On the Nonlinear Dynamics of Collective Decision-Making in Nature and Design

Naomi Ehrich Leonard
Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
3:30 PM – Electrical Engineering Building (EEB 132) Lecture
4:30 PM – Electrical Engineering Building Courtyard Reception
Hosted by Sandeep Gupta, Justin Haldar, Urbashi Mitra

Webcast: https://bluejeans.com/694216021

The successful deployment of complex multi-agent systems requires well-designed, agent-level control strategies that guarantee system-level dynamics to be robust to disturbance and adaptive in the face of changes in the environment. In applications, such as mobile sensor networks, limitations on individual agents in sensing, communication, and computation create a further challenge. However, system-level dynamics that are both robust and adaptive are observed in animal groups, from bird flocks to fish schools, despite limitations on individual animals in sensing, communication, and computation. To better understand and leverage the parallels between networks in nature and design, a principled examination of collective dynamics is warranted. I will describe an analytical framework based on nonlinear dynamical systems theory for the realization of collective decision-making that allows for the rigorous study of the mechanisms of observed collective animal behavior together with the design of distributed strategies for collective dynamics with provable performance.

Naomi Ehrich Leonard is the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and an associated faculty member of the Program in Applied and She received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004, the UCSB Mohammed Dahleh Award in 2005, the Glenn L. Martin Medal from the University of Maryland in 2014, and the Nyquist Lecture Award from the ASME in 2014. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, ASME, SIAM, and IFAC. She received the B.S.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 1985 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1991 and 1994. From 1985 to 1989, she worked as an engineer in the electric power industry.