IDSS Distinguished Seminar – John Doyle (Caltech)
March 17, 2016 | 1-2 pm | 32-144

ABSTRACT: This talk will aim to accessibly describe progress on a theory of network architecture relevant to neuroscience, biology, medicine, and technology, particularly SDN/NFV and cyberphysical systems. Key ideas are motivated by familiar examples from neuroscience, including live demos using audience brains, and compared with examples from technology and biology. Background material and additional details are in online videos (accessible from website cds.caltech.edu/~doyle) for which this talk can be viewed as a short trailer.

More specifically, my research is aimed at developing a more “unified” theory for complex networks motivated by and drawing lessons from neuroscience[4], cell biology[3], medical physiology[9], technology (internet, smartgrid, sustainable infrastructure)[1][8], and multiscale physics [2],[5],[6]. This theory involves several elements: hard limits, tradeoffs, and constraints on achievable robust, efficient performance ( “laws”), the organizing principles that succeed or fail in achieving them (“architectures” and protocols), the resulting high variability data and “robust yet fragile” behavior observed in real systems and case studies (behavior, data, statistics), the processes by which systems adapt and evolve (variation, selection, design), and their unavoidable fragilities (hijacking, parasites, predation, zombies). A final crucial element is scalable algorithms to allow study and design of complex networks using this theory.

We will leverage a series of case studies with live demos from neuroscience, particularly the necessity of layered architectures due to speed accuracy tradeoffs (SAT, e.g. Fitts’ “law”) in vision, cognition, and sensorimotor control. The online videos compare similar laws and architectures from medicine, cell biology and modern computer and networking technology. Zombies emerge throughout as a ubiquitous, strangely popular, and annoying system fragility, particularly in the form of zombie science. In addition to the videos, papers [1] and [4] (and references therein) are the most accessible and broad introduction while the other papers give more domain specific details, most importantly [3] and [9] for biology and medicine.

For math details a good place to start is Nikolai Matni’s website (cds.caltech.edu/~nmatni/) or his EECS/IDSS talk on March 9. I’ll be at MIT for several days, and I’m hoping to discuss the implications of this research direction for social systems with IDSS and other researchers.

Selected recent references:

  • Alderson DL, Doyle JC (2010) Contrasting views of complexity and their implications for network-centric infrastructures. IEEE Trans Systems Man Cybernetics—Part A: Syst Humans 40:839-852.
  • Sandberg H, Delvenne JC, Doyle JC. On Lossless Approximations, the Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem, and Limitations of Measurements, IEEE Trans Auto Control, Feb 2011
  • Chandra F, Buzi G, Doyle JC (2011) Glycolytic oscillations and limits on robust efficiency. Science, Vol 333, pp 187-192.
  • Doyle JC, Csete ME(2011) Architecture, Constraints, and Behavior, P Natl Acad Sci USA, 108, Sup 3 15624-15630
  • Gayme DF, McKeon BJ, Bamieh B, Papachristodoulou P, Doyle JC (2011) Amplification and Nonlinear Mechanisms in Plane Couette Flow, Physics of Fluids, V23, Issue 6, 065108
  • Page, M. T., D. Alderson, and J. Doyle (2011), The magnitude distribution of earthquakes near Southern California faults, Geophys. Res., 116, B12309, doi:10.1029/2010JB007933.
  • Namas R, Zamora R, An, G, Doyle, J et al, (2012) Sepsis: Something old, something new, and a systems view, Journal Of Critical Care Volume: 27   Issue: 3
  • Chen, L; Ho, T; Chiang, M, Low S; Doyle J,(2012) Congestion Control for Multicast Flows With Network Coding, IEEE Trans On Information Theory Volume: 58   Issue: 9   Pages: 5908-5921
  • Li, Cruz, Chien, Sojoudi, Recht, Stone, Csete, Bahmiller, Doyle (2014)   Robust efficiency and actuator saturation explain healthy heart rate control and variability, P Natl Acad Sci USA 2014 111 (33) E3476-E3485

BIO: John Doyle is the Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and BioEngineering at Caltech (BS&MS EE, MIT (1977), PhD, Math, UC Berkeley (1984). Research is on mathematical foundations for complex networks with applications in biology, technology, medicine, ecology, and neuroscience. Paper prizes include IEEE Baker and Automatic Control Transactions (twice), ACM Sigcomm, AACC American Control Conference. Individual awards include IEEE Power Hickernell, AACC Eckman, UCB Friedman, IEEE Centennial Outstanding Young Engineer, and IEEE Control Systems Field Award. Best known for fabulous friends, colleagues, and students, plus world and national records and championships in various sports. Extremely fragile.


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