What is it about?

A relatively simple model of a ‘complex’ system is studied. This model has two layers. In each layer there are many identical simple moving components (oscillators), which are all identical and exert influence on each other (they are coupled). The two layers of oscillators may also weakly influence each other. In this paper the effect of random noise specifically on how these two layers influence each other is explored. It is shown surprisingly that randomness in the system under quite general conditions causes the layers to synchronise with each other. Random noise may in other words enhance the communication between one layer and another layer. In some cases it is also shown that noise can also induce dramatic changes in the state of the system, for example, noise may change the system from one which is chaotic into one, which is not. This model may be thought of for example as a simple toy model of the cortex, where the oscillators could be thought of as a simple approximations of neurons, which are continually spiking. Neurons in the brain are known to exhibit so-called modality, where a well connected cluster of neurons (a layer) is weakly connected to another well connected cluster of neurons. Due to the simplicity of the model the qualitative results of this paper may have application to other complex systems such as power grids.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This work is the first to this authors knowledge to explore the role of interlayer noise in networks of time continuous components. Networks of continuous components (as well as randomness) are ubiquitous in the real world, and yet their study has become major focus of many in the scientific community only fairly recently, due in large part to increasing availability of significant computational power. In the context of neuroscience noise induced mutual synchronization of two clusters of oscillating neurons could play an important role in enhancing communication in the brain, as well as have relevance to the understanding and prevention of seizures.


Some people when they are working, studying or trying to sleep will listen to recordings of so called white noise (or pink noise). These sounds seem to aid the focus or relaxation of the brain. Why should it be the case that purely random noise should make things better? Should the noise not in fact add yet another chaotic distraction to the poor person who is trying their hardest to focus? The research of this paper also comes to the same surprising conclusion that noise should enhance systems in many respects. The advantage of this simple model is that some mathematical/ analytical understanding can be gained in the process.

Ewan Phillips
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The synchronizing role of multiplexing noise: Exploring Kuramoto oscillators and breathing chimeras, Chaos An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, July 2023, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0135528.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page