Dynamics Days 2016 conference report

By Tom Chartrand
Dynamics Days 2016 conference report
The thirty-fifth Dynamics Days conference was held on January 7–10 in downtown Durham, NC. The event was hosted by a trio of the local "Research Triangle" institutions: Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Throughout it's long and eminent history, Dynamics Days has managed to retain its small size and intimate atmosphere, with just a single track of talks and ample time for discussion. The format this year consisted of 18 invited talks spanning a wide range of topics, interspersed with an equal number of contributed talks. The invited speakers discussed diverse approaches to nonlinear dynamics and dynamical systems. Mathematical, computational, and experimental results seemed evenly represented.

The schedule was well organized, with each session consisting of two invited talks and two contributed talks, typically on related topics. These topics included soft matter and granular materials (Aparna Baskaran, Rafi Blumenfeld, Lucas Goehring, Daphne Klotsa, Xiaoming Mao, Mark Shattuck), network dynamics and synchronization (Nicholas Buchler, Adilson Motter, Lou Pecora), systems biology with applications to cancer (Sui Huang, Herbert Levine), metastability and basins of attraction (Katie Newhall, Shane Ross), and biological networks and pattern formation (Eleni Katifori, Mary Silber). Other invited talks added to the diversity of perspectives by bringing in several less-represented fields: learning in neural network dynamics (Dmitri Chklovskii), dynamics inspired by fundamental quantum mechanics (Rudy Horne), and dynamics of information processing in thermodynamic systems (Jim Crutchfield).

The poster session, of course, was also a highlight. Over 50 posters were presented after the talks on two evenings, with all posters remaining up for both sessions, a nice feature for busy presenters. Evenings after the poster sessions were free to explore the surrounding downtown area. Downtown Durham has seen a resurgence of restaurants and nightlife in just the past several years. It was a pleasure to be able to explore these all within walking distance with new acquaintances from the conference.

Tom Chartrand

Thumbnail image adapted from Fig. 2 of Assessing the robustness of spatial pattern sequences in models of dryland vegetation, by Karna Gowda, Yuxin Chen, Sarah Iams, and Mary Silber.


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