is exceeded by the stress created by a load applied to the soil at a depth of 40 cm, the loads being similar to those induced by agricultural or forestry tires. It appeared that subsoil compaction risks exist mainly in loamy forest soils with small coarse fragments supporting loads similar to that existing on logging machines. In the zones where the uncertainty is low, the developed tool could be used as a basis for providing policy measures in order to promote soil-friendly farming and forest practices. [less ▲]

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See detailSur les définitions de Dieu. Entretien avec Valère Novarina
Dubouclez, Olivier ULg; Novarina, Valère

in Littérature (2014)

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See detailA BCool magnetic snapshot survey of solar-type stars
Marsden, S.C.; Petit, P.; Jeffers, S.V. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014), 444

We present the results of a major high-resolution spectropolarimetric BCool project magnetic survey of 170 solar-type stars. Surface magnetic fields were detected on 67 stars, with 21 classified as mature ... [more ▼]

We present the results of a major high-resolution spectropolarimetric BCool project magnetic survey of 170 solar-type stars. Surface magnetic fields were detected on 67 stars, with 21 classified as mature solar-type stars, a result that increases by a factor of 4 the number of mature solar-type stars on which magnetic fields have been observed. In addition, a magnetic field was detected for 3 out of 18 of the subgiant stars surveyed. For the population of K-dwarfs, the mean value of |Bl| (|Bl|mean) was also found to be higher (5.7 G) than |Bl|mean measured for the G-dwarfs (3.2 G) and the F-dwarfs (3.3 G). For the sample as a whole, |Bl|mean increases with rotation rate and decreases with age, and the upper envelope for |Bl| correlates well with the observed chromospheric emission. Stars with a chromospheric S-index greater than about 0.2 show a high magnetic field detection rate and so offer optimal targets for future studies. This survey constitutes the most extensive spectropolarimetric survey of cool stars undertaken to date, and suggests that it is feasible to pursue magnetic mapping of a wide range of moderately active solar-type stars to improve our understanding of their surface fields and dynamos. [less ▲]

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See detailAn inverse modelling approach to estimate the hygric parameters of clay-based masonry during a Moisture Buffer Value test
Dubois, Samuel ULg; McGregor, Fionn; Evrard, Arnaud et al

in Building & Environment (2014), 81

This paper presents an inverse modelling approach for parameter estimation of a model dedicated to the description of moisture mass transfer in porous hygroscopic building materials. The hygric behaviour ... [more ▼]

This paper presents an inverse modelling approach for parameter estimation of a model dedicated to the description of moisture mass transfer in porous hygroscopic building materials. The hygric behaviour of unfired clay-based masonry samples is specifically studied here and the Moisture Buffer Value (MBV) protocol is proposed as a data source from which it is possible to estimate several parameters at once. Those include materials properties and experimental parameters. For this purpose, the mass of two clay samples with different compositions is continuously monitored during several consecutive humidity cycles in isothermal conditions. Independently of these dynamic experimental tests, their moisture storage and transport parameters are measured with standard steady-state methods. A simple moisture transfer model developed in COMSOL Multiphysics is used to predict the moisture uptake/release behaviour during the MBV tests. The set of model parameters values that minimizes the difference between simulated and experimental results is then automatically estimated using an inverse modelling algorithm based on Bayesian techniques. For materials properties, the optimized parameters values are compared to values that were experimentally measured in steady state. And because a precise understanding of parameters is needed to assess the confidence in the inverse modelling results, a sensitivity analysis of the model is also provided. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling serial offenders’ spatial behaviours: new assumptions for geographic profiling
Trotta, Marie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

The geographic profiling is amethodology of investigation which uses the crime sites of a criminal series in order to delineate prior areas for searching the offender. Its implementation is currently ... [more ▼]

The geographic profiling is amethodology of investigation which uses the crime sites of a criminal series in order to delineate prior areas for searching the offender. Its implementation is currently limited by too simplistic assumptions that are difficult to assess during an investigation or even not corroborated at an individual level of observation. This thesis studies the predictive capacities of geographic profiling in the context of Belgium, a dense country where the road network is not suitable for classical algorithmimplemented with Euclidean or Manhattan distances. More precisely, the thesis has for first objective to integrate space anisotropy with two improvements: (1) the integration of the road network in the journey-to-crime and (2) the integration of the structure of opportunities for series of sexual offences. Beyond this objective, the thesis questions a hypothesis underlying this type of research methodology: the kind of spatial relationship between the offender’s residence and the crime sites. An alternative to the distance decay effect is developed, minimising the variance in travelled distances between the offender anchor point and the initial contact sites of the offences (MOV hypothesis). The sensitivity of this methodology is measured and its effectiveness is compared to the one of the distance decay effect. A major result of the thesis is that the share of behaviours than can be modelled by this new hypothesis is similar to the one of the distance decay effect. However, a large number of series did not meet the required conditions to implement an efficientmethodology given the multiplicity of offender’s residences or the scarcity of sites composing the series; those applicability criteria are analysed in this work. Nevertheless, theMOV hypothesis is particularly valuable for long series of offences. Then, the thesis analyses the impact of the geometry of crime series locations on the effectiveness of the chosen spatial assumption (distance decay effect orMOV) with graph theory. It highlights the superiority of the MOV hypothesis for offenders travelling in some preferred direction. The analysis also shows that both hypotheses are not mutually exclusive but can be combined to build offender geographic profiles. Finally, this thesis focuses on the modelling of neutral areas in terms of criminal attractiveness on the Belgian territory. The work presents the originality of analysing data on a whole country, integrating both urban and non-urban areas. The objective of the modelling is the integration of the opportunity structure of sexual offences in the geographic profile and the estimation of the perturbing effect of a differentiated attractiveness. In order to assess this perturbation, we propose a two-steps process. Firstly, a regression model combining factors fromthe crime pattern and social disorganisation theories models the spatial distribution of crimes. The regression model identifies a centre-periphery relationship in the spatial distribution of crime locations. Still, the model underestimates the number of positive sectors, omitting some attractors. Then, the impact of attractive location (i.e. presenting the favourable factors for crime concentration)is evaluated for the series of sexual offences. In fine, the two spatial hypotheses do not seem affected by the attractors identified by the modelling except when the contact sites are clustered in attractive areas. In addition, the share of serial offenders committing their offences in the most attractive locations is smaller than that of single offenders. This observation strengthens the need for working on spatial distribution models instead of calibrated functions with solved cases. [less ▲]

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See detailManaging understory light to maintain the coexistence of forest tree species with different shade tolerances
Ligot, Gauthier ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

Similar to the management of the other environmental resources, forest management has been questioned and more sustainable practices of forest management are being sought. New close-to-nature practices ... [more ▼]

Similar to the management of the other environmental resources, forest management has been questioned and more sustainable practices of forest management are being sought. New close-to-nature practices aim to favor natural processes over human interventions. Particularly, continuous-cover forestry has the goal of relying on natural regeneration, and maintaining irregular stand structure and tree species mixture. However, maintaining mixture of species with different shade tolerances appears arduous with such a silvicultural system. Successfully managing irregular and mixed forests, relying on natural processes, requires a strong knowledge of the ecology of natural regeneration. In particular, strong knowledge is required to predict the result of the interspecific competition in the understory depending upon light availability. The amount of radiation transmitted to the understory is indeed a critical factor determining regeneration dynamics. It determines, at least in part, regeneration composition because of interspecific differences of growth and survival under shade. Moreover, our quantitative understanding of understory light in uneven-aged and mixed stands remains incomplete. A better quantitative understanding of understory light is needed to provide quantitative guidelines for the management of understory light in uneven-aged and mixed stands and, hence, for the management of natural regeneration. The purpose of this thesis is to determine how close-to-nature forest management can maintain mixtures of species with contrasting shade tolerances. I consider ecological conditions with good water and nutrient supplies. In these conditions, partially closed canopy limits the amount of light that reaches the understory, and light is the major factor driving regeneration composition. Consequently, I study the dynamics of natural regeneration with regards to light availability as well as the interception of light by the canopy of heterogeneous stands. Studying the regeneration ecology of two species with contrasting shade tolerances (Fagus sylvatica L. and Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.), I find that the shade-tolerant species outgrow the less shade-tolerant species in all light conditions. Even though the control of understory light with continuous-cover silviculture is required to sustain the growth of less shade-tolerant regenerations, it might not be sufficient to maintain the coexistence of species with contrasting shade tolerances. In order to examine the effects of canopy structure and composition on understory light availability, I use a model of light interception by heterogeneous canopies after synthesizing and discussing the approaches reported in the literature. The model predicts satisfactorily measures of transmitted light even though it is a relatively simple radiative transfer model. I next explore how various silvicultural treatments can be manipulated to provide favorable understory light conditions for natural regeneration. These silvicultural strategies correspond to selective thinnings of five different types, e.g., harvesting preferentially small trees, large trees, or trees of shade-tolerant species or creating circular gaps. The results underline that creating favorable understory light conditions for natural regeneration can be achieved with various regeneration treatments. However, the adequate reduction of stand density depends upon the chosen silvicultural strategies. In particular, creating gaps of about 500 m2 provides adequate light for small regeneration clumps. Harvesting preferentially small and trees of shade-tolerant species are also appropriate but required higher harvest intensity. Harvesting preferentially large trees slightly increases understory light and promotes more shade-tolerant species than less shade-tolerant species. In order to maintain the coexistence of species with contrasting shade tolerances, forest manager must control understory light and manually suppress the regeneration of the shade-tolerant species. The outcome of this study provides foresters with the necessary tools to evaluate how silvicultural treatments can be manipulated to create or maintain favorable light conditions for the regeneration of species of different shade tolerances. Guidelines are additionally proposed for forest managers wanting to maintain the coexistence of species with contrasting shade tolerances. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Airline Container Loading Problem with Pickup and Delivery
Lurkin, Virginie ULg; Schyns, Michael ULg

Conference (2014, October 19)

The present paper looks into the problem of optimizing the loading of a set of containers and pallets into cargo aircraft serving multiple airports. Due to the pickup and delivery operations occurring at ... [more ▼]

The present paper looks into the problem of optimizing the loading of a set of containers and pallets into cargo aircraft serving multiple airports. Due to the pickup and delivery operations occurring at intermediate airports, this problem is simultaneously a weight and balance problem and a sequencing problem. Our objective is to minimize fuel and handling operations costs. This problem is shown to be NP-hard. We resort to a mixed integer linear program. On the basis of a professional partner's real-world data, TNT Airways, we perform numerical experiments using a standard B&C library. This approach yields better solutions than traditional manual planning, which results in substantial cost savings. [less ▲]

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See detailKnowledge transfer from Belgian government to medical doctors
MORTELMANS, Katrien; REMMEN, Roy; BERKEIN, Philip et al

Conference (2014, October 02)

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See detailÉTUDE DU COMPLEXE ENZYMATIQUE DES SYMBIONTES DU TERMITE RETICULITERMES FLAVIPES (EX. SANTONENSIS)
Tarayre, Cédric ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

In the light of the economic, environmental and social context in which we live today, it has become obvious that the use of fossil fuels is not conceivable over the long term. Some alternatives have ... [more ▼]

In the light of the economic, environmental and social context in which we live today, it has become obvious that the use of fossil fuels is not conceivable over the long term. Some alternatives have therefore emerged in recent years. Second-generation biofuels are one of those alternatives and are based on the exploitation of vegetal biomass, also called lignocellulosic biomass. These materials require a hydrolysis step which can notably be achieved by enzymes. Some insects, such as termites, harbor complex microbial communities inside their digestive tracts. Those communities are able to produce enzymes which can be used in the field of the hydrolysis of vegetal biomass. This is what this thesis deals with. The main part of the work done focused on the research of enzyme-producing microorganisms (bacteria, mycetes and protists) responsible for the degradation of hemicelluloses and cellulose, the hydrolysis of which releases fermentable sugars. The insect which was used in this work was Reticulitermes flavipes (ex. santonensis), a lower termite, harboring a highly diversified internal microflora. This thesis describes the characterization of the microbial strains which were isolated and the enzymes they secrete. A complementary part of this research focussed on termites grown on artificial diets. The objective of this part was multiple : isolating enzyme-producing strains, not extractable according to the standard technique, and characterizing the microflora resulting from the applied artificial diets. This multidisciplinary approach was based on microscopy, proteomics, metagenomics and the assessment of metabolism applied to the different microbial consortia. [less ▲]

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See detailAn asymptotic expansion-based method for a spectral approach in equivalent statistical linearization
Canor, Thomas ULg; Blaise, Nicolas ULg; Denoël, Vincent ULg

in Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics (2014), 38

Equivalent linearization consists in replacing a nonlinear system with an equivalent linear one whose parameters are tuned with regard to the minimization of a suitable function. In particular, the ... [more ▼]

Equivalent linearization consists in replacing a nonlinear system with an equivalent linear one whose parameters are tuned with regard to the minimization of a suitable function. In particular, the Gaussian equivalent linearization expresses the properties of an equivalent linear system in terms of the mean vector and the covariance matrix of the responses, which are the unknowns of the optimization problem in a spectral approach. Even though the system has been linearized, the resulting set of equations is nonlinear. The computational effort in this method pertains to the solution of a possibly large set of nonlinear algebraic equations involving integrals and inversions of full matrices. This work proposes to develop and apply an asymptotic expansion-based method to facilitate and to improve the statistical linearization for large nonlinear structures. The proposed developments demonstrate that for slightly to moderately coupled nonlinear systems, the equivalent linearization can be applied with an appropriate modal approach and eventually seen as a convergent series initiated with the stochastic response of a main decoupled linear system. With this method, the computational effort is attractively reduced, the conditioning of the set of nonlinear algebraic equations is improved and inversion of full transfer matrices and repeated integrations are avoided. The paper gives a formal description of the method and illustrates its implementation and performances with the computation of stationary responses of nonlinear structures subject to coherent random excitation fields. [less ▲]

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See detailUnderstanding Random Forests: From Theory to Practice
Louppe, Gilles ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

Data analysis and machine learning have become an integrative part of the modern scientific methodology, offering automated procedures for the prediction of a phenomenon based on past observations ... [more ▼]

Data analysis and machine learning have become an integrative part of the modern scientific methodology, offering automated procedures for the prediction of a phenomenon based on past observations, unraveling underlying patterns in data and providing insights about the problem. Yet, caution should avoid using machine learning as a black-box tool, but rather consider it as a methodology, with a rational thought process that is entirely dependent on the problem under study. In particular, the use of algorithms should ideally require a reasonable understanding of their mechanisms, properties and limitations, in order to better apprehend and interpret their results. Accordingly, the goal of this thesis is to provide an in-depth analysis of random forests, consistently calling into question each and every part of the algorithm, in order to shed new light on its learning capabilities, inner workings and interpretability. The first part of this work studies the induction of decision trees and the construction of ensembles of randomized trees, motivating their design and purpose whenever possible. Our contributions follow with an original complexity analysis of random forests, showing their good computational performance and scalability, along with an in-depth discussion of their implementation details, as contributed within Scikit-Learn. In the second part of this work, we analyze and discuss the interpretability of random forests in the eyes of variable importance measures. The core of our contributions rests in the theoretical characterization of the Mean Decrease of Impurity variable importance measure, from which we prove and derive some of its properties in the case of multiway totally randomized trees and in asymptotic conditions. In consequence of this work, our analysis demonstrates that variable importances as computed from non-totally randomized trees (e.g., standard Random Forest) suffer from a combination of defects, due to masking effects, misestimations of node impurity or due to the binary structure of decision trees. Finally, the last part of this dissertation addresses limitations of random forests in the context of large datasets. Through extensive experiments, we show that subsampling both samples and features simultaneously provides on par performance while lowering at the same time the memory requirements. Overall this paradigm highlights an intriguing practical fact: there is often no need to build single models over immensely large datasets. Good performance can often be achieved by building models on (very) small random parts of the data and then combining them all in an ensemble, thereby avoiding all practical burdens of making large data fit into memory. [less ▲]

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