Engineering spatiotemporal patterns: information encoding, processing, and controllability in oscillator ensembles

Walter Bomela, Bharat Singhal, Jr Shin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The ability to finely manipulate spatiotemporal patterns displayed in neuronal populations is critical for understanding and influencing brain functions, sleep cycles, and neurological pathologies. However, such control tasks are challenged not only by the immense scale but also by the lack of real-time state measurements of neurons in the population, which deteriorates the control performance. In this paper, we formulate the control of dynamic structures in an ensemble of neuron oscillators as a tracking problem and propose a principled control technique for designing optimal stimuli that produce desired spatiotemporal patterns in a network of interacting neurons without requiring feedback information. We further reveal an interesting presentation of information encoding and processing in a neuron ensemble in terms of its controllability property. The performance of the presented technique in creating complex spatiotemporal spiking patterns is demonstrated on neural populations described by mathematically ideal and biophysical models, including the Kuramoto and Hodgkin-Huxley models, as well as real-time experiments on Wein bridge oscillators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045033
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • controllability
  • nonlinear oscillators
  • optimal tracking control
  • phase models


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