Abstract: A thermal convection loop is a annular chamber filled with water, heated on the bottom half and cooled on the top half. With sufficiently large forcing of heat, the direction of fluid flow in the loop oscillates chaotically, dynamics analogous to the Earth’s weather. As is the case for state-of-the-art weather models, we only observe the statistics over a small region of state space, making prediction difficult. To overcome this challenge, data assimilation (DA) methods, and specifically ensemble methods, use the computational model itself to estimate the uncertainty of the model to optimally combine these observations into an initial condition for predicting the future state. Here, we build and verify four distinct DA methods, and then, we perform a twin model experiment with the computational fluid dynamics simulation of the loop using the Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (ETKF) to assimilate observations and predict flow reversals. We show that using adaptively shaped localized covariance outperforms static localized covariance with the ETKF, and allows for the use of less observations in predicting flow reversals. We also show that a Dynamic Mode Decomposition (DMD) of the temperature and velocity fields recovers the low dimensional system underlying reversals, finding specific modes which together are predictive of reversal direction.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).