Design, Optimization and prototyping of structures limiting coastal erosion

Modelling and mathematical analysis of PDE for coastal erosion

A postdoctoral research assistant is required to work on a ANR funded project.

Contact: P. Azerad or B. Mohammadi

Start date: Jan 1, 2007 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Duration: 12 months. This is a one-year term appointment with the possibility of renewal.

Salary: approx. 25 000 Euros gross per year.

Citizenship: European Community or candidate must already be authorized to work in France.

Skills: Ph. D. in pure or applied mathematics.

Language: English or french.


  1. To study existence and stability properties of already available PDE models of morphodynamical change. These are scalar non linear conservation laws and may include non local terms. They bear some similarity with Benjamin-Ono equations.
  2. To develop new models, either scalar or coupling shallow water equations with bottom evolution.
  3. To interact with our team (applied mathematicians and oceanographers).

See also project web site

Summary of the project as awarded by ANR: Coastal erosion control and limitation is of utmost importance for sustainable development. At this time, 70% of sandy coastlines are affected. Many international scientific programs already measured and analyzed this complex phenomenon. Our approach is radically different: instead of analyzing causes, we will compute and design optimized technological coastal structures to limit erosion and foster sand accretion. We address shoreline erosion control and sandy coastlines management with the help of optimal shape design theory. Optimal shape design refers to various numerical optimization techniques which modify the shape of a given domain (a shoreline, a set of groins/breakwaters, sandy bars,...) subject to physical processes ( currents, waves...) in order to minimize given criteria (wave energy, free surface amplitude, ...). Until now, up to our knowledge, optimal shape design theory has never been applied to coastal engineering, contrary to other engineering sciences where it was successfully applied (e.g. aeronautics). We think that a technology transfer from optimal shape design theory would greatly improve the design of coastal structures, in the same way as numerical optimization impacted aircaft design. The aim of our project is the mathematical design of coastal structures as groins, breakwaters or innovating computed shapes. Our team, composed of both applied mathematicians and oceanographers will focus on two main aspects : - development of optimal shape design algorithms for coastal structures and modelling of coastal hydrodynamical process generating erosion/accretion - development of computer aided design tools for coastal structures building. A preliminary research and feasibility study already proved that the coupling between a robust optimization algorithm and a simple hydrodynamical model (constant depth, wave scattered by reflection only) could work satisfactorily and yielded promising results. Therefore the team project proposes : - to design new theoretical shape optimization tools for coastal dynamics, - to couple the optimization algorithms with different hydrodynamical models, either existing or newly developed, - to include a realistic modelling of the wind/waves regime for the Golfe d'Aigues-Mortes site. To this aim, we will perform hydrodynamical and water depth measures. - to build an experimental platform to test the computed solutions. To validate our results, prototypes will be built in collaboration with an engineering firm (BRL Nimes in charge of Mont St Michel site; Physical experiments will be monitored by a fluid mechanics laboratory (INHA Barcelona; As a final goal, we are in contact with local administations (Observatoire du Littoral, Service Maritime de Navigation du Languedoc-Roussillon, Conseil Général de l'Hérault) to make sure of the knowledge and technology transfer.

Application deadline: applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applications received by November 20, 2006 are guaranteed full consideration. Early application is highly recommended.

Applications are closed . POSITION FILLED.

Application procedure : Applications or enquiries are welcome at all times, by email: Please send:

Pascal Azerad
Last modified: Thu Sep 21st 2006