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See detailSequential decision making under uncertainty in randomly generated games : A Minecraft intelligent agent for resource gathering
Lorent, Pierre ULg

Master's dissertation (2014)

Video games have significantly evolved since the emergence of first arcade games. They have become more and more complex and now allow for the simulation of advanced environments. This work focuses on the ... [more ▼]

Video games have significantly evolved since the emergence of first arcade games. They have become more and more complex and now allow for the simulation of advanced environments. This work focuses on the development of an intelligent agent that aims at collecting a given type of ressource in random worlds from Minecraft, a well-known video game. [less ▲]

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See detailA Phylogenomic analysis of the origin of plastids
Cornet, Luc ULg; Javaux, Emmanuelle ULg; Wilmotte, Annick ULg et al

Conference (2014, June 24)

Cyanobacteria are a morphologically diverse phylum, with their first occurrence dating from the Precambrian. Oxygenic photosynthesis appeared in this group during the same geological period. Several ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacteria are a morphologically diverse phylum, with their first occurrence dating from the Precambrian. Oxygenic photosynthesis appeared in this group during the same geological period. Several publications have established, without any doubt, that plastids (both primary and complex) form a monophyletic ensemble emerging from Cyanobacteria. However, the exact position of plastids within Cyanobacteria is still uncertain, with several recent papers leading to very different hypotheses. Here we present a phylogenomic analysis of the origin of plastids. Our study takes advantage of all the available genomes and thus represents the best taxonomic sampling seen so far: 140 genomes of Cyanobacteria, 101 genomes of plastids and 27 outgroups taken in Melainabacteria and Chloroflexi. It results in an analysis using state-of-the-art methods (e.g., orthology assessment using USEARCH and OrthoMCL, phylogenetic inference using CAT and CAT-GTR models) based on more than 160 protein alignments totalizing over 20,000 unambiguously aligned amino acids. To confirm our results, we performed gene jackknife inferences and gene reconciliation analyses on the same dataset. We expect that out approach accounts for potential phylogenetic artefacts due to changes in the evolutionary process having occurred when the guest cyanobacterium became an endosymbiont and eventually a plastid. Meanwhile, we improve the phylogeny of Cyanobacteria per se, notably because of the presence of Melainabacteria in our dataset. [less ▲]

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See detailBodies of Evidence: An Anthropology of the Health Claim
Hendrickx, Kim ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

How can a food or food ingredient be proven healthy, without calling it a drug? In this thesis, I make an attempt at understanding the stakes of a heated debate involving scientists from the food industry ... [more ▼]

How can a food or food ingredient be proven healthy, without calling it a drug? In this thesis, I make an attempt at understanding the stakes of a heated debate involving scientists from the food industry, academia, and the European regulatory authorities. The centrality and importance of 'science' in the debate is remarkable, and merits our full attention. The 'science' that is disputed between 'industry' and 'the regulatory authorities', and that serves as a vehicle for their credibility and authority respectively, consists of a very particular practice of putting molecules to the test in clinical trials. The clinical trial in drug testing allows for making a qualitative leap from a molecule's biological action to its therapeutic effect. In the case of food, it is not permitted to define the molecule's therapeutics in relation to pathology, otherwise the substance tips over and becomes a drug. The shared concern of all scientists involved in the debate is to avoid this 'tipping point'. What the debate shows, is not so much an opposition between 'corporate science' and 'regulatory science', but an uneasy relationship between the ecology of pharmaceutical drugs, and an ecology-yet-to-be-made for food therapeutics. Such an ecology rests upon a pattern of collaboration -or agencement- between materials and humans pertaining to different realms of production, regulation and science. As such, the terms of the debate on healthy food ingredients can be reformulated in more precise terms than 'industry' versus 'the authorities', or 'good science' versus 'bad science', which only come to exacerbate a deeper-lying tension that is technical and political at once. At stake are our conceptions of health and disease, cure and prevention, and the professionals that have the authority to talk about health in present-day Europe. [less ▲]

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See detailGeneration of artificial magnetic fields using dipole-dipole interactions
Cesa, Alexandre ULg; Martin, John ULg

Poster (2014, June 23)

In 1996, Lloyd [1] showed that the dynamics of complex many-body quantum systems can be efficiently simulated by quantum computers, an idea first put forward by Manin [2] and further developed by Feynman ... [more ▼]

In 1996, Lloyd [1] showed that the dynamics of complex many-body quantum systems can be efficiently simulated by quantum computers, an idea first put forward by Manin [2] and further developed by Feynman [3]. Although the first quantum computers of a few qubits have been realised experimentally [4, 5], the advent of scalable quantum computers might take another few decades. An alternative tool in the context of simulation is a highly controllable quantum system able to mimic the dynamics of other complex quantum systems, known as an analog quantum simulator. Cold neutral atoms and trapped ions have been shown to be versatile quantum simulators [6, 7] thanks to their high flexibility, controllability, and scalability. They permit one to study a wide range of problems arising from atomic physics, relativistic quantum physics, or cosmology [8]. Since neutral atoms do not carry any net charge, the simulation of electric and magnetic condensed matter phenomena, such as the spin Hall effect, seems out of reach. To overcome this apparent difficulty, the idea has been proposed to create artificial electromagnetic potentials for neutral atoms based on atom-light interaction [9– 12]. These artificial potentials act on neutral atoms as real electromagnetic potentials act on charged particles. Many works on artificial gauge potentials induced by atom-light interactions adopt a single-particle approach [12]. The predicted potentials are then supposed to be valid for a system of weakly interacting atoms. So far, the consequences of atom-atom interactions on the generation of artificial gauge fields has little been studied. The aim of this work is to study the artificial gauge fields arising from the interaction of two Rydberg atoms driven by a common laser field [13]. In this situation, we show that the combined atom-atom and atom-field interactions give rise to nonuniform, artificial gauge potentials. We identify the mechanism responsible for the emergence of these gauge potentials. Analytical expressions for the latter indicate that the strongest artificial magnetic fields are reached in the regime intermediate between the dipole blockade regime and the regime in which the atoms are sufficiently far apart such that atom-light interaction dominates over atom-atom interactions. We discuss the differences and similarities of artificial gauge fields originating from resonant dipole-dipole [14] and van der Waals [15] interactions. We also give an estimation of experimentally attainable artificial magnetic fields resulting from this mechanism and we discuss their detection through the deflection of the atomic motion. [1] S. Lloyd, Science 273, 1073 (1996). [2] Yu. I. Manin, Computable and uncomputable, Sovetskoye Radio, Moscow, 1980. [3] R. P. Feynman, Int. J. Theor. Phys. 21, 467 (1982). [4] L. DiCarlo, J. M. Chow, J. M. Gambetta, Lev S. Bishop, B. R. Johnson, D. I. Schuster, J. Majer, A. Blais, L. Frunzio, S. M. Girvin, and R. J. Schoelkopf, Nature 460, 240 (2009). [5] N. Xu, J. Zhu, D. Lu, X. Zhou, X. Peng, and J. Du, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 130501 (2012). [6] I. Buluta and F. Nori, Science 326, 108 (2009). [7] I. Bloch, J. Dalibard and S. Nascimbéne, Nature Physics 8, 267 (2012). [8] R. Blatt and C. F. Roos, Nature Physics 8, 277 (2012). [9] G. Juzeliunas and P. Öhberg, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 033602 (2004). [10] G. Juzeliunas, P. Öhberg, J. Ruseckas, and A. Klein, Phys. Rev. A 71, 053614 (2005). [11] G. Juzeliunas, J. Ruseckas, P. Öhberg, and M. Fleischhauer, Phys. Rev. A 73, 025602 (2006). [12] J. Dalibard, F. Gerbier, G. Juzeliu ̄nas, and P. Öhberg, Rev. Mod. Phys. 83, 1523 (2011). [13] A. Cesa and J. Martin, Phys. Rev. A 88,062703 (2013). [14] A. Gaëtan, Y. Miroshnychenko, T. Wilk, A. Chotia, M. Viteau, D. Comparat, P. Pillet, A. Browaeys, and P. Grangier, Nature Physics 5, 115 (2009). [15] L. Béguin, A. Vernier, R. Chicireanu, T. Lahaye, and A. Browaeys, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 263201 (2013). [less ▲]

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See detailBrûlons (un peu) les business plans !
Dufays, Frédéric ULg

Article for general public (2014)

L’impact du business plan sur la performance de l’entrepreneur est contesté. Souvent considéré comme une obligation, le business plan a-t-il dès lors encore une utilité ? Nous montrons qu'outre sa ... [more ▼]

L’impact du business plan sur la performance de l’entrepreneur est contesté. Souvent considéré comme une obligation, le business plan a-t-il dès lors encore une utilité ? Nous montrons qu'outre sa fonction de support de réflexion pour l'entrepreneur, le business plan constitue un signal pour les parties prenantes (et les investisseurs en particulier), et permet dès lors de construire une légitimité pour l'entrepreneur, qui peut faciliter le processus d'acquisition de ressources. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing tropical forage species used as pig feed ingredients in the western provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kambashi Mutiaka, Bienvenu ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

The use of forage species to feed pig goes back to immemorial times. If forage is no longer used in industrial farms with genetically-improved breeds, its accounts for an important part of pig diets in ... [more ▼]

The use of forage species to feed pig goes back to immemorial times. If forage is no longer used in industrial farms with genetically-improved breeds, its accounts for an important part of pig diets in smallholder pig production systems in tropical areas including the Western provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aim of this research thesis was to assess the relevancy of the use of local forage resources as a strategy to reduce reliance of pig production systems on concentrate feed ingredients in tropical environment, by identifying plant species available to smallholders with interesting nutritional value that could partly replace concentrates in the diets. First, smallholder pig production systems in two western provinces of the DRC were characterized and the most used forage species in pigs identified. Their nutritional value was determined using an in vitro model of the pig’s gastro-intestinal tract. It was concluded that Manihot esculenta, Ipomoea batatas, Moringa oleifera, and legume species exhibit an interesting profile for feeding pigs while grasses, Eichhornia crassipes, Acacia mangium and Cajanus cajan should be discouraged. Feeding values of Psophocarpus scandens, Vigna unguiculata, Stylosanthes guianensis, and Pueraria. phaseoloides were measured by assessing the voluntary feed intake of forage hays-based diets and their digestibility. Finally, the economic impact of feeding Psophocarpus scandens, Vigna unguiculata, and Stylosanthes guianensis, was measured through growth performance, carcass quality, and production costs determination. It is concluded that although forage species reduce the nutritive value and the growth of animals, the investigated legumes do not impact negatively the economical balance of concentrate-fed pigs when forage accounts for approx. 10 % of the diet. The ability of some forage species to improve performances of animals fed ill-balanced diets as usually practiced by smallholder farmers in the DRC should be investigated as it is suspected that under less favourable conditions, conclusions on the usefulness of forage legumes in pigs might be more positive [less ▲]

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See detailThe Belgian Tetris: assessing the political impact of metaphors on citizens' perceptions of Belgian federalism
Perrez, Julien ULg; Reuchamps, Min

Conference (2014, June 20)

In the literature, the political impact of metaphors has often been taken for granted from metaphor analysis in political discourse, be it elite discourse or media discourse. However, a more global ... [more ▼]

In the literature, the political impact of metaphors has often been taken for granted from metaphor analysis in political discourse, be it elite discourse or media discourse. However, a more global understanding of what this political impact could consist of, is still lacking from the current research agenda. As Koller (2009:121) puts it: “metaphor helps construct particular aspects of reality and reproduce (or subvert) dominant schemas.” To be able to account for how metaphors, through discourses, actively shape the political reality, it is important to look at the relationships between metaphorical discourses and their environment. Based on the idea that metaphors do not only reflect the perceived reality, but also function as cues through which citizens come to understand complex political processes and through which they shape political behaviors, the aim of this study is precisely to look at how specific metaphors might impact on the citizens’ framing of Belgian federalism. To measure the impact of metaphors on the citizens’ political representations and attitudes, we developed an experimental set-up based on an article published in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir (13-14 July 2013) in which Belgian federalism was deliberately compared to a Tetris game. The original article included a picture and a text (208 words), which were used as authentic experimental material. For this experiment, we distinguished three experimental conditions and one control condition. In the first experimental condition (full condition), the participants were exposed to the original article (including the text and the picture). In the second and third experimental conditions, the participants were respectively exposed either to the text (text condition) or the picture (picture condition). In the control condition, the participants weren’t exposed to any metaphorical material at all. In the second stage of the experiment, the participants were asked to achieve three interrelated tasks: (i) a free description task, based on a free description of their own perception of Belgian federalism, (ii) an association task, in which they had to select a picture which they found the most appropriate to describe Belgian federalism, and finally (iii) a questionnaire measuring the participants’ political knowledge of Belgian federalism and attitudes towards its future development. In a post-test held four weeks after the first experiment, the three tasks of the second stage have been replicated. This experiment has been conducted in autumn 2013 among 400 students. Comparing the various experimental conditions will make it possible (i) to measure the impact of the Tetris metaphor on the citizens’ perceptions and representations of Belgian federalism, (ii) to assess to what extent the different metaphorical media differently contribute to this impact and (iii) to measure the long-term impact of this metaphor on the citizens’ political representations and attitudes. In answering these questions, this study will contribute to a better understanding of the role and functions metaphors play in political discourse, and more globally in our everyday political interactions. [less ▲]

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See detailTriple negative tumors accumulate significantly less methylglyoxal specific adducts than other human breast cancer subtypes
Chiavarina, Barbara ULg; Nokin, Marie-Julie; Durieux, Florence ULg et al

in Oncotarget (2014)

Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are associated with increased risk of breast cancer development and progression. Methylglyoxal (MG), a glycolysis by- product, is generated through a non-enzymatic ... [more ▼]

Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are associated with increased risk of breast cancer development and progression. Methylglyoxal (MG), a glycolysis by- product, is generated through a non-enzymatic reaction from triose-phosphate intermediates. This dicarbonyl compound is highly reactive and contributes to the accumulation of advanced glycation end products. In this study, we analyzed the accumulation of Arg-pyrimidine, a MG-arginine adduct, in human breast adenocarcinoma and we observed a consistent increase of Arg-pyrimidine in cancer cells when compared with the non-tumoral counterpart. Further immunohistochemical comparative analysis of breast cancer subtypes revealed that triple negative lesions exhibited low accumulation of Arg-pyrimidine compared with other subtypes. Interestingly, the activity of glyoxalase 1 (Glo-1), an enzyme that detoxifies MG, was significantly higher in triple negative than in other subtype lesions, suggesting that these aggressive tumors are able to develop an efficient response against dicarbonyl stress. Using breast cancer cell lines, we substantiated these clinical observations by showing that, in contrast to triple positive, triple negative cells induced Glo-1 expression and activity in response to MG treatment. This is the first report that Arg- pyrimidine adduct accumulation is a consistent event in human breast cancer with a differential detection between triple negative and other breast cancer subtypes. [less ▲]

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See detailImprovement of data quality for Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging and application to clinical neurological research
André, Elodie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

Understanding human brain function and dysfunction is one of the major challenges of our century. One of the most popular methods to achieve this goal is in vivo magnetic resonance imaging. In particular ... [more ▼]

Understanding human brain function and dysfunction is one of the major challenges of our century. One of the most popular methods to achieve this goal is in vivo magnetic resonance imaging. In particular, diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging has become a standard tool to non-invasively study white matter structure in vivo. The main contributions of this work can be divided in two parts. The first part deals with the development of pre-processing methods to improve image quality and the accuracy of diffusion tensor and diffusion kurtosis-derived parameters. First, we describe and evaluate a novel method to correct data misalignment due to subject motion. Using an iterative model-based ap- proach, individual diffusion images are realigned to their own theoretical pair, rather than to the unweighted image. A recently developed advanced measure of tensor distance was used as a stopping criterion. The accuracy of the method is tested via a simulated diffusion tensor imaging data set. We have shown here that our procedure is a reliable and efficient way to correct subject motion during DW acquisitions, and that with a proper acquisition setup, it performs better than standard coregistration procedures. Next, we studied the influence of noise in diffusion kurtosis imaging. Two noise correction approaches are proposed and applied to a pool of 25 sub- jects to evaluate inter-subject variability and the impact of noise correc- tion. Additionally, data were acquired on a single subject with different head positions within the coil and different acquisition scheme to evaluate the impact of noise correction on within-subject variability. Results show a strong impact of noise correction on the estimated mean kurtosis, while the estimation of fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity were less affected. Both within- and between-subject signal-to-noise (SNR) related variability of the mean kurtosis estimate is considerably reduced after correction for the noise bias, leading to more accurate and reproducible measures. In this work, we have proposed a straightforward method that improves the accu- racy of diffusion kurtosis metrics. Diffusion kurtosis imaging acquisitions at higher spatial resolution are made possible, which increases the chances to make valuable inferences in group analysis.The second part of this thesis deals with a clinical application of these meth- ods. A large group of patients with early-stage Parkinson’s disease was in- vestigated with diffusion kurtosis imaging and compared with a group of age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers using voxel-based analysis. Kur- tosis metrics show more sensitivity to white matter changes than standard diffusion metrics. Significant differences were found in posterior cerebral areas as well as subcortical regions like the putamen, and are therefore promising results. [less ▲]

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See detailGrowth of Chlorella in the presence of organic carbon: A photobioreactor study
Miazek, Krystian ULg; Goffin, Dorothée ULg; Richel, Aurore ULg et al

Scientific conference (2014, June 19)

In this study, the effect of organic carbon supplementation at low light intensity on Chlorella sorokiniana growth was evaluated. Addition of 1 g/L of acetate to media gave the highest growth rate and ... [more ▼]

In this study, the effect of organic carbon supplementation at low light intensity on Chlorella sorokiniana growth was evaluated. Addition of 1 g/L of acetate to media gave the highest growth rate and provided stable high biomass culture during prolonged cultivation time. Glucose at 1 – 5 g/L also improved biomass growth rate, although stability of high biomass culture could not be achieved. Overall, the presence of organic carbon can considerably enhance Chlorella growth when low light intensity is applied. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalyse et stratégies de développement de l’agriculture familiale dans un pays post-conflit: cas de la Province de Kirundo au nord du Burundi
Minani, Bonaventure ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

The Burundian family farming is indeed at the center of solutions to food and nutrition insecurity prevailing in Burundi. The agricultural sector contributes more than 40 % of GDP and employs 90 % of ... [more ▼]

The Burundian family farming is indeed at the center of solutions to food and nutrition insecurity prevailing in Burundi. The agricultural sector contributes more than 40 % of GDP and employs 90 % of active people. Kirundo famers practiced family agriculture market-oriented. This region was formerly considered as the breadbasket of the country because it fed many regions in cereals and legumes. Before 1993, Kirundo was the second rural province who had fewer households (28 %) living under poverty line. Today, this agriculture is consuming-oriented. Over 60 % of households in Kirundo Province live in food and nutrition insecurity, and 83 % of people live under poverty line. The objective of this study is to analyse underpinning constraints which hinder the system production performance of the region, in order to formulate strategies which can boost the family farming in Kirundo Province. In that case, a survey was carried out among 355 farm households in seven municipalities of the province. The results of this study showed that 282 farmers (79% of respondents) have small farmland and / or land conflicts as barriers to the family agriculture development. Contrariwise, the study identified also the existence of 73 farmers (21% of respondents) who didn’t have the small farmland and/ or land conflicts as constraints to the performance of their production systems. These farmers were divided into two groups: the first group (group A) included 41 farmers who were unable to fully exploit their land while the second group (group B) included 32 farmers who had a higher agricultural productivity. Thus, a case study was conducted with the farmers to know the core constraints which are impeding the land profitability in the first group (group A), and in other side, strategies implemented by other farmers in the group B to increase agricultural productivity. The results from this case study show that farmers partially exploiting their lands have an average area equivalent to 1.6 hectares per household, but only the third of this area is exploited. The crop yields (coffee, bananas, beans, maize, cassava, rice, sorghum, sweet potatoes, etc.) were lower than those observed at the national level. The main constraints of their lower production system performance are: the lack of agricultural workforce, this is lower because ( i) the rural exodus and early marriage of their children and departure of the household headers for seeking employment in Rwanda or in other family farms neighboring the regions, (ii) the lack of agricultural inputs, (iii) the lack of agricultural equipments, (iv) the use of moneylenders, (v) the insufficient erosion control techniques, (vi) the high rate of illiteracy,(vii) the poor distribution of organic manure between banana trees and other food crops, (viii) the persistence of traditional agro-pastoral techniques, (ix) the high animal mortality, (x) the low rate of households with fields in the lowlands and marshes, and (xi) the lack other opportunities outside the agricultural sector. Moreover, the strategies used by farmers with higher agricultural productivity for increasing the technical and economic performance of their production systems are: (i) the high rate of technology adoption (for erosion control, crop fertilization and pest management), (ii) the social development through the membership in local development associations well-structured and organized , (iii) the rational distribution of organic manure between banana trees and food crops , (iv) the application of modern agro- pastoral techniques, (v) the renewal of agricultural tools, (vi) the high rate of households with fields in the lowlands or marshes where they practice rice and other foods crops, (vii) the high literacy rate, (viii) the using of banks for credit, and (ix) the development of non-farm activities such as trade and crafts. The author concludes his study by recommending the development of non-farm activities, training farmers in modern agricultural techniques, the renewal of agricultural tools, the practices of food crops in the lowlands and marshes, and the development of small ruminants through the introduction of improved animal races and the practice of zero grazing as strategies to develop family farming in Kirundo Province. [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduction to Bayes' classifier and to the on-the-fly bayesian domain adaptation
Pierard, Sébastien ULg

Scientific conference (2014, June 19)

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See detailSPATIODATA, un modèle de bâtiment non-constructif, collaboratif et multi-usage
Delfosse, Vincent ULg; Boulanger, Christelle ULg; Jeunejean, Aurélie ULg et al

in Actes du 6ème Séminaire de Conception Architecturale Numérique (2014, June 19)

There is an increasing number of mobile applications supporting specific activities related to the indoor building environment. SpatioData is a research project aiming at the development of a ... [more ▼]

There is an increasing number of mobile applications supporting specific activities related to the indoor building environment. SpatioData is a research project aiming at the development of a collaborative platform for the effective sharing of building-related data and supporting a wide range of different activities. This paper discusses the specific data model at the heart of the project. A comparison with the traditional BIM models is given in order to motivate the choices made in this project. [less ▲]

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See detailComputation and approximation of the inverse of relationship matrices between genotyped animals: Algorithms and Applications
Faux, Pierre ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

The recent developments in molecular biology have made available thousands of genetic markers, allowing livestock genotyping at a reasonable cost and the subsequent development of genomic prediction. The ... [more ▼]

The recent developments in molecular biology have made available thousands of genetic markers, allowing livestock genotyping at a reasonable cost and the subsequent development of genomic prediction. The single-step procedure, a unified approach of genomic prediction, requires inversion of two matrices gathering additive relationships between genotyped animals: the genomic relationship matrix (G) and a part of the additive relationship matrix (A22). The inverse of A22 may also be interesting for other applications. Matrix inverse can be constructed successively by, first, computing, for each animal, the vector containing contributions of other animals to its relationship and, secondly, adding the product of each vector of contributions by itself to a zeroed matrix. The objectives of this thesis were (1) to propose algorithms to compute or to approximate the vector of contributions and (2) to test the numerical efficiency of these algorithms (computing speed, memory use and, if needed, approximation accuracy). Computing contributions covered two points: (1) finding or approximating which contributions are different from zero, and (2) computing the value of contributions considered as non-zero. In the first approach, we considered that animals closely related have non-zero contributions and approximated their values by linear regression. This approach was extended in a recursive way. In the second approach, we empirically determined the set of non-zero contributions by a heuristic algorithm of pedigree exploration (only for the case of A22). Values were then computed either by linear regression, or using the already computed inverse. We also tested an approximation strategy: limiting the number of extracted generations of non-genotyped ancestors to reduce pedigree complexity. In a third approach, we followed the same heuristic algorithm as before but restricted the pedigree exploration to find out which animals have a non-zero contribution. Their values were approximated by linear regression. The presentation of the different approaches is followed by a general discussion in which the approaches are compared. It was found that the best compromise between speed, memory and approximation accuracy was achieved by the last approach for the case of A22. Use of this last approach simplified computations and therefore made predictions more feasible. However, for the case of G, no sufficient approximations could be reach in a reasonable time. Perspectives of other uses of algorithms developed and of future researches were drawn, as well as practical perspectives for animal breeding. [less ▲]

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See detailThe search for a core functionality network in chondrocyte differentiation using heuristic and genetic algorithms
Kerkhofs, Johan ULg

Conference (2014, June 18)

Introduction: In the growth plate a continuing process where cartilage is replaced by bone provides the fuel for bone growth until its closure towards the end of puberty. At the cellular level the growth ... [more ▼]

Introduction: In the growth plate a continuing process where cartilage is replaced by bone provides the fuel for bone growth until its closure towards the end of puberty. At the cellular level the growth rate is maintained by proliferation and enlargement of maturing cells (hypertrophy). Mature cartilage cells (hypertrophic chondrocytes) secrete Ihh, a growth factor that induces expression of PTHrP, another growth factor, in immature proliferating chondrocytes. Since PTHrP in turn inhibits chondrocyte maturation, Ihh secretion limits the number of maturing chondrocytes through a negative feedback loop, striking a balance between proliferation and hypertrophy [Kronenberg, 2003]. Materials and methods: A gene network centering on the control of Ihh, PTHrP and transcription factors Sox9 and Runx2, which are the master regulators of early and late chondrocyte differentiation respectively, was manually constructed from literature. The dynamics of this network are simulated in a discrete framework that divides reactions into two speed classes. In this framework all interactions are considered additive, and each interaction is associated with a weight. Starting from the observation that the gene network must activate Runx2 in the presence of Ihh and Sox9 in the presence of Ihh and PTHrP, we investigate which edges are vital in achieving this. To this end, we employ both a heuristic and a genetic algorithm where the weights attached to the edges function as variables. In the heuristic algorithm weights are uniformly distributed in [0,1] and the means (based on 450 samples) of the weights that satisfy the above mentioned observations are contrasted with those that do not. If the difference of the means passes a certain threshold, the weight of the corresponding edge is fixed at 1. Results and discussion: Preliminary results from the heuristic algorithm show that fixing 14 weights (out of 147) is sufficient to match the biological observations in about 22% of cases, all other weights being selected randomly. The selected edges show that the BMP pathway is crucial in effecting a switch between hypertrophy in the absence of PTHrP and proliferation in its presence. This observation can be substantiated by earlier findings that BMP signalling plays a crucial role in prehypertrophic cells that are on the verge of hypertrophy [Yoon, 2006]. References: Kronenberg, 2003, Nature, 423:332-336; Yoon et al., 2006, Development, 133:4667-4678. [less ▲]

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See detailLes univers vidéoludiques : des fictions mobiles et jouables
Barnabé, Fanny ULg

Poster (2014, June 18)

La question de la fiction constitue, depuis le début des années 2000, une clef d’entrée privilégiée pour étudier le médium vidéoludique. La capacité du jeu vidéo à prendre en charge la représentation ... [more ▼]

La question de la fiction constitue, depuis le début des années 2000, une clef d’entrée privilégiée pour étudier le médium vidéoludique. La capacité du jeu vidéo à prendre en charge la représentation d’une histoire par ses propres moyens (et non en empruntant ceux de la littérature ou du cinéma) a été tantôt affirmée (Ryan, 2003 ; Murray, 1998), tantôt contestée (Frasca, 1999 ; Juul, 2001 ; Eskelinen, 2001). Dès lors – même si les oppositions à son sujet sont aujourd’hui plus nuancées – elle demeure un objet problématique dont le traitement entraîne souvent d’importants détours théoriques. Les concepts de la narratologie « traditionnelle » (tels que celui d’un récit clos et prédéfini ou d’une narration « unidirectionnelle ») semblent a priori peu compatibles avec les impératifs d’interaction et de jouabilité qui sont au cœur de l’expérience vidéoludique. Quels outils adopter, en conséquence, pour décrire ce qui advient de la fiction lorsqu’elle est prise en charge par le jeu ? C’est à cette question que nous tâcherons de répondre en définissant les contours d’une notion souvent évoquée par la recherche, mais peu théorisée : celle d’« univers fictionnel ». Pour ce faire, nous nous nourrirons tant des avancées des games studies et des « play studies » (Triclot, 2011) que des théories de la fiction (Schaeffer, 1999) et de ses modes actuels de consommation par les amateurs (Jenkins, 2006). La distinction opérée par Amato (2005) entre les notions de cosmos, de diégèse et de ludiégèse permettra également de préciser la définition de ce qu’est un univers lorsqu’il est régi par le jeu. En effet, la narrativité propre au jeu vidéo ne semble pas répondre à la logique linéaire du récit : une grande part de l’histoire n’est généralement présente que de manière « latente » (Letourneux, 2005) dans une série d’éléments hétérogènes (le texte, l’interface, les décors, les sons, les objets…), situés à différents niveaux de l’œuvre et dont le sens narratif peut ou non être activé par le joueur (Guardiola, 2005 parle, à ce titre, de la dimension « permissive » du jeu vidéo). Pour décrire cette pluri-dimensionnalité et cette dispersion de l’histoire au sein d’« éléments de narrativisation » (Genvo, 2002), la notion de récit apparaît comme réductrice. À l’inverse, celle d’univers (définie dès lors comme un agencement d’éléments non hiérarchisés et éventuellement porteurs d’une narrativité latente) présente une forte opérationnalité, due principalement à deux de ses caractéristiques : son ouverture et sa nature modulable. Son ouverture, tout d’abord, car elle permet non seulement de prendre en compte l’ensemble des composantes de la fiction qui sont internes à l’œuvre vidéoludique, mais aussi celles qui lui sont externes (qu’il s’agisse du paratexte, des livrets des jeux, des bandes annonces,… ou encore de véritables développements narratifs autonomes, réalisés sur différents médias). Sa malléabilité, ensuite, car le concept d’univers, contrairement à celui de narration, admet l’interactivité : c’est le joueur qui actualise le récit (il participe à son énonciation) et qui, par la continuité de sa présence, organise les « éléments de narrativisation » en une configuration cohérente. En outre, concevoir la fiction comme un agencement de diverses composantes permet d’envisager les constantes évolutions que lui font subir les communautés d’amateurs : ceux-ci, en confrontant leurs représentations, développent par exemple des modèles collectifs « non officiels » (les « fanons » ; voir Hellekson et Busse, 2006) qui ont un impact certain sur la vie des fictions. L’univers fictionnel constitue, en somme, un outil théorique porteur qui rend possible la description des points de passage entre jeu et fiction et l’évaluation des contraintes que l’un exerce sur l’autre. Toutefois, bien qu’il ait initialement été élaboré pour correspondre au domaine spécifique du jeu vidéo, le concept semble déborder de ces premiers questionnements et s’adapter, plus généralement, à l’étude des modes actuels de production et de consommation de la fiction. En effet, son ouverture invite, d’une part, à élargir la conception traditionnelle de la narration et à l’envisager comme un ensemble transmédiatique. D’autre part, sa nature d’agencement n’est pas sans rappeler les théories d’Azuma (2008) selon lesquelles les fictions postmodernes ne sont plus considérées comme des unités finies et fermées, mais comme des agencements qui puisent dans un fonds commun, une « base de données » perpétuellement renouvelée. Chaque élément investi par la fiction intègre ce fonds commun et devient alors susceptible de connaître des continuations, des réappropriations, des réagencements. Les histoires conçues sur ce mode ne sont pas lues, mais vécues et explorées : la lecture devient une expérience et une expérimentation. [less ▲]

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See detailLes approches sémiotiques du portrait photographique. De l’identité à l’“air”
Dondero, Maria Giulia ULg

in COnTEXTES : Revue de Sociologie de la Littérature (2014, June 18), 14

L’objectif de cet article est d’abord méthodologique : il entend déployer les instruments de l’analyse sémiotique, et notamment énonciative et temporelle, des images photographiques. Ensuite, il vise à ... [more ▼]

L’objectif de cet article est d’abord méthodologique : il entend déployer les instruments de l’analyse sémiotique, et notamment énonciative et temporelle, des images photographiques. Ensuite, il vise à esquisser la spécificité du genre du portrait et à interroger l’identification de caractéristiques singularisant le portrait d’écrivain. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessment of Solvent Degradation within a Global Process Model of Post-Combustion CO2 Capture
Léonard, Grégoire ULg; Heyen, Georges ULg; Toye, Dominique ULg

Conference (2014, June 17)

Solvent degradation may be a major drawback for the large-scale implementation of post-combustion CO2 capture due to amine consumption and emission of degradation products. However, its influence on the ... [more ▼]

Solvent degradation may be a major drawback for the large-scale implementation of post-combustion CO2 capture due to amine consumption and emission of degradation products. However, its influence on the process operations has rarely been studied. In the present work, a kinetics model describing solvent oxidative and thermal degradation has been developed based on own experimental results for the benchmark solvent, i.e. 30 wt% monoethanolamine (MEA) in water. This model has been included into a global Aspen Plus model of the CO2 capture process. The selected process modelling approaches are described in the present work. Using the resulting simulation model, optimal operating conditions can be identified to minimize both the energy requirement and the solvent degradation in the process. This kind of process model assessing solvent degradation may contribute to the design of large-scale CO2 capture plants to consider not only the process energy penalty, but also its environmental penalty. Indeed, both aspects are relevant for the large-scale deployment of the CO2 capture technology. [less ▲]

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