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Designing Emergent Collective Behaviors

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  • Visitor Seminars
When Mar 31, 2014
from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where Engr. IV Bldg., Shannon Room 54-134
Contact Name
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Jeffrey Rogers



Emergent collective behaviors can have adverse system effect or, in some cases, solve long-standing engineering challenges. Often the sheer complexity of the system components and interactions force conservative design that limits performance. Examples of adverse effects include catastrophic breakdown seen in cascading power grid failure or the loss of motor skills and physical senses associated with some epileptic seizures. At the same time, controlling collective state stability can solve these and other challenges. Producing high power lasers serves as an instructive example. I will derive a relatively simple description for a class of lasers, show that it has the right qualitative behaviors, and compare it quantitatively to laboratory measurements. I will present a stability analysis of the model, the design insights it offers, and how they compare with laboratory observations. Connections to future research directions will be discussed.


Jeffrey Rogers received a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. with Applied Math emphasis from Florida Atlantic University in 1992 and 1994, respectively. He earned an M.S. with Condensed Matter/Complex Systems emphasis from Emory University in 1996 and a Ph.D. with Nonlinear Science emphasis from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001. From 2001 to 2008 Dr. Rogers worked as a research scientist at HRL Laboratories. In 2005 he joined California Institute of Technology as faculty in Control and Dynamical Systems to focus on basic research in nanosystem dynamics. In 2008 Dr. Rogers moved to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where the two main thrusts of his program portfolio were: leveraging recent discoveries to define future microsystems and health technology. He joined Google in 2014 to create a health technology effort.

Dr. Rogers’s research focuses on engineering mesoscale dynamics, quantum engineering, nonlinear science, and translational medicine. He created the Mesodynamics Architectures program exploiting recently discoveries to engineer microsystem technologies. Examples include the first Topological Insulator based devices, nanophotonic circuitry, and an electronic biomolecular detector. In his own research Dr. Rogers produced the first fiber laser arrays to meet key milestones for numbers of coherent sources and output power. He also developed models and analysis tools to design collective states in arrays of nano oscillators. In the area of translational medicine he invented and developed the Blast Gauge; an individually wearable sensor which records exposure during explosive blasts and ranks the risk of Traumatic Brain Injury. He managed regulatory approval of the gauge and worked with the US and Australian militaries to field over 220,000 devices during recent conflicts.

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