Ph. D. Project
Communicating materials and BIM: Study of the Distributed Data Management problems
2018/02/15 - 2021/01/31
I. Context of the thesis

the ANR project McBIM (standing for Materials communicating with BIM)has 2 main objectives: 1) to design a "communicating prefabricated component", made of concrete equipped with embedded low-energy wireless micro-sensor network, able to manage and exchange data with BIM platforms, and 2) to demonstrate the usefulness of this concept across two building lifecycle phases, namely the construction (for project monitoring) and exploitation phases (for structural health monitoring).
The CRAN laboratory studies since 2009 the concept of "communicating materials" where materials are able to communicate with their environment, process, exchange information, and store data in their own structure. For the first applications, they have been equipped with technologies allowing them to sense their environment and measure their own internal physical states. This concept has been applied in the textile, wood and concrete industry by means of RFID tags and chemical tracers. More recently, the CRAN investigates the possibility to use micro-WSNs.
BIM (Building Information Modelling) platforms allow defining and managing building models (documents, 3D/4D/xD models). Currently BIM is mainly applied in design and engineering phases; there have been very few efforts to consider combining sensor networks and BIM for delivering a data repository of the building.

II. Thesis objectives and addressed scientific problems

The aim of the current PhD Thesis is to apply the concept of "communicating materials" in the framework of the McBIM Project, and to propose methods and tools to disseminate/retrieve BIM data in a set integrating the network of communicating materials (in this context, communicating precast concrete structures) and the building digital mock-up.
Two PhDs from the CRAN (S. Kubler in 2012[1], K. Mekki in 2016 [2]) already addressed some aspects of data management dedicated to communicating materials: the first one designed an automatic selection process running on an external database, to select, based on a set of criteria representing the context, the most important data items. These data items are then written on the material via specific data dissemination technique. A retrieval algorithm has also been developed, to retrieve information in an eco-efficient way.

The proposed PhD thesis will try to tackle the problems stated below:

- Data dissemination/retrieval: The dissemination/retrieval strategies on WSN designed in the CRAN laboratory have been validated by using simulation, but, by lack of time, not during a real prototype. One aim of the PhD will first be to test these strategies on real prototypes. Moreover, in our previous works, these techniques have been mainly related to dissemination of a data packet, with no related semantics. In the framework of the McBIM Project, the communicating concrete will have to manage complex data, related to traceability & logistics (material composition, originating factory, etc) or to structural monitoring (temperature, humidity, cracks, etc) and may answer complex data requests. As a result, data dissemination and retrieval algorithms should also take into account meta-data.

- Distributed Data Management: In this part of the PhD, one important purpose is to increase the services delivered to building stakeholders during the production, construction and usage phases, by providing a data management system, integrating the network of communicating materials and the digital mock-up. This data management system relies on a hybrid architecture, including a centralized part around the digital mock-up, and parts disseminated on the communicating materials. The management of product data disseminated over a network is an area of interest for industrial engineering, wireless sensors and multi-agent systems. [3], [4] underline the necessity to develop distributed data management architectures because they could reduce the phenomenon of data overload as well as the needed energy to process/transport data. The structuration of this architecture is still an open scientific issue. As a result, this PhD will conduct a careful study on the existing literature in these different fields, in order to define the architectures adapted to the context of the McBIM project.

- Interoperability with the BIM platform: The data model hosted by the communicating material should ensure a good data exchange and integration within selected BIM platforms. In the context of this PhD, the interoperability should be ensured by using BIM standards as for example IFC OWL [5]. This choice will be made in coherence with other partners of the McBIM project.

III. PhD Thesis Agenda
- M1-M6 : state of the art on data dissemination/retrieval & Distributed Data Management System
- M6-M18 : design and experimentation of dissemination/retrieval strategies
- M18-M30 : design and experimentation of architectures of distributed data management system
- M30-M36 : PhD thesis and oral presentation

IV. Bibliography
[1] S. Kubler, "Premiers travaux relatifs au concept de matière communicante : Processus de dissémination des informations relatives au produit," Université de Lorraine, 2012.
[2] K. Mekki, "Gestion de l'information embarquée dans des matériaux communicants à l'aide de protocoles de réseaux de capteurs sans fil," Université de Lorraine, 2016.
[3] O. Diallo, J. J. P. C. Rodrigues, M. Sene, and J. Lloret, "Distributed database management techniques for wireless sensor networks," IEEE Trans. Parallel Distrib. Syst., vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 604-620, 2015.
[4] J. C. Da Silva, C. Giannella, R. Bhargava, H. Kargupta, and M. Klusch, "Distributed data mining and agents," Eng. Appl. Artif. Intell., vol. 18, no. 7, pp. 791-807, 2005.
[5] W3C Linked Building Data Community Group, "IfcOWL ontology file added for IFC4_ADD1," 2014.
communicating materials; distributed data management; wireless sensor networks
Eco-Technic systems engineering