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Controlling Collective Dynamics of Underactuated Ensembles

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Technical Report,01 Feb 2017,31 Jan 2020

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The Washington University Saint Louis United States

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This project focused on the development of a systematic framework and a set of unifying principles and approaches to advance our understanding of complex ensemble systems and ability to control their collective behavior. The motivation was driven by the applications in rapidly expanding and emerging transdisciplinary domains, such as quantum control, neurostimulation, chronobiology, and robotics, wherein engineers, experimentalists, and clinical practitioners exert exogenous inputs e.g. electromagnetic pulses, electrical microsimulation, and light protocols to excite, perturb and, furthermore, optimally control the activity or the spatiotemporal structure of an ensemble system consisting of a large number of dynamical units towards scientific or therapeutic endpoints. The major challenge concerning this class of problems was that one cannot send control signals to individual systems in the ensemble, but only to the ensemble as a whole. This project 1 established new methods for examining fundamental properties, such as ensemble controllability, to understand the theoretical limits of the extent to which ensemble activity and dynamic structures can be perturbed with an exogenous input and 2 developed effective computational methods for solving optimal control problems involving ensemble systems and networks. The research substantially advanced our understanding of complex ensemble systems and directly contributed to new developments in control and systems theory, which supports the research mission of the AFOSR.

Subject Categories:

  • Operations Research
  • Computer Programming and Software

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