Seminar Archive

Spring 2015

Wednesday, February 18 3:30pm - 5:30pm at BU

Yiping Ma (University of Colorado Boulder)

Spatially localized states in pattern forming PDEs often result from bistability between a spatially homogeneous state and a spatially periodic state, and can be understood from the dynamical systems perspective. This talk focuses on the 1:1 forced complex Ginzburg-Landau equation, which is the normal form PDE for harmonically forced Hopf bifurcations in spatially extended systems.

David Kaspar (Brown University)

In the 1990s it was discovered that Burgers' equation $\rho_t + \rho \rho_x = 0$ interacts nicely with stochastic initial data. This observation is due to several authors, beginning with special cases and alternative notions of solution, culminating with the 1998 work of Jean Bertoin. This paper showed that if $\rho(x,0)$ is a Levy process without positive jumps, then for fixed $t \gt 0$ the solution $\rho(x,t)$ has the same property, and gave a description for the evolution of the Laplace exponent.

Wednesday, March 18 3:30pm - 5:30pm at Brown

David Kelly (Courant Institute)

It has long been observed that multi-scale systems, particularly those in climatology, exhibit behavior typical of stochastic models, most notably in the unpredictability and statistical variability of events. This is often in spite of the fact that the underlying physical model is completely deterministic.

One possible explanation for this stochastic behavior is deterministic chaotic effects. In fact, it has been well established that the statistical properties of chaotic systems can be well approximated by stochastic differential equations.

Hung Tran (University of Chicago)

I will present some recent progress in stochastic homogenization of Hamilton-Jacobi equations. In particular, I will describe a new approach to establish homogenization via an inverse problem and describe some new results for the non-convex case. Joint work with Scott Armstrong and Yifeng Yu.

Wednesday, April 8 3:30pm - 5:30pm at BU

Aaron Hoffman (Olin College)

We consider scalar, bistable lattice differential equations on rectangular lattices in two space dimensions. We show (under mild conditions) that front-like solutions persist when holes are introduced into the domain by removing one or more lattice points. This is joint work with Hupkes and Van Vleck.

Konstantinos Spiliopoulos (Boston University)

We consider a heterogeneous interacting particle system, where each particle is subject to failure. Particles interact through mean field interactions and exogenous effects. We study the limiting behavior of the empirical measure. It turns out that the limiting empirical measure solves an SDPE. Next we study deviations of the empirical measure from its limit. We prove a weak convergence result for the fluctuation process. The limiting fluctuation process lives in a distribution space, also satisfying an SDPE.

Wednesday, May 6 3:30pm - 5:30pm at Brown

Ryan Hynd (University of Pennsylvania)

$p$-ground states are functions that minimize a quantity known as the $p$-Rayleigh quotient. These functions satisfy a nonlinear PDE that has an eigenvalue problem interpretation. We present two schemes that provide approximations of these functions. One is based on inverse iteration for square matrices and the other is a flow that is an appropriate generalization of the heat equation. In both cases, property scaled solutions converge to $p$-ground states.

Nathan Totz (UMass Amherst)

We consider solutions to the infinite depth water wave problem in 2D and 3D neglecting surface tension which are to leading order wave packets with small $O(\epsilon)$ amplitude and slow spatial decay that are balanced. Multiscale calculations formally suggest that such solutions have modulations that evolve on $O(\epsilon^{-2})$ time scales according to a version of a cubic NLS equation depending on dimension. Justifying this rigorously is a real problem, since standard existence results do not yield solutions to the water wave problem that exist for long enough to see the NLS dynamics.

Fall 2014

Wednesday, September 24 3:30pm at Brown

Alexandria Volkening (Brown University)

Zebrafish (Danio rerio), a small fish with black and yellow stripes, has the ability to regenerate its stripes in response to growth or artificial disturbance. We simulate past laser ablation experiments using discrete (agent-based) and continuum (non-local conservation law) models. Both models consider two cell types diffusing and reacting based on rules of short range activation and long range inhibition. Our results suggest that the radius of interaction is a key determinant of stripe formation.

Osman Chaudhary (Boston University)

Taylor dispersion, first described by G.I. Taylor in 1953, occurs when the diffusion of a solute in a pipe or channel is enhanced by a background flow, in that the solute asymptotically approaches a form that solves a different diffusion equation (with larger diffusion coefficient, in an appropriate moving frame). By introducing scaling variables, I'll show how one can obtain this asymptotic form in a very natural way using a center manifold reduction. This is joint work with Margaret Beck and Gene Wayne.

Paul Carter (Brown University)

It is well known that the FitzHugh-Nagumo system exhibits stable, spatially monotone traveling pulses. Also, there is numerical evidence for the existence of spatially oscillatory pulses, which would allow for the construction of multi-pulses. Here we show the existence of oscillatory pulses rigorously, using geometric blow-up techniques and singular perturbation theory.

Jason Sherfey (Boston University)

The Dynamic Neural Simulator (DNSim) is a tool for rapid prototyping of large neural models, batch simulation management, and efficient model sharing. It is designed to speed up and simplify the process of generating, sharing, and exploring network models of neurons. It requires no user programming and interfaces a crowd-sourced model database (DNSim DB) to facilitate model sharing and modular model building.

Wednesday, October 15 3:30pm - 5:30pm at BU

David Ambrose (Drexel University)

For dispersive PDE on spatially periodic domains, we formulate the time-periodic solutions problem as a fixed point problem. The operator in question is the composition of a linear operator and a nonlinear operator. The linear operator can be bounded with small divisor estimates, losing derivatives in the process. If the nonlinear operator can be shown to have smoothing properties, then the composition can be shown to be a local contraction. Thus, the nonexistence of nontrivial small-amplitude doubly periodic waves follows from dispersive smoothing estimates.

Francesco Di Plinio (Brown University)

The planar Euler equations describe the motion of a 2-D inviscid incompressible fluid, and also arise as a model problem for the study of the barotropic mode (to put it simply, the vertical average) of the Primitive equations of the ocean. It is a result by Yudovich that, in the space-periodic case, there exist a unique weak solution to the Euler system whenever the initial data has bounded vorticity.

Wednesday, November 12 3:30pm - 5:30pm at Brown

Hongjie Dong (Brown University)

The problem of finite-time singularity versus global regularity for active scalar equations with nonlocal velocities (for instance, the vorticity equation of the Euler equations, the 2D quasi-geostrophic equations with or without dissipation, and the α-patch model) has attracted much attention in recent years. In this talk, I will discuss some recent results in this direction.

Eric Baer (MIT)

In this talk we describe a new class of optimal continuity results for the action of the Hessian determinant on spaces of Besov type into the space of distributions on $\mathbb{R}^N$. In particular, inspired by recent work of Brezis and Nguyen on the distributional Jacobian determinant, we show that the action is continuous on the Besov space of fractional order $B(2-\frac{2}{N},N)$, and that all continuity results in this scale of Besov spaces are consequences of this result.

Wednesday, December 10 3:30pm - 5:30pm at BU

Xuwen Chen (Brown University)

We consider the focusing 3D quantum many-body dynamic which models a dilute bose gas strongly confined in two spatial directions. We assume that the microscopic pair interaction is focusing and matches the Gross-Pitaevskii scaling condition. We carefully examine the effects of the fine interplay between the strength of the confining potential and the number of particles on the 3D N-body dynamic. We overcome the difficulties generated by the attractive interaction in 3D and establish new focusing energy estimates.

Jon Cannon (Brandeis University)

Oscillatory electrical activity is ubiquitous in the brain at a wide range of frequencies, each with different behavioral correlates in different brain regions. The "communication though coherence" hypothesis states that coordination between oscillating populations can dynamically facilitate or prevent information flow between them. This hypothesis links two often separate fields of mathematics: dynamical systems and information theory, and raises questions in both fields.

Fall 2015

Tuesday, November 17 2:00pm - 6:00pm at BU

Theo Vo (BU)

Abstract: Many biological rhythms evolve over multiple timescales, such as the beating of the heart or the electrical activity of neurons. Mathematical analysis of such multi-timescale problems has revealed special types of solutions, so-called canards, that play a crucial role in organising and shaping the dynamics. In this talk, we first give a brief overview of the current state of canard theory and its implications in mathematical neuroscience. We pay particular attention to two special classes of canard solutions: folded singularity canards and torus canards.

Blake Barker (Brown)

Abstract: We present recent results of a numerical bifurcation study of multidimensional
planar viscous shock waves in Magnetohydrodynamics using the Evans function.
We describe the numerical methods used and the bifurcation properties observed.

Walter Strauss (Brown)

Abstract: Consider the angle of inclination of the profile of a steady 2D inviscid
symmetric periodic or solitary water wave subject to gravity. Although the
angle may surpass 30 degrees for some irrotational waves close to the
extreme wave, Amick proved in 1987 that the angle must be less than 31.15
degrees if the wave is irrotational. For any wave that is not
irrotational, the question of whether there is a bound on the angle has
been completely open. An example is the extreme Gerstner wave, which has
adverse vorticity and vertical cusps. Moreover, numerical calculations

Ying Zhang (BU)

Stochastic Reaction Diffusion Master Equations (RDMEs) have been widely used in biochemistry, computational biology, and biophysics to understand the reaction and diffusion of molecules within cells. However, the lattice RDME does not converge to any spatially-continuous model incorporating bimolecular reactions as the lattice spacing approaches zero. In order to contribute to a more accurate solution to this problem, we derive a convergent RDME (CRDME) via finite volume discretization of a spatially-continuous model and provide efficient numerical methods for approximating its solutions.

Tommy McCauley (BU)

In this talk we introduce the Maslov index as a tool to analyze stability of steady state solutions to a reaction-diffusion equation in one spatial dimension. We show that the path of unstable subspaces associated to this equation is governed by a matrix Riccati equation whose solution $S$ develops singularities when changes in the Maslov index occur. We then prove that at these singularities the change in Maslov index equals the number of eigenvalues of $S$ that increase to $+\infty$ minus the number of eigenvalues that decrease to $-\infty$.

Veronica Ciocanel (Brown)

Abstract: Xenopus is a species of frog and a model organism for many biological studies. During early development of Xenopus laevis oocytes, mRNA moves from the nucleus to the periphery. The accumulation of messenger RNA at the bottom of the cell is called localization and is believed to depend on bidirectional movement by molecular motor proteins. This accumulation gives the cell an axis that is crucial for embryo development. We use discrete and continuous (partial differential equations) modeling approaches for mRNA populations that diffuse, move or are paused in the cell.

Spring 2016

Monday, April 25 1:30pm - 6:15pm at Brown

Mickey Salins (Boston University)

The motion of a vibrating material that is exposed to both deterministic and random forcing can be described by the damped semi-linear stochastic wave equation. As the mass density of the material converges to zero, the solutions of the damped semi-linear stochastic wave equations converge to the solution of a semi-linear stochastic heat equation uniformly on finite time intervals. This is called the Smoluchowski-Kramers approximation.

Alexandria Volkening (Brown University)

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a small fish with distinctive black and yellow stripes that form due to the interaction of different pigment cells. Working closely with the biological data, we present an agent-based model for these stripes that accounts for the migration, differentiation, and death of three types of pigment cells. The development of both wild-type and mutated patterns will be discussed, as well as the non-local continuum limit associated with the model.
(work is with Bjorn Sandstede)

Maxim Olshanii (University of Massachusetts Boston)

We investigate the relationship between the nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) of mathematical physics and their linearizations around stationary localized solutions. It turns out that for the PDEs of sine-Gordon type, it is possible to solve the Inverse Linearization Problem, which is as follows: given linear stability analysis equations (LSAE) for an unknown PDE around an unknown stationary solution, restore the PDE. Of a particular interest are the instances of transparency of the LSAEs that may hint on the integrability of the corresponding PDEs.

Carey Caginalp (Brown)

A problem of great interest regarding conservation laws is the propagation of certain special initial data, and in particular, the behavior and evolution of the solution. For example, if we start with initial data in the form of a Markov process (in $x$), will this property continue to be preserved in time? What about other more general classes of initial data? I aim to address this and other questions, as well as provide some insight into the so-called $n$-point equations, the relationships between positions and velocities at certain points.

Sameer Iyer (Brown)

I will introduce Prandtl's boundary layer hypothesis, which was formulated in 1904 to describe the inviscid convergence of Navier-Stokes flows towards an Euler flow. I will then describe the setup and outline the proof of a recent result validating Prandtl's hypothesis in the case of Navier-Stokes flows over a rotating disk.

Fall 2016

Wednesday, December 14 2:00pm - 6:00pm at BU

Nathan Totz (UMass Amherst)

We present a new result, joint with Andrea Nahmod, Natasa Pavlovic, and Gigliola Staffilani, in which extremely low regularity flows are constructed globally in time almost surely for a family of modified SQG equations using Gibbs measures techniques; we also construct a Gibbs measure with respect to which these flows are invariant.

Xiaoning Zheng (Brown)

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical analysis and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows governed by classical Navier-Stokes (NS) equations.

Gigliola Staffilani (MIT)

In this seminar I will be introducing a selection of well-posedness results in which randomness is exploited. I will briefly present the work of Burq-Tzvetkov for the NLW and the work of Bourgain for the NLS equation and then I will move to more recent results and open questions.

Sameer Iyer (Brown)

I will outline the proof that steady, incompressible Navier-Stokes flows posed over the moving boundary, $y = 0$, can be decomposed into Euler and Prandtl flows globally in the tangential variable, assuming a sufficiently small velocity mismatch. The main obstacles in the analysis center around obtaining sharp decay rates for the linearized profiles and the remainders. The remainders are controlled via a high-order energy method, supplemented with appropriate embedding theorems, which I will present.

Fall 2017

Thursday, November 30 2:00pm - 6:00pm at BU

Eric Chang

We identify three new structures that lie in the parameter plane of a family of quartic complex maps. There exists in the parameter plane a "Sierpindelbrot (SM) arc" of infinitely many alternating Mandelbrot sets and Sierpinski holes. In fact, there are two types of SM arcs, and there are infinitely many of each in the parameter plane.

Eric Cooper

Recent numerical studies have revealed certain families of functions play a crucial role in the long time behaviour of the 2D Navier-Stokes equation with periodic boundary conditions. These functions, called bar and dipole states, exist as quasi-stationary solutions and attract trajectories of all other initial conditions exponentially fast. If the domain is the symmetric torus, then the dipole states dominate, while on the asymmetric torus the bar states dominate.

Panayotis Kevrekidis

The aim of this talk is to give an overview of stability criteria as they apply to a variety of coherent structures on infinite dimensional dynamical systems. We will start with solitary waves of the discrete nonlinear Schrodinger equation (DNLS), discussing both stability classification from the anti-continuum (uncoupled site) lattice limit and the famous Vakhitov-Kolokolov (VK) criterion.

Melissa McGuirl

An agent based model has been developed by B. Sandstede and A. Volkening to better understand the pattern formation on zebrafish in early development. This model tracks the migration, birth, death, and form changes of 5 different pigment cells. These interactions are dependent on short- and long-range length scales and several other parameters, where different parameter regimes correspond to different types of cell mutations. While this model has provided new insight on the development of zebrafish stripes, the robustness of the model has yet to be explored.

Ross Parker

The fifth-order Korteweg-de Vries equation (KdV5) is a nonlinear partial differential equation used to model dispersive phenomena such as plasma waves and capillary-gravity water waves. For wave speeds exceeding a critical threshold, KdV5 admits a countable family of double-pulse traveling-wave solutions, where the two pulses are separated by a phase paramter multiplied by an integer N.

Feng Xie

In this talk I first recall some mathematical results in the study of classical Prandtl boundary layer theory. And then, I will focus on the related well-posedness and convergence theories for the characteristic MHD boundary layer. Under the assumption that the initial tangential magnetic field is not zero, we establish the local-in-time existence and uniqueness of solutions to the nonlinear MHD boundary layer equations.

Ying Zhang

Tethered enzymatic reactions are a key component in signaling transduction pathways. It is found that many surface receptors rely on the tethering of cytoplasic kinase to initiate and integrate signaling. A large number of compartment-based ODE and stochastic models have been developed to investigate properties of such pathways over the past decade.

Spring 2018

Thursday, April 19 2:00pm - 6:00pm at Brown

Jorn Dunkel

Recent experiments show that bacterial and other active suspensions in confined geometries can self-organize into persistent flow structures that exhibit spontaneously broken mirror symmetry.

Efstathios G. Charalampidis

In this talk, we will discuss the dynamics of rogue waves in nonlinear Schrodinger (NLS) equations and discrete variants thereof. Initially, we will consider NLS equations with variable coefficients which can be converted into their integrable siblings by utilizing suitable transformations. Then, the Peregrine soliton will be fed to the transformation employed.

Allen Wu

The equilibrium shape and density distribution of rotating fluids under self-gravitation is a classical problem in mathematical physics. Early efforts before the twentieth century revealed ellipsoidal solutions with constant density.

Ang Li

Planar spiral waves have been observed in many natural systems and also as solutions of reaction-diffusion equation.

Pedro J Saenz

We demonstrate the spontaneous emergence of collective behavior in spin lattices of droplets walking on a vibrating fluid surface. Circular wells at the bottom of the fluid bath encourage individual droplets to walk in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction along circular trajectories centered at the lattice sites.

Jingwei Ma

Recent advances in X-ray tomography and high performance computing enable modeling of the spatio-temporal dynamics of signaling pathways within a realistic 3D mammalian cell. We study the process of a chemical signal that is activated at random locations on cell membrane diffuses across cytosol and into nucleus.

Yernat Assylbekov

The attenuated geodesic ray transform is the integration of functions over geodesics with the exponential weight factor. This is the theoretical backbone of medical imaging techniques such as SPECT and Ultrasound Tomography. In applications, we often encounter such transforms acting on tensor fields.

Fall 2018

Rebecca Santorella

In many high-dimensional dynamical systems interactions between microscopic particles lead to low-dimensional macroscopic behaviors. Equation-free modeling estimates this macro-level behavior through a coarse time stepper in three steps: (1) lift: build the microstate from the macrostate, (2), evolve: simulate the microsystem for short bursts, and (3) restrict: estimate the macrostate from the evolved microstate.

Yannis G. Kevrekidis

Obtaining predictive dynamical equations from data lies at the heart of
science and engineering modeling, and is the linchpin of our technology.
In mathematical modeling one typically progresses from observations of
the world (and some serious thinking!) first to equations for a model,
and then to the analysis of the model to make predictions. Good mathematical
models give good predictions (and inaccurate ones do not) - but the computational
tools for analyzing them are the same: algorithms that are typically based
on closed form equations.

Pearson Miller

Fundamental biological and biomimetic processes, from tissue morphogenesis to soft robotics, rely on spatiotemporally varying chemical patterns to coordinate active force generation. In this talk, I describe recent investigations into the mechanics of chemically-driven active surfaces from the perspective of non-Euclidean elastic shell theory.

Mareike Haberichter

We construct stationary soliton states in a one-component, two dimensional nonlinear Schroedinger equation with a ring-shaped trap and repulsive interatomic interactions.

Cory Ward

In this informal talk, we look at a recently published deformation of the Nonlinear Schrödinger Equation, known as the Camassa-Holm Nonlinear Schrödinger Equation. Using multiscale expansion techniques as well as numerical methods, we show that both the (1+1) and (2+1) variants have soliton solutions of both the dark and antidark varieties. We also highlight some recent work concerning the Camassa-Holm Derivative Nonlinear Schrodinger Equation.

Anthea Cheung

Empirical data recorded during human epileptic seizures suggest that waves of voltage activity that appear during seizure are often followed by complex spatio-temporal patterns, which present challenges for identifying realistic mathematical neural models that exhibit such phenomena.

Spring 2019

Friday, May 3 2:00pm - 6:00pm at BU

Jonathan Jaquette

In this talk we discuss a validated computational method for obtaining error estimates on the infinite dimensional stable manifold of non-trivial equilibria in parabolic PDEs. Our approach combines the parameterization method – which can provide high order approximations of finite dimensional manifolds with validated error bounds – together with the Lyapunov-Perron method – which is a powerful technique for proving the existence of (potentially infinite dimensional) invariant and inertial manifolds.

Zhiyuan Zhang

We consider the plasma confined in a general axisymmetric spatial domain with perfect conducting boundary which reflects particles specularly, and look at a certain class of equilibria, assuming axisymmetry in the problem. We prove a sharp criterion of spectral stability under these settings. Moreover, we provide several explicit families of stable/unstable equilibria using this criterion.

Matthew Durey

A droplet may ‘walk’ along the surface of a vertically vibrating fluid bath, propelled at each impact by the Faraday waves generated by all prior impacts. The longevity of this ‘path memory’ increases with the amplitude of the vibrational forcing, yielding instabilities in the system and the onset of chaos. This hydrodynamic pilot-wave system exhibits many features that were previously thought to be exclusive to the quantum realm, such as unpredictable tunnelling, emergent statistics, and quantized droplet dynamics. 

Stephanie Dodson

Spiral wave patterns observed in models of cardiac arrhythmias and chemical oscillations develop alternans and stationary line defects, both of which can be thought of as period-doubling instabilities. These instabilities are observed on bounded domains, and may be influenced by the spiral core, far-field asymptotics, and boundary conditions. In this talk, we introduce a methodology to disentangle the impacts of each region on the instabilities by analyzing spectral properties of spiral waves and boundary sinks on bounded domains with appropriate boundary conditions.

Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel

Impulsive differential equations are continuous differential equations with discrete jumps (kicks) in phase space at a deterministic sequence of times. This results in a map, but also captures the behavior of the system in between kicks. Impulsive differential equations can be used to model resilience to disturbances. In this talk I'll discuss resilience in the context of impulsive Lotka-Volterra models.

Alexandros Gelastopoulos

Neural oscillations, including rhythms in the beta1 band (12-20 Hz), are important in various cognitive functions. Often neural networks receive rhythmic input at frequencies different than their natural frequency, but very little is known about how such input affects the network's behavior. We use a simplified, yet biophysical, model of a beta1 rhythm that occurs in the parietal cortex, in order to study its response to oscillatory inputs.

Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan

Fall 2021

Moyi Tian (Brown)

It has been observed that s-shaped curves, known as snaking, emerge as the existence branches of stationary localized patterns in spatially discrete systems posed on lattices. Little is known about how graph structure impacts the connection of stationary patterns in parameter space. To address this problem, we focus on ring lattices and discuss analytical results in different coupling regimes.

Lidia Mrad (Mount Holyoke)

Molecules of a nematic liquid crystal tend to align along preferred directions, producing partially-ordered material. This results in peculiar physical properties that render them useful in a range of applications, including their widespread use in optical displays. When confined to thin planar cells or channels, the fluid flow extends the applications of nematics further to optofluidic devices and guided micro-cargo transport. Our goal is to examine the intrinsic coupling between the fluid motion and the orientation of nematic molecules within a reduced Beris-Edwards framework.

Ying Zhang (Brandeis)

The endothelial lining of blood vessels presents a large surface area for exchanging materials between blood and tissues. The endothelial surface layer (ESL) plays a critical role in regulating vascular permeability, hindering leukocyte adhesion as well as inhibiting coagulation during inflammation. Once the ESL is pathologically altered, the changes in its topography are believed to cause vascular hyperpermeability and induce thrombus formation during sepsis.

Panagiota Birmpa (UMass Amherst)

In this talk, we present our recent results on the density fluctuation field for the stirring process with births and deaths at two sites at the boundary which tend to impose a current into the system. Assuming correlation estimates, we derive an equation for the limiting kernel of the variance of the fluctuation field.

Chad Topaz (William College)

Civil rights leader, educator, and investigative journalist Ida B. Wells said that "the way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth upon them." This talk will demonstrate how mathematical and computational approaches can shine a light on social injustices and help build solutions to remedy them.

Alexander Moll (UMass Boston)

The Benjamin-Ono equation is a model for a variety of classical fluid interfaces in two spatial dimensions.  In addition, the “quantization” of this model is conjectured to describe such interfaces at scales in which quantum effects must be taken into account.  In this talk, we review the essentials of the mathematical procedure of quantization (from a probabilistic point of view and without any path integrals) and present recent results on the quantization of Benjamin-Ono periodic traveling waves.