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Design of a domain specific language for modelling processes in landscapes

Degenne P., Lo Seen D., Parigot D., Forax R., Tran A., Ait Lahcen A., Curé O., Jeansoulin R.. 2009. Ecological Modelling, 220 (24) : p. 3527-3535.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.06.018

The modelling of processes that occur in landscapes is often confronted to issues related to the representation of space and the difficulty of properly handling time and multiple scales. In order to investigate these issues, a flexible modelling environment is required. We propose to develop such a tool based on a Domain Specific Language (DSL) that capitalises on the service-oriented architecture (SOA) paradigm. The modelling framework around the DSL is composed of a model building environment, a code generator and compiler, and a program execution platform. The DSL introduces five language elements (entity, service, relation, scenario and datafacer) that can be combined to offer a wide range of possibilities for modelling in space and time at different scales. When developing a model, model parts are either built using the DSL or taken from libraries of previously built ones, and adapted to the specific model. The practical usage of the DSL is illustrated first with the Lotka-Volterra model, and then with a landscape modelling experiment on the spread of a mosquito-borne disease in the Sahelian region of West Africa. An interesting characteristic of this approach is the possibility of adding new elements into an existing model, and replacing others with more appropriate ones, thus allowing potentially complex models to be built from simpler parts.

Mots-clés : conception; modèle de simulation; application des ordinateurs; paysage; Étude de cas; Épidémiologie; vecteur de maladie; culicidae; distribution spatiale; afrique occidentale; sahel

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