Past Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar

1 June 2017
16:00
Paola Nardinocchi
Abstract

Soft active materials are largely employed to realize devices (actuators), where deformations and displacements are triggered by a wide range of external stimuli such as electric field, pH, temperature, and solvent absorption. The effectiveness of these actuators critically depends on the capability of achieving prescribed changes in their shape and size and on the rate of changes. In particular, in gel–based actuators, the shape of the structures can be related to the spatial distribution of the solvent inside the gel, to the magnitude and the rate of solvent uptake.

In the talk, I am going to discuss some results obtained by my group regarding surface patterns arising in the transient dynamics of swelling gels [1,2], based on the stress diffusion model we presented a few years ago [3]. I am also going to show our extended stress diffusion model suited for investigating swelling processes in fiber gels, and to discuss shape formation issues in presence of fiber gels [4-6].

[1]   A. Lucantonio, M. Rochè, PN, H.A. Stone. Buckling dynamics of a solvent-stimulated stretched elastomeric sheet. Soft Matter 10, 2014.

[2]   M. Curatolo, PN, E. Puntel, L. Teresi. Full computational analysis of transient surface patterns in swelling hydrogels. Submitted, 2017.

[3]   A. Lucantonio, PN, L. Teresi. Transient analysis of swelling-induced large deformations in polymer gels. JMPS 61, 2013.

[4]   PN, M. Pezzulla, L. Teresi. Anisotropic swelling of thin gel sheets. Soft Matter 11, 2015.

[5]   PN, M. Pezzulla, L. Teresi. Steady and transient analysis of anisotropic swelling in fibered gels. JAP 118, 2015.

[6]   PN, L. Teresi. Actuation performances of anisotropic gels. JAP 120, 2016.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
25 May 2017
16:00
James Sprittles
Abstract

Understanding the outcome of a collision between liquid drops (merge or bounce?) as well their impact and spreading over solid surfaces (splash or spread?) is key for a host of processes ranging from 3d printing to cloud formation. Accurate experimental observation of these phenomena is complex due to the small spatio-temporal scales or interest and, consequently, mathematical modelling and computational simulation become key tools with which to probe such flows.

Experiments show that the gas surrounding the drops can have a key role in the dynamics of impact and wetting, despite the small gas-to-liquid density and viscosity ratios. This is due to the formation of gas microfilms which exert their influence on drops through strong lubrication forces.  In this talk, I will describe how these microfilms cannot be described by the Navier-Stokes equations and instead require the development of a model based on the kinetic theory of gases.  Simulation results obtained using this model will then be discussed and compared to experimental data.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
18 May 2017
16:00
Lev Truskinovsky
Abstract

Considerable attention has been recently focused on the study of muscle tissues viewed as prototypes of new materials that can actively generate stresses. The intriguing mechanical properties of such systems can be linked to hierarchical internal architecture. To complicate matters further, they are driven internally by endogenous mechanisms supplying energy and maintaining non-equilibrium.  In this talk we review the principal mechanisms of force generation in muscles and discuss the adequacy of the available mathematical models.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
11 May 2017
16:00
Peter Grindrod
Abstract

What can maths tell us about this topic? Do mathematicians even have a seat at the table, and should we? What do we know about directed networks and dynamical systems that can contribute to this?

We consider the implications of the mathematical modelling and analysis of neurone-to-neurone dynamical complex networks. We explain how the dynamical behaviour of relatively small scale strongly connected networks lead naturally to non-binary information processing and thus to multiple hypothesis decision making, even at the very lowest level of the brain’s architecture. This all looks a like a a loose  coupled array of  k-dimensional clocks. There are lots of challenges for maths here. We build on these ideas to address the "hard problem" of consciousness - which other disciplines say is beyond any mathematical explanation for ever! 

We discuss how a proposed “dual hierarchy model”, made up from both externally perceived, physical, elements of increasing complexity, and internally experienced, mental elements (which we argue are equivalent to feelings), may support a leaning and evolving consciousness. We introduce the idea that a human brain ought to be able to re-conjure subjective mental feelings at will. An immediate consequence of this model  is that finite human brains must always be learning and forgetting and that any possible subjective internal feeling that might be fully idealised only with a countable infinity of facets, could never be learned completely a priori by zombies or automata: it may be experienced more and more fully by an evolving human brain (yet never in totality, not even in a lifetime). 

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
4 May 2017
16:00
Christian Bick
Abstract

Networks of interacting oscillators give rise to collective dynamics such as localized frequency synchrony. In networks of neuronal oscillators, for example, the location of frequency synchrony could encode information. We discuss some recent persistence results for certain dynamically invariant sets called weak chimeras, which show localized frequency synchrony of oscillators. We then explore how the network structure and interaction allows for dynamic switching of the spatial location of frequency synchrony: these dynamics are induced by stable heteroclinic connections between weak chimeras. Part of this work is joined with Peter Ashwin (Exeter).

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
27 April 2017
16:00
David Schnoerr
Abstract

Many systems in nature consist of stochastically interacting agents or particles. Stochastic processes have been widely used to model such systems, yet they are notoriously difficult to analyse. In this talk I will show how ideas from statistics can be used to tackle some challenging problems in the field of stochastic processes.

In the first part, I will consider the problem of inference from experimental data for stochastic reaction-diffusion processes. I will show that multi-time distributions of such processes can be approximated by spatio-temporal Cox processes, a well-studied class of models from computational statistics. The resulting approximation allows us to naturally define an approximate likelihood, which can be efficiently optimised with respect to the kinetic parameters of the model. 

In the second part, we consider more general path properties of a certain class of stochastic processes. Specifically, we consider the problem of computing first-passage times for Markov jump processes, which are used to describe systems where the spatial locations of particles can be ignored.  I will show that this important class of generally intractable problems can be exactly recast in terms of a Bayesian inference problem by introducing auxiliary observations. This leads us to derive an efficient approximation scheme to compute first-passage time distributions by solving a small, closed set of ordinary differential equations.

 

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
9 March 2017
16:00
Epifanio Virga
Abstract

In Soft Matter, octupolar order is not just an exotic mathematical curio. Liquid crystals have already provided a noticeable case of soft ordered materials for which a (second-rank) quadrupolar order tensor may not suffice to capture the complexity of the condensed phases they can exhibit. This lecture will discuss the properties of a third-rank order tensor capable of describing these more complex phases. In particular, it will be shown that octupolar order tensors come in two separate, equally abundant variants. This fact, which will be given a simple geometric interpretation, anticipates the possible existence of two distinct octupolar sub-phases. 

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
2 March 2017
16:00
Robert van Gorder, James Kwiecinski
Abstract

Bubble Dynamics

We shall discuss certain generalisations of the Rayleigh Plesset equation for bubble dynamics

 

Self-assembly of a filament by curvature-inducing proteins

We explore a simplified macroscopic model of membrane shaping by means of curvature-sensing proteins. Equations describing the interplay between the shape of a freely floating filament in a fluid and the adhesion kinetics of proteins are derived from mechanical principles. The constant curvature solutions that arise from this system are studied using weakly nonlinear analysis. We show that the stability of the filament’s shape is completely characterized by the parameters associated with protein recruitment and establish that in the bistable regime, proteins aggregate on the filament forming regions of high and low curvatures. This pattern formation is then followed by phase-coarsening that resolves on a time-scale dependent on protein diffusion and drift across the filament, which contend to smooth and maintain the pattern respectively. The model is generalized for multiple species of proteins and we show that the stability of the assembled shape is determined by a competition between proteins attaching on opposing sides.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
16 February 2017
16:00
Yves Van Gennip
Abstract

In recent years, ideas from the world of partial differential equations (PDEs) have found their way into the arena of graph and network problems. In this talk I will discuss how techniques based on nonlinear PDE models, such as the Allen-Cahn equation and the Merriman-Bence-Osher threshold dynamics scheme can be used to (approximately) detect particular structures in graphs, such as densely connected subgraphs (clustering and classification, minimum cuts) and bipartite subgraphs (maximum cuts). Such techniques not only often lead to fast algorithms that can be applied to large networks, but also pose interesting theoretical questions about the relationships between the graph models and their continuum counterparts, and about connections between the different graph models.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
9 February 2017
16:00
Soumya Banerjee
Abstract

The immune system finds very rare amounts of pathogens and responds against them in a timely and efficient manner. The time to find and respond against pathogens does not vary appreciably with the size of the host animal (scale invariant search and response). This is surprising since the search and response against pathogens is harder in larger animals.

The first part of the talk will focus on using techniques from computer science to solve problems in immunology, specifically how the immune system achieves scale invariant search and response. I use machine learning techniques, ordinary differential equation models and spatially explicit agent based models to understand the dynamics of the immune system. I will talk about Hierarchical Bayesian non-linear mixed effects models to simulate immune response in different species.

The second part of the talk will focus on taking inspiration from the immune system to solve problems in computer science. I will talk about a model that describes the optimal architecture of the immune system and then show how architectures and strategies inspired by the immune system can be used to create distributed systems with faster search and response characteristics.

I argue that techniques from computer science can be applied to the immune system and that the immune system can provide valuable inspiration for robust computing in human engineered distributed systems.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar

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