Currently, greenhouse environmental computers are programmed to monitor and control the macroclimate instead of directly controlling plant growth and development, which are features of more interest to growers. Our objective was to develop a generic system to represent and control the dynamic plant processes that regulate plant growth in the greenhouse. Before plant growth can be directly controlled, the dynamic interactions between the microclimate around plants and plant physiological processes must be further understood. Future computerized control systems must be able to display an intuitive, interactive software program that helps the user understand and make use of the dynamic relationships between climate controls, climate processes, and plant processes. A conceptual framework was designed for a user interface with a biological orientation. This software consists of five different elements: the information provider, the information monitor, the information browser, the growth system controller, and the system visualizer. A demonstrator application illustrating this concept was developed and connected in real time to a standard greenhouse environmental computer. Crop tissue temperature is calculated and used instead of conventional irradiance limits to control shading screens to optimize the amount of radiation absorbed by the crop. The application is based on a set of generic automatically created paradox databases. A graphical user interface on the screen displays virtual plants that are used for visualizing, understanding, and controlling the different processes governing the crop tissue temperature.
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