Oscillations and Instability; control, near and far from equilibrium in Biology

23 May - 3 June 2005

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.

The aim of this workshop is to gather theoreticians (from mathematics and physics) and experimentalists (from physics and biology/neuroscience)

·        exploring basic concepts underlying the dynamics of and transitions between states in cells and networks of cells

·        defining new, testable hypotheses about neural dynamics

·        establishing new collaborations for testing these hypotheses

Stability of many interacting processes is crucial for the function of a cell and of networks of cells. Quite frequently, (sub)cellular processes and dynamics at the level of networks of cells operate near equilibrium, but they may also operate far from equilibrium. The latter is crucial from a functional point of view.

One finds several approaches for studying such network systems by analyzing the dynamics on distinct time scales. Next to more abstract separations of time scales due to stability-related features of the (self-organizing) network’s dynamics, more structural issues come to the fore, e.g., fast evolution due to changes in input and slow evolution due to changes in coupling strengths. Recent experimental data indicate, however, that coupling strengths may change on the same time scale as the fast dynamics. Moreover, the network or processes within a cell, or the network of neurons, can partition itself into

(sub-)clusters, each in a different state, where temporal correlations provide labels to distinguish between (sub)clusters and states.

Subtopics of the conference will be:

·        Dynamics of coupled oscillators (e.g., phase dynamics in ensembles of oscillators)

·        Stability near and far from equilibrium (e.g., stability in and beyond the sense of Lyapunov)

·        Non-equilibrium phase transitions (e.g., circular causality and self-organization)

·        Critical phenomena (e.g., continuously critical states and self-organized criticality)

·        Impacts of noise (e.g., stochastic resonance and dynamics of critical states)

·        Correlations in space and time (e.g., stochastic ensembles and the Ginzburg-Landau theory)

The workshop consists of two parts:

·        The first three days present tutorials, providing a general background at an advanced level on theoretical concepts on stability analysis, nonlinear dynamics, phase transitions and data-analysis. The tutorials are open to all interested scientists, in particular to young scientists (graduate students and postdocs). Due to limitations of the capacity of the facilities, the maximum has been set at 60 participants.

·        7 Days of informal presentations, followed by discussions. This part of the workshop is open only to scientists active in the field.

We invite all our colleagues, in particular those in the Netherlands, to attend the workshop. We especifically encourage junior scientists (graduate students and postdocs) to attend.


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