Section: Research Program
Numerical and theoretical studies of slow-fast systems with complex oscillations
In dynamical systems with at least three state variables, the presence of different time scales favors the appearance of complex oscillatory solutions. In this context, with (at least) two slow variables MixedMode Oscillations (MMO) dynamics can arise. MMOs are small and large amplitude oscillations combined in a single time series. The last decade has witnessed a significant amount of research on this topic, including studies of folded singularities, construction of MMOs using folded singularities in combination with global dynamics, effects of additional time scales, onset of MMOs via singular Hopf bifurcations, as well as generalization to higher dimensions. In the same period, many applications to neuroscience emerged . On the other hand, bursting oscillations, another prototype of complex oscillations can occur in systems with (at least) two fast variables. Bursting has been observed in many biological contexts, in particular in the dynamics of pancreatic cells, neurons, and other excitable cells. In neuronal dynamics a burst corresponds to a series of spikes, interspersed with periods of quiescent behavior, called inter-burst intervals. We are interested in systems combining bursting, MMOs and canards. One of the interesting directions is torus canards, which are canard-like structures occurring in systems combining canard explosion with fast rotation . Torus canards help understand transitions from spiking or MMO dynamics to bursting. Another study on the boundary of bursting and MMOs is the work of  on the so-called plateau bursting. A major challenge in this direction is to gain a complete understanding of the transition from “3 time scales” to “2 fast/ 1 slow” (bursting) and then to “1 fast/ 2 slow (MMOs)”. Also, a key challenge that we intend to tackle in the next few years is that of large dynamical systems with many fast and many slow variables, which additionally are changing in time and/or in phase space. We aim to pursue this research direction both at theoretical and computational level, using numerical continuation approaches based on the location of unstable trajectories by using fixed point methods, rather than simulation, to locate trajectories.