DS0705 - Fondements du numérique

Time and Events in Computer Science, Control Theory, Signal Processing, Computer Music, and Computational Neurosciences and Biology – Chronos

Submission summary

The Chronos interdisciplinary network aims at placing in close contact and cooperation researchers of a variety of scientific fields: computer science, control theory, signal processing, computer music, neurosciences, and computational biology. The scientific object of study will be the understanding, modeling, and handling of time- and event-based computation across the fields.
There are clear technical dependencies and interactions between these fields. Computer science is a key for the implementation of control theory and signal processing algorithms and for any kind of computer-based simulation related to neurosciences and computational biology. Control theory is fundamental to drive any kind of cyber-physical systems, and also to understand the dynamic and control of phenomena in computational neurosciences and biology. Signal processing is indispensable for computer music and for the analysis of complex measurements in neurosciences and biology. Reciprocally, the new capacities given to music composers by the possibility of generating arbitrary sound flows and making them interact dynamically raise fascinating challenges for computer science and control theory: how to specify and program the algorithmic music to be played, how to ensure the proper timing and synchronization of music flows, etc. It also raises neurosciences questions such as understanding the relation between musical rhythms and the rhythms of the brain. In neurosciences, time plays a key role w.r.t. information gathering, processing, and transmission, from the low-level neural encoding up to high-level perception and cognitive functions. The associated research would definitely benefit from interaction with researchers in the above-cited fields. Modeling neuronal, perception, and cognitive phenomena at a variety of abstraction levels is an interdisciplinary challenge that will require new ideas and results from computer science, control theory, and signal processing. Similarly, in computational biology, time-aware qualitative and quantitative modeling of cell activities is fundamental.

French research has made an important impact in the area of real-time and event-based computing since the 1980’s, as a consequence of similar collaborative networks gathering researchers in computer science and control theory. They defined, studied, and implemented synchronous programming languages dedicated to embedded systems, with applications ranging from safety-critical software in avionics, railways, or heavy industry to telecommunications and digital circuits design and synthesis. Their results have led to the creation of the successful Esterel Technologies company (participant in this Chronos proposal). The industrial success was due to radically new fundamental advances, not to incremental progress from existing ideas. Since 2 years is a short duration, one cannot expect such an immediate application impact for the new subjects in Chronos. But we think that the work done and the experience gained during the last 30 years will also prove useful to the different domains of music and life sciences.

The broad subject of time and events has been the focus of the last 2 years of Collège de France courses of the Chronos coordinator, who also organized a dedicated informal seminar that was instrumental in building the Chronos network community and proposal. We benefited from visits of foreign researchers working in the same area, whose list is given in the full proposal and with whom we want to continue collaborating.
Chronos will work by organizing a regular global seminar on subjects ranging from open questions to concrete solutions in the research fields, workshops gathering subsets of the Chronos researchers to address specific issues more deeply, a final public symposium presenting the main contributions and results, and an associated compendium.

Project coordination

GERARD BERRY (Collège de France, Chaire Informatique et sciences numériques)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Collège de France Collège de France, Chaire Informatique et sciences numériques

Help of the ANR 50,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2014 - 24 Months

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