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  • Thursday, February 4, 2016
  • 3:40 PM–4:30 PM
  • North Hall 276

Mark Panaggio (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology)

Many natural and engineered systems consist of large numbers of components that exhibit oscillatory behaviors such as the flashing lights of fireflies and the rhythmic contractions of muscle cells in the heart. Interactions between these components often cause them to synchronize and oscillate in unison. This coordination, which emerges spontaneously out of disordered initial states, has an important role in transporting blood throughout the human body, electricity on the power grid, and information between telecommunication devices.  Breakdowns of synchrony can be detrimental to the efficient operation of these systems. As a result, it is essential to be able to predict when synchronization is likely to occur and under what conditions it can be disrupted.  In this talk, I will explore the Kuramoto model, a minimal mathematical model that describes the dynamics of a network of coupled phase-oscillators. Analysis of this model will reveal that the interactions between these idealized oscillators can give rise to a variety of unexpected behaviors that have been observed in experiments including phase transitions from asynchrony to synchrony and pattern formation with coexisting domains of coherent and incoherent oscillation. The bistability of these partially synchronized steady state patterns (known as chimera states) with a fully synchronized state may shed light on the origin of transitions between synchronized and desynchronized behavior in nature.

Refreshments precede the talk at 3:30pm in North Hall 282. 

February 2016
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