Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Synchronization from chaos," by Peter Ashwin. Nature, 27 March 2003.

"It isn't easy to create a semblance of order in interconnected dynamical systems," this article says. "But a mathematical tool could be the means to synchronize systems more effectively--and keep chaos at bay." The author summarizes the contributions of G. W. Wei, M. Zhan and C.-H. Lai (published in Physical Review Letters) to the theory of how to control dynamical chaos. Wei et al are approaching the problem of minimizing the level of coupling required to achieve synchronization: the researchers "have come up with a novel way of reducing the necessary coupling in an array by using wavelet decomposition of the matrix of coupling coefficients, [and have] tested their method by synchronizing a ring of coupled Lorenz systems."

--- Annette Emerson