"Complex Systems and Its Role in Fluid Dynamics"
Dr. Jeffrey S. Marshall
Director, School of Engineering
The University of Vermont
October 5, 2007
Math Conference Room (16 Colchester Ave.)
Complex systems are groups of entities that interact with each other to adapt to external conditions, generating emergent behavior which is often quite unexpected based on examination of the individual components of the system. It might not be surprising that processes which occur in large, extended systems, such as a power distribution network, might exhibit such behavior.
In recent years, numerous examples of complex systems behavior have been examined in the literature for processes that involve large numbers of discrete entities ("agents"), which can exhibit complex, adaptive behavior even though in some cases each agent might in itself be quite simple. Examples include a swarm of insects, transportation systems and economic markets. And yet, how might this concept apply to a continuous process, such as a fluid flow? More importantly, even if certain fluid flows can be viewed as complex systems, what benefits accrue from such a characterization and what new fundamental research questions are posed?
This talk will explore a series of examples drawn from the mechanics of fluids and multiphase flows, and attempt to illustrate the role that a complex systems paradigm might have in flow analysis, computation and control. The talk is aimed more at posing research questions than at providing specific answers, with the hope that it will encourage further discussion and thoughts along this line.
Jeff Marshall has BS and MS degrees from UCLA and a PhD from UC-Berkeley, all in mechanical engineering. He has been a visiting professor at the Institut de Méchanique des Fluides de Toulouse in France and was most currently professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Iowa.
Jeff's research interests are in the general field of fluid dynamics, with particular focus in the area of vortices. He has over 50 refereed journal articles, has supervised nearly 20 graduate theses and has authored a textbook, Inviscid Incompressible Flow, published by John Wiley and Sons. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Associate Editor of the Journal of Fluids Engineering. He joined the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences as Director of the School of Engineering in the Fall of 2006.