PhD Defense: "Bio-Inspired Synchronization of Pulse-Coupled Oscillators"

Felipe Nunez Retamal

September 15th (Monday), 12:30pm
Engineering II, Room 1515

The importance of synchronization in biological and engineering systems has triggered an avalanche of studies analyzing the emergence of a synchronized behavior within a network of, possibly heterogeneous, agents. In particular, synchronization of networks of coupled oscillators has received great attention since limit cycle oscillators are a natural abstraction for systems where periodicity is a distinctive property. Examples of such systems include circadian rhythms and alternate-current power generators.

This work deals with synchronization of pulse-coupled limit cycle oscillators (PCOs). A reverse engineering approach is taken with the objective of obtaining an abstraction for PCO networks able to capture the key properties observed in the classical biological PCO model, to finally implement it in an engineering system. Using our new model, we analyze the existence and stability of synchronization in a variety of PCO network topologies, starting from the simplest all-to-all network where global synchronization is proven to exist, to end giving synchronization conditions for the general strongly connected network case.

Inspired by the strong synchronization properties of PCO networks we design a PCO-inspired time synchronization protocol for wireless sensor networks that enjoys all the advantages of our optimized PCO setup. A pilot implementation is presented going from a simulation stage to a hardware implementation.

About Felipe Nunez Retamal:

Felipe Nunez was born in Santiago, Chile. He received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Currently, he is working towards the Ph.D. degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, under a Fulbright Scholarship earned in 2010. His research interests include control of networks, hybrid systems, model predictive control, fuzzy systems, mineral processing, and modern philosophy.

Hosted by: Professor F.J. Doyle III