Claire Chainais “Simulating the evolution of erosion and sedimentation over millions of years.”

Changed on 04/08/2022
For Rapsodi, the long process of creating a project team will be completed in a few weeks. Once the scientific objectives receive final approval, the team will take an important step forward and will be able to continue its research within a very specific framework defined by Inria. But Claire Chainais, head of Rapsodi, and the six researchers and four PhD researchers who support her, have already been working on their research topics for the past several years.
Portrait de Claire Chainais
© Inria / Photo C. Morel


The team’s subject? Working on numerical methods for simulation of physics-based phenomena such as flow in porous media, electromagnetic phenomena and the corrosion of radioactive waste storage containers. To conduct its research, Rapsodi has to develop suitable methods for simulation. “These models dissipate energy. We’re developing digital methods that preserve physical properties – that’s one of our challenges. For stratigraphic models for example, we have to be able to simulate the evolution of erosion and sedimentation over millions of years ”, explains Claire Chainais.

Topics related to numerical analysis

A number of industry players, such as IFP Energies Nouvelles (formerly Institut Français du Pétrole) and EDF , have already shown interest in this research for certain applications. “One of our researchers has worked on simulations of oil extraction using steam injection. For EDF, the problem involves low-frequency electromagnetic phenomena ”. Although they each have very specific fields of research, the mathematicians who are part of the Rapsodi team all work on topics related to numerical analysis. Another thing the researchers on the team have in common is that they are largely from academic backgrounds. They share their time between the university and the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Centre where they also supervise PhD researchers. “We often discuss the training aspect with other researchers. PhD researchers make an important contribution to the group and give us the opportunity to exchange ideas about our research topics ”.

An international conference on the finite-volume numerical method

Researchers’ work environment is not limited to the institute and university laboratories. Teams are often asked to organize highly specialized international conferences in their fields of research. As such, Rapsodi was tasked with organizing the international FVCA conference, dedicated to the finite volume numerical method, one of the team’s research areas. It will take place in the new learning centre at University of Lille - Sciences et Technologies. “For us, it’s an important vote of confidence. It will be the eighth edition of a series of conferences and should attract 150 participants. After Berlin and Prague, Lille was chosen for the venue of the conference ”. Beyond its scientific research, Rapsodi is a good example of gender parity in the research world, an important value that the team shares with Inria. With women representing three out of the seven team members, Rapsodi is one of few teams with such a balance. A fact that can be explained by the low rate of women in scientific fields, starting in high school. “We’re still a long way from achieving gender parity among researchers, but a number of policy decisions made in recent years advocating for women in different bodies and commissions is slowly starting to turn the tide ”.

  • Project-team Rapsodi - Reliable numerical approximations of dissipative systems.