Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar Series
Title: Understanding the Role of Network Structure in Controlling Complex Networks
Abstract: Controllability of complex network systems is an active area of research at the intersection of network science, control theory, and multi-agent coordination, with multiple applications ranging from brain dynamics to the smart grid and cyber-physical systems. The basic question is to understand to what extent the dynamic behavior of the entire network can be shaped by changing the states of some of its
subsystems, and decipher the role that network structure plays in achieving this. This talk examines this question in two specific instances: characterizing network controllability when control nodes can be scheduled over a time horizon and hierarchical selective recruitment in brain networks. Regarding control scheduling, we show how time-varying control schedules can significantly enhance network controllability over fixed ones, especially when applied to large networks. Through the analysis of a novel scale-dependent notion of nodal centrality, we show that optimal time-varying scheduling involves the actuation of the most central nodes at appropriate spatial scales. Regarding hierarchical selective recruitment, we examine network mechanisms for selective inhibition and top-down recruitment of subnetworks under linear-threshold dynamics. Motivated by the study of goal-driven selective attention in neuroscience, we build on the characterization of key network dynamical properties to enable, through either feedforward or feedback control, the targeted inhibition of task-irrelevant subnetworks and the top-down recruitment of task-relevant ones.
Bio: Jorge Cortes is a Professor and Cymer Corporation Endowed Chair in High Performance Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, San Diego. He is the author of "Geometric, Control and Numerical Aspects of Nonholonomic Systems" (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2002) and co-author of "Distributed Control of Robotic Networks" (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009). He is a Fellow of IEEE, SIAM, and IFAC. He has co-authored papers that have won the 2008 and the 2021 IEEE Control Systems Outstanding Paper Award, the 2009 SIAM Review SIGEST selection from the SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, the 2012 O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award in the Theory category, and the 2019 IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems Outstanding Paper Award. At the IEEE Control Systems Society, he has been a Distinguished Lecturer (2010-2014), an elected member (2018-2020) of the Board of Governors, and Director of Operations (2019-2022) of its Executive Committee. His research interests
include distributed control and optimization, network science and complex systems, resource-aware control and coordination, distributed decision making and autonomy, network neuroscience, and multi-agent coordination in robotic, power, and transportation networks.
NOTE: At this time, in-person Mechanical and Civil Engineering Lectures are open to all Caltech students/staff/faculty/visitors.