Thursday, October 17, 2013, 3pm
Location: Room 1110 of the Nguyen Engineering Building

Louis Pecora
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington, DC

Symmetries, Cluster Synchronization, and Isolated Desynchronization in Complex Networks


Synchronization is of central importance in power distribution, telecommunication, neuronal, and biological networks. Many networks are observed to produce patterns of synchronized clusters, but it has been difficult to predict these clusters or understand the conditions under which they form, except for in the simplest of networks. In this article, we shed light on the intimate connection between network symmetry and cluster synchronization. We introduce general group theory techniques that use network symmetries to reveal the patterns of synchronized clusters and determine the conditions under which they persist. The connection between symmetry and cluster synchronization is experimentally explored using an electro-optic network. We experimentally observe and theoretically predict a surprising phenomenon in which some clusters lose synchrony while leaving others synchronized. The results could guide the design of new power grid systems or lead to new understanding of the dynamical behavior of networks ranging from neural to social.