Erik Jonsson
School of Engineering & Computer Science
The University of texas at Dallas



April 22, 2016

NAOMI LEONARD // Princeton University

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

The successful deployment of complex, multi-agent systems requires well-designed, agent-level control strategies that accommodate sensing, communication and computational limitations on individual agents. Indeed, many applications demand system-level dynamics to be robust to disturbance and adaptive in the face of changes in the environment. Remarkably, animal groups, from bird flocks to fish schools, exhibit such robust and adaptive behaviors, even as individual animals have their own limitations. To better understand and leverage the parallels between networks in nature and design, a principled examination of collective dynamics is warranted. Naomi Ehrich Leonard 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 Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. She is Director of Princeton's Council on Science and Technology and an affiliated faculty member of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Program on Quantitative and Computational Biology. Her research and teaching are in control and dynamical systems with current interests in coordinated control of multi-agent systems, mobile sensor networks, collective animal behavior, human decision dynamics, and intersections with choreography and dance. She is a MacArthur Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


11 a.m. in TI Auditorium (ECSS 2.102).
Refreshments at 10:45 a.m. in the lobby.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Jayar Medlock at 972.883.2236 or [email protected]