MONTUS : Master On New Technologies Using Services

598264-EPP-1-2018-1-FR-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP (2018-2021)

Initiated by Professor Dominique Laffly, Geographer, and led since 2021  by Professor Nathalie Hernandez, Computer Scientist,  MONTUS is one of six French projects selected among the 147 selected among the 874 candidatures for 2018. One million euros are financed by the European Union in the framework of Erasmus + Capacity Building. Funded for 4 years (initially 3 and extended for 1 year), MONTUS gathered around the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès (UT2J, France), the Toulouse National School of Architecture (ENSA Toulouse, France), the International School of Information Processing Sciences (CYU, Pau campus, France), the University of Ferrara in Italy, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium)  the Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Vietnam National University (VNU, Vietnam), the Hanoi Architectural University (HAU, Vietnam), Nong Lam University – Ho Chi Minh City (NLU, Vietnam), the University of Danang (UD, Vietnam) the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT – Pathumthani, Thailand), the Walailak University (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand), the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA, Cambodia) and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC, Cambodia) and HUPI, a cloud computing compagny (France). In total its 60 permanent members have worked for MONTUS for four years with eight workshops alternatively in Europe and in Asia.

The ambition of MONTUS? To develop and implement training courses and pedagogical materials at the interface of cloud computing/big data/artificial Intelligence and environmental sciences and to promote education in this field in a new specific master degree at the University of Engineering and Technologies in Hanoi, Vietnam

MONTUS came directly after TORUS Erasmus+ capacity building program with the ambition of developing research on cloud computing in the environmental sciences and promote its education  in the countries of South East Asian partners (in particular by the creation of a dedicated master in Hanoi).

Schematically, cloud computing consists of pooling hardware and software resources via the Internet. It reduces the costs of processing and storage of information – but it’s not for free – in a simplified environment accessible to all. It is also an operational response to the generalized problems of Big Data – also a major issue of Computer Science today. This simplification and cost reduction offer methodological possibilities not previously explored (e.g. Artificial Intelligence). The strategy of the project that aims to organize both thematic workshops and practical workshops applied to the environment is a real innovation that responds to demand now clearly identified with our partners. Still rarely taught, cloud computing, “recent” paradigm of computer science, requires a major theoretical investment before being mobilized on concrete projects. Projects that will have at heart to strengthen the links between education, research and environmental engineering. MONTUS is responding to regional priorities set in the framework of ERASMUS + projects. Besides the theoretical and requiered practical skills, MONTUS develops the specifications for a Master level training with our partners – unique in South-East Asia – and publishes ressources. MONTUS also delivers practical solutions deployed at three basic levels of cloud computing (infrastructure, platform and software) in the partner countries with computer hardware funded by the project (installed in Hanoi, Pathum Thani and Phnom Penh).

Beyond capacity building in the field of research, our project has the merit positioning our disciplines into a major issue of contemporary science, namely how to be able to respond to this new computing paradigm – already more than 20 years old– without necessarily being prepared, and move from a « traditional computing model-based world to mathematical research to find a pattern in the data » (Wikipedia). We support the idea that it is through a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach that we will be able to take advantage of these technical solutions to address scientific and societal issues. Geography, geosciences and environmental sciences in general cannot ignore it. There is urgency in the context of threats against our climate and sustainable development of the planet, in the context of the need to reduce just as much to bridge the technology gap between north and south, in the context of universal free access to data (open data) – when these are funded by public funds – and free software (open source). MONTUS addresses the following environmental themes to develop on cloud computing: erosion, urban air pollution and Southeast Asia atmospheric pollution, melting permafrost that causes the accelerated release of soil organic carbon in the atmosphere, alert systems of environmental hazards such as forest fires, prospective modeling of socio-spatial practices and land use, web fountains as geoportals of geographical data.