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See detailAzione, testualizzazione, notazione
Dondero, Maria Giulia ULg

in Espressione e contenuto. Rivista on-line dell'AISS Associazione Italiana di Studi Semiotici (2014, October)

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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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See detailEccentric muscle contractions: risks and benefits
Hody, Stéphanie ULg; Croisier, Jean-Louis ULg; Lacrosse, Zoé ULg et al

in Proceedings of the Belgian Royal Academies of Medicine (2014)

La contraction musculaire excentrique se caractérise par le développement d'une tension musculaire associée à l'étirement concomitant du complexe musculo-tendineux. Ce mode de contraction présente un ... [more ▼]

La contraction musculaire excentrique se caractérise par le développement d'une tension musculaire associée à l'étirement concomitant du complexe musculo-tendineux. Ce mode de contraction présente un intérêt croissant dans de nombreux domaines tels que l’entraînement sportif, la médecine physique et la rééducation. De plus, certaines indications de l’entraînement en mode excentrique ont été posées chez des patients porteurs de maladies chroniques. Cependant, lorsqu’il est réalisé de manière intense et inhabituelle, l’exercice excentrique peut entraîner diverses altérations de l’ultrastructure musculaire qui se manifestent par une série de symptômes cliniques comme des douleurs musculaires d’apparition retardées (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, DOMS) et une altération de la fonction musculaire. Malgré la littérature abondante consacrée à la description du phénomène des DOMS, aucune théorie cohérente n’est actuellement disponible pour expliquer la survenue différée des sensations douloureuses et des signes associés. De même, toujours à l’analyse de la littérature, on ne peut que constater l’absence de solution thérapeutique susceptible d’atténuer significativement l’intensité des DOMS et de leurs conséquences fonctionnelles associées à l’exception, paradoxalement, de l’exercice excentrique lui-même qui, lorsqu’il est proposé en conditions sous-maximales d’intensité progressivement croissante, semble constituer la seule prévention réellement efficace de l’apparition des DOMS. De même, si l’efficacité d’un entraînement spécifique dans la prévention des DOMS a été confirmée par de nombreux travaux, la nature de cet effet protecteur reste sujette à conjectures. Nous sommes néanmoins convaincus qu’une meilleure compréhension des réponses aiguës et/ou adaptatives à l’exercice excentrique contribuerait d’une part, à la mise au point d’interventions thérapeutiques efficaces et d’autre part, à élucider les évènements moléculaires impliqués dans des conditions pathologiques telles que les myalgies et certaines maladies neuromusculaires. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of oxidative stress and mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction in an in vitro model of sepsis-induced kidney injury
Quoilin, Caroline ULg; Mouithys-Mickalad, Ange ULg; Lécart, Sandrine et al

in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Bioenergetics (2014), 1837(10), 1790-1800

To investigate the role of oxidative stress and/or mitochondrial impairment in the occurrence of acute kidney injury (AKI) during sepsis, we developed a sepsis-induced in vitro model using proximal ... [more ▼]

To investigate the role of oxidative stress and/or mitochondrial impairment in the occurrence of acute kidney injury (AKI) during sepsis, we developed a sepsis-induced in vitro model using proximal tubular epithelial cells exposed to a bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS). This investigation has provided key features on the relationship between oxidative stress and mitochondrial respiratory chain activity defects. LPS treatment resulted in an increase in the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX-4), suggesting the cytosolic overexpression of nitric oxide and superoxide anion, the primary reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). This oxidant state seemed to interrupt mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by reducing cytochrome c oxidase activity. As a consequence, disruptions in the electron transport and the proton pumping across the mitochondrial inner membrane occurred, leading to a decrease of the mitochondrial membrane potential, a release of apoptotic-inducing factors and a depletion of adenosine triphosphate. Interestingly, after being targeted by RNS and ROS, mitochondria became in turn producer of ROS, thus contributing to increase the mitochondrial dysfunction. The role of oxidants in mitochondrial dysfunction was further confirmed by the use of iNOS inhibitors or antioxidants that preserve cytochrome c oxidase activity and prevent mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation. These results suggest that sepsis-induced AKI should not only be regarded as failure of energy status but also as an integrated response, including transcriptional events, ROS signaling, mitochondrial activity and metabolic orientation such as apoptosis. [less ▲]

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See detailMesozoic marine crises and ichthyosaur history: a non-direct relationship
Fischer, Valentin ULg

Conference (2014, October)

Marine ecosystems underwent several profound crises throughout the Mesozoic; many of them are correlated with supra-regional to worldwide anoxic events. The impact of these crises is relatively well ... [more ▼]

Marine ecosystems underwent several profound crises throughout the Mesozoic; many of them are correlated with supra-regional to worldwide anoxic events. The impact of these crises is relatively well understood among animals occupying lower trophic levels but their influence on top predators of that time, fishes and marine reptiles, remains unclear. The fossil record of marine reptiles is of fluctuating quality but thoroughly revised taxonomic and phylogenetic frameworks now allow assessment of the influence of past climatic and oceanic changes on these top predators, by quantifying their cladogenesis and extinction rates across selected intervals. Here, I focus on ichthyosaurs, a successful clade of marine reptiles that colonized marine ecosystems during most of the Mesozoic. The ichthyosaur record indicates relatively few severe turnovers and a non direct relationship with environmental drivers, notably anoxic events. New fossils from France reveal the middle-late Norian extinctions did not eradicate the clade of whale-sized shastasaurid ichthyosaurs; similarly, the severe early Toarcian anoxic event, the end-Jurassic climate changes and several Cretaceous anoxic events did not impacted ichthyosaurs significantly, at least at the suprageneric level. On the other hand, severe turnovers or extinctions occurred during the latest Triassic and the Cenomanian and are coincident with a number of profound environmental and biotic changes. This indicates that unique drivers fail to explain the turnover patterns in ichthyosaur evolutionary history. Notably, oceanic anoxic events only impacted ichthyosaurs during the end-Cenomanian and did so during a period of intense climatic and biological upheavals. These major crises in ichthyosaur history are seemingly protracted over several million years and are probably best explained by a conjunction of causes. This is part of a wider project that will incorporate data from other contemporaneous groups to shed a new light on the general turnover patterns among marine top predators of the Mesozoic and the influence of ancient environmental changes in shaping their biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailRugose corals at the Tournaisian-Viséan transition in the Central Taurides (S Turkey) - Palaeobiogeography and Palaeoceanography of the Gondwana margin
Denayer, Julien ULg

in 4th International Palaeontological Congress, Mendoza, Abstracts volume (2014, October)

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See detailPour l'amour du grec : le voyage de Villoison en Grèce et au Levant (1784-1786)
Famerie, Etienne ULg

in Art&Fact (2014), 33

How the French scholar d'Ansse de Villoison describes, analyses and judges the state of Ottoman Greece in the end of the 18th century

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See detailPSI Mehler reaction is the main alternative photosynthetic electron pathway in Symbiodinium sp., symbiotic dinoflagellates of cnidarians
Roberty, Stéphane ULg; Bailleul, Benjamin ULg; Berne, Nicolas et al

in New Phytologist (2014), 204(1), 81-91

• Photosynthetic organisms have evolved various photoprotective and regulatory mechanisms to cope with changing and high light intensities. The nature and relative amplitude of these mechanisms is matter ... [more ▼]

• Photosynthetic organisms have evolved various photoprotective and regulatory mechanisms to cope with changing and high light intensities. The nature and relative amplitude of these mechanisms is matter of debate in dinoflagellates that live in symbiosis with cnidarians. In this work, the amplitude of photosynthetic alternative electron flows to oxygen (chlororespiration, Mehler reaction, mitochondrial respiration) and PSI cyclic electron flow were investigated in Symbiodinium clades A1, B1 and F1. • Cultured Symbiodinium strains were maintained semi-continuously under identical environmental conditions. Joint measurements of oxygen evolution, fluorescence emission, and absorption changes at specific wavelengths were used to evaluate PSI and PSII electron transfer rates (ETR). • A light-dependent and O2-dependent ETR was observed in all strains. This ETR involved PSII and PSI and was insensitive to addition of mitochondrial and carbon fixation inhibitors. • These results demonstrate that photoreduction of oxygen downstream of PSI by the so-called Mehler reaction is the main alternative electron sink at the onset and steady state of photosynthesis in all strains. This mechanism in Symbiodinium sustains significant levels of photosynthetic electron flux under high light, thus acting as a photoprotective mechanism and increasing the ATP/NADPH ratio by the electron transfer chain. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimal Assignment of Off-Peak Hours to Lower Curtailments in the Distribution Network
Merciadri, Luca ULg; Mathieu, Sébastien ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg et al

in Proceedings of the 5th European Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) (2014, October)

We consider a price signal with two settings: off-peak tariff and on-peak tariff. Some loads are connected to specific electricity meters which allow the consumption of power only in off-peak periods ... [more ▼]

We consider a price signal with two settings: off-peak tariff and on-peak tariff. Some loads are connected to specific electricity meters which allow the consumption of power only in off-peak periods. Historically, off-peak periods were located during the night and on-peak periods during the day. Changing the assignment of off-peak periods is an easy method for distribution system operators to access to the flexibility of small consumers. This solution can be implemented quickly as the infrastructure needed already exists in some countries. We propose a mixed-integer linear model to assign optimally the off-peak hours so as to minimize a societal cost. This cost gathers together the cost of electricity, the financial losses due to energy curtailments of photovoltaic installations and the loads' wellbeing. Our model considers automatic tripping of inverters and constraints of the electrical distribution networks. Simulation results show that the new disposition of off-peak hours could reduce significantly the photovoltaic energy curtailed in the summer. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamic Simulation of Large-scale Power Systems Using a Parallel Schur-complement-based Decomposition Method
Aristidou, Petros ULg; Fabozzi, Davide; Van Cutsem, Thierry ULg

in IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (2014), 25(10), 2561-2570

Power system dynamic simulations are crucial for the operation of electric power systems as they provide important information on the dynamic evolution of the system after an occurring disturbance. This ... [more ▼]

Power system dynamic simulations are crucial for the operation of electric power systems as they provide important information on the dynamic evolution of the system after an occurring disturbance. This paper proposes a robust, accurate and efficient parallel algorithm based on the Schur complement domain decomposition method. The algorithm provides numerical and computational acceleration of the procedure. Based on the shared-memory parallel programming model, a parallel implementation of the proposed algorithm is presented. The implementation is general, portable and scalable on inexpensive, shared-memory, multi-core machines. Two realistic test systems, a medium-scale and a large-scale, are used for performance evaluation of the proposed method. [less ▲]

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See detailPalynological record of the Silurian/Devonian boundary in the Argentinian Precordillera, western Gondwana
Garcia Muro, V.J.; Rubinstein, C.V.; Steemans, Philippe ULg

in Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Palaontologie. Abhandlungen (2014), 274(1), 25-42

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See detailGenetics of beef and milk fatty acid composition
Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Beitz, Donald

in Garrick, D; Ruvinsky, A (Eds.) The genetics of cattle (2014)

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See detailIsolation and cultivation of xylanolytic and cellulolytic Sarocladium kiliense and Trichoderma virens from the gut of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis
Tarayre, Cédric ULg; Bauwens, Julien ULg; Brasseur, Catherine ULg et al

in Environmental Science & Pollution Research (2014)

The purpose of this work was the isolation and cultivation of cellulolytic and xylanolytic microorganisms extracted from the gut of the lower termite Reticulitermes santonensis. Microcrystalline cellulose ... [more ▼]

The purpose of this work was the isolation and cultivation of cellulolytic and xylanolytic microorganisms extracted from the gut of the lower termite Reticulitermes santonensis. Microcrystalline cellulose (with and without lignin) and beech wood xylan were used as diets instead of poplar wood in order to select cellulose and hemicellulose-degrading fungi. The strain Sarocladium kiliense (Acremonium kiliense) CTGxxyl was isolated from the termites fed on xylan, while the strain Trichoderma virens CTGxAviL was isolated from the termites fed on cellulose (with and without lignin). Both molds were cultivated in liquid media containing different substrates: agro-residues or purified polymers. S. kiliense produced maximal β-glucosidase, endo-1,4-β-D-glucanase, exo-1,4-β-D-glucanase and endo-1,4-β-D-xylanase activities of 0.103, 3.99, 0.53, and 40.8 IU/ml, respectively. T. virens produced maximal β-xylosidase, endo-1,4-β-D-glucanase, exo-1,4-β-D-glucanase, and endo-1,4-β-D-xylanase activities of 0.38, 1.48, 0.69, and 426 IU/ml. The cellulase and the xylanase of S. kiliense, less common than T. virens, were further investigated. The optimal activity of the xylanase was observed at pH 9–10 at 60 °C. The cellulase showed its maximal activity at pH 10, 70 °C. Zymography identified different xylanases produced by both molds, and some fragment sizes were highlighted: 35, 100, and 170 kDa for S. kiliense and 20, 40, 80, and 170 kDa for T. virens. In both cases, endo-1,4-β-D-xylanase activitieswere confirmed through mass spectrometry. [less ▲]

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See detailLaboratory of Human Motion Analysis - working with high level athletes
Schwartz, Cédric ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

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See detailModelling the hygrothermal behaviour of crop-based construction materials
Dubois, Samuel ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

In the context of developing sustainable buildings, crop-based construction materials appear as valuable products given their intrinsic environmental and technical qualities. Their ability to exchange ... [more ▼]

In the context of developing sustainable buildings, crop-based construction materials appear as valuable products given their intrinsic environmental and technical qualities. Their ability to exchange moisture with the surrounding environment and damping humidity peaks in rooms, referred to as moisture buffering, is often presented as a way to improve occupants comfort and otentially reduce the operational energy of the building. It is understandable why modelling their hygrothermal behaviour and evaluating the impact on indoor air volumes is essential during the design phases. This thesis explores themodelling of the hygrothermal behaviour of crop-basedmaterials with a numerical tool. The latter is developed in a widespread general computational environment that brings both modularity and interoperability. Three challenges are addressed: the improvement of mathematical description of crop-based materials in non-standard operating conditions, the improvement of materials properties determination, and the assessment of their impact at room-scale. Several experimental facilities are developed in parallel to validate the proposed approaches, focusing on two materials expected to improve indoor conditions: straw bales and lime-hemp concrete. Results show that the developedmodel allows improving the understanding and the characterization of these green materials at various scales of study. [less ▲]

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See detailPre-war Military Planning (Belgium)
Bechet, Christophe ULg

in Daniel, Ute; Gatrell, Peter; Janz, Oliver (Eds.) et al 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War (2014)

Abstract: Since the Treaty of London in 1839, pre-war planning theories in Belgium oscillated between two positions: on one hand secure and defend which border would be endangered, on the other hand ... [more ▼]

Abstract: Since the Treaty of London in 1839, pre-war planning theories in Belgium oscillated between two positions: on one hand secure and defend which border would be endangered, on the other hand constitute in Antwerp a powerful national sanctuary. This concentration of most of the available military means in Antwerp was far more appropriate in the event of a French invasion. But this perspective decreased after the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, while the possibility of a trespassing by the two belligerents became greater and greater. The fortifications of Namur and Liège were voted by the Chambers in 1887 as a deterrent to both France and Germany. Nevertheless, without totally putting aside the defence of the Belgian southwestern border, high-ranking officers seemed to fear more and more a violation of the eastern border. Due to the completion of fortifications on the Meuse in 1892, German columns were supposed to move forward south of the river, through the Belgian Ardennes. On the eve of the Great War, King Albert I would have preferred to concentrate the army on the Meuse but his Chief of Staff selected a central position in order to maintain and secure his line of communication with Antwerp. The lack of a determined and “standardized” doctrine at the highest level of the army led to a “mixed” or compromise plan adopted in a hurry during the first days of mobilization in August 1914. [less ▲]

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See detailPreparations for the use of Raman spectrometers on Mars
Malherbe, Cédric ULg; Ingley, Richard; Hutchinson, Ian B. et al

Conference (2014, October)

Raman spectroscopy has been selected as a non-destructive powerful analytical method for forthcoming planetary exploration. In the context of the upcoming ExoMars and NASA 2020 missions (developed by the ... [more ▼]

Raman spectroscopy has been selected as a non-destructive powerful analytical method for forthcoming planetary exploration. In the context of the upcoming ExoMars and NASA 2020 missions (developed by the European Space Agency, IKI Roscomos and NASA) analysis of the biological and geological terrestrial analogues using laboratory instrumentation is of great importance; especially testing the performance of flight-like operating modes and conditions on the feasibility of flight instruments meeting their science goals. Here we present a set of measurements of terrestrial analogues (among them desert varnishes) selected in preparation for in-situ Raman analysis on Mars. Laboratory instrumentation has been used to fully characterise the samples in addition to being operated in modes consistent with ExoMars RLS instrument flight designs, sample preparation and delivery. We discuss the performance of the spectrometers regarding the detection of the target signatures and their geological context. The impact of instrument operating modes and application of flight instrument sampling philosophy (i.e. spot size, grain size, number of target locations, sample preparation and delivery) on the signal intensity and the limits of detection are also discussed. [less ▲]

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