Collective Behaviour - Winter Seminar Series

Resilience and the Dynamics of Spreading Processes

Naomi Leonard, Princeton University

Spreading processes impact biological, social, and technological systems. To systematically derive testable predictions and the means to manage spreading, models are needed that predict spreading dynamics in terms of a few parameters. We study a spreading model in which interacting agents can adjust their susceptibility to the spreading process after first exposure. The model is motivated by an investigation of regulation of foraging by desert harvester ants. Using an analytically tractable model that predicts behaviors exhibited in field data, we show how resilience of colony foraging rates to changing temperature and humidity can be explained by ants modifying their susceptibility to the spread of foraging, once exposed to outside conditions. To generalize these results, we propose and analyze a network contagion model with adjustable susceptibility and agent heterogeneity. We show how four dynamic regimes are distinguished by four numbers that depend on network structure and heterogeneity. In the bi-stable regime, not captured in traditional models, there can be a rapid cascade after a long period of quiescence. We show further how our results allow for systematic design of control strategies to suppress or promote spreading. This is joint work with Renato Pagliara (for the ant foraging study) and Deborah Gordon.

Naomi Leonard is an Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and associated faculty member of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. Her main area of research and teaching is in the field of control and dynamical systems, where she has made contributions both to theory and to application. She focuses on designing and analyzing feedback and the behavior of complex, dynamical systems. In recent years she has focused on multi-agent systems in engineering and in nature, and developing mathematical approaches for leveraging insights across contexts. Her work examines the role of distributed feedback and interconnection in collective motion and collective decision-making.


Bio-Inspired Autonomy for Mobile Sensor Networks

Fumin Zhang

Fumin Zhang is Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received a PhD degree in 2004 from the University of Maryland (College Park) in Electrical Engineering, and held a postdoctoral position in Princeton University from 2004 to 2007. His research interests include mobile sensor networks, maritime robotics, control systems, and theoretical foundations for cyber-physical systems.

Datum: 2019-12-09


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