"Coordinated Oscillations in Biological Systems"

Ted Iwasaki, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UCLA

April 29th (Friday), 3:00pm
Webb Hall 1100

Rhythmic body movements observed in animal locomotion such as walking, swimming, flying, etc., are known to be controlled by neuronal circuits called central pattern generators (CPGs). Such biological control systems based on CPGs may provide a new paradigm for feedback control theory to achieve oscillations (rather than regulations) in a robust, adaptive, and autonomous manner. This talk motivates a pattern formation problem in the context of animal locomotion, and formally defines (artificial) CPG analysis and design problems. We show how neuronal interconnections for a CPG relate to the resulting oscillation profile (frequency, amplitude, phase). The method of multivariable harmonic balance is developed, and we have proved that this approximate result becomes exact in a special case where the desired phases are rational multiples of pi. Our results will contribute to understanding of the mechanisms underlying global pattern formation of multiple agents through local interactions, and form a basis for developing a distributed feedback control theory to achieve coordinated oscillations.

About Ted Iwasaki:

Dr. Iwasaki joined the UCLA faculty in the summer of 2009 as Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) in 1987 and 1990, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1993. He was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Purdue University (1994-1995), Research Associate (1995-1996), Lecturer (1996-1997) and Associate Professor (1997-2000) at Tokyo Tech, and Assistant Professor (2000-2002), Associate Professor (2002-2004), and Professor (2004-2009) at the University of Virginia. Dr. Iwasaki's current research interests include neuronal control mechanism of animal locomotion, nonlinear oscillators, and robust/optimal control theories. He is a Fellow of IEEE, and has served as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Systems and Control Letters, IFAC Automatica, and International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control. He has received CAREER Award from NSF, Pioneer Prize from SICE, George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award from IEEE, Rudolf Kalman Best Paper Award from ASME, and Steve Hsia Biomedical Paper Award from WCICA.

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