Scientific research at school
Complex ecosystems are the main focus of research at the Ecole Centrale of Casablanca.
The notion of ecosystem comes from biology, but has recently been extended to any network or system of interconnected and dynamically interacting elements, and is thus used in sociology, economics and business science, etc.
Due to the interactions between their constituents, these ecosystems are most of the time seen as complex, in the sense of complexity theory: that is, even if one perfectly knows their elementary components and even their interactions, it is not possible, even in theory, to predict their behavior before experimentation or simulation.
Question of Complex Ecosystems Modeling
Developing a systemic approach
This is an ad hoc approach to complex systems, which provides for focusing more on exchanges between the parts of the system than analyzing each of them at a time, and reasoning in terms of the system’s objective. This approach, which is interdisciplinary by nature, is widely used in sociology, work organization, town planning, etc.
Five Ecosystems Studied in Centrale Casablanca
Ecole Centrale Casablanca has chosen five types of ecosystems, based on their scientific importance and the challenges they represent in the Moroccan and African contexts.
The city can be considered an exoskeleton of a population that lives, produces, consumes, constructs, changes and exchanges material and immaterial goods. It should thus be considered a living and dynamic system with of all kinds unceasing flows that nourish its development or constitute its derivative products. The modeling of these flows is of paramount importance for planning, designing and managing the city, and having adequate control over its development. This research perspective is especially significant in the Moroccan context, where a very ambitious plan for the construction of new towns is underway.
The development of renewable energies (solar energy and wind energy) is very important for Morocco. These energies are marked by their intermittence, which makes their connection to the electricity network and the management of this network more complex, in addition to the technological possibility of storing electricity and the widespread development of “smarts grids”. Therefore, modeling becomes a key tool to ensure the smooth functioning of the network, the sustainability of the system and the identification of the most promising solutions.
The transformation of enterprises affects the development of the economy in emerging countries. A systemic vision has thus asserted itself bringing about a new way of seeing the systems of production, supply and distribution of goods or services. Many company departments can be considered as ecosystems: this is the case for the logistics chain, but also for most industrial processes, because of the interactions between the different operation phases. Even the management of companies can fall under this approach.
Transactional ecosystems, especially banking
Banks and their related activities are developing very rapidly in Africa. Many ecosystems can be identified in this sector. Electronic payment (e-payment) is very dynamic in Morocco, as there are two internationally active operators. The modeling of the payment chain, an ecosystem involving different stakeholder (customers, traders, banks, operators), combined with statistical processing of operations, would make this latter flow better and make it easier to cope with fraud, which is the main problem.
Research at the Central School of Casablanca is particularly focused on Moroccan industrial or service companies. The School is mainly seeking to create chairs in association with companies on subjects that lend themselves to long-term collaborative programs, such as modeling eco-cities or energy networks.