Portraits / Key personalities

Mireille Bossy, specialist in stochastic modelling in complex fluid mechanics

Changed on 14/04/2021
Mireille Bossy, head of the Calisto project team, studies turbulent flows and complex liquid or gas dynamics in order to develop models and numerical methods to improve prediction. Discover her portrait in three questions/answers.
Mireille Bossy
© Inria / Photo L. Jacq

How did you get into the world of research?

During my studies, I sometimes chose to cross the lab corridors on purpose to get to my classrooms. I am still fascinated by the atmosphere that emanates from these large rows of offices, seminar rooms and experimental installations. It took some time before the word "research" made sense to me as a profession. But two research training courses later, I wanted to walk through one of those lab doors (which are usually wide open, by the way), sit at a table and immerse myself in maths. This is still called doing a thesis. I liked maths, analysis above all, and coding computers. When it came time to start a thesis, I was lucky enough to be able to choose between two subjects and two labs. Curiously, the application theme was the same, and was about the analysis of computational algorithms in fluid mechanics. But the methods of construction of the algorithms were "deterministic" for one and "stochastic" for the other. I chose stochastic analysis and trained in these mathematics during my thesis.

What are the focal areas of your work at present?

Stochastic modelling and numerical probabilities are tools for predicting and describing certain phenomena. These fields have developed strongly since the time of my thesis, opening up to various fields of application (ecology, population dynamics, finance, neuroscience, and many others). I participated in this movement, but in recent years I have been returning to complex fluid mechanics. The scientific challenges to be taken up mobilise the combination of modelling in physics on different spatial and temporal scales and "good" mathematical algorithms to simulate these stochastic models, analyse them, validate them and then exploit them.

What are your long-term goals or ambitions?

Less than six months ago, with colleagues we started a new Inria team on the theme of stochastic modelling in complex fluid mechanics (Calisto). My ambition today is to do everything possible to carry out our research programme, and to see the scientific calculation resulting from this research contribute to major issues such as the management of fine particle pollutants in our environment.

Mireille Bossy obtained her PhD in 1995 in mathematics at the University of Provence (ex AMU). She began her research career at Inria the same year after a post-doc stay at Berkeley.  She is a specialist in stochastic particle algorithms, discretization of stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and joint analysis of partial differential equations and SDEs. She has coordinated half a dozen funded projects related to the issues of energy production and carbon emissions.  Today she is research director at the Inria Sophia Antipolis Méditerranée centre and is scientific manager of the Calisto joint project team.