Violet MwaffoViolet Mwaffo

Ph.D. (1st year), Mechanical Engineering

Year in graduate program: 1st year
Research Topic:Node-to-Node pinning control
Partner School:Madiba Prep School
Partner Teacher:Jerib Carson
Email Violet


The research on multi-agent networked control has drawn significant inspiration from interaction-rules observed in real life such as fish schools, locust swarms, and bird flocks, social network. The study of these complex networks, i.e. networks whose structure is irregular, complex and dynamically evolving in time has the main focus of moving from the analysis of small networks to that of systems with thousands or millions of nodes, and with a renewed attention to the properties of networks of dynamical units. Scientists have to cope with structural issues, such as characterizing the topology of a complex wiring architecture, revealing the unifying principles that are at the basis of real networks, and developing models to mimic the growth of a network and reproduce its structural properties. In the recent years, the Dynamical System Lab at NYU POLY have drawn significant results on the subject. Under the supervision of Professor Maurizio Porfiri, I expect to improve some of the methodology developed earlier looking for more innovative and relevant  approach to model and synchronize complex and chaotic network system. This will be achieved by using advanced mathematical modeling of stochastic switching network, numerical simulations to test and validate numerically these models, some data measurement to match the theoretical aspect of the research with the reality and the development of practical tools for Network synchronization that include but are not limited to software, sensors, feedback control.

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Fig: A complex graph network structure

Integration in The Class Room

We planned to develop some educational tools to disseminate some of the relevant aspect of synchronization to pre-college students. Network theory is nowadays applied to almost any domain including social sciences, social network, communication, power grid,  economics, finance, mathematics, biology, robotics, electronics and neuroscience. I believe that early exposure of young college and pre-college students to the theory of graph and network might inspire some of them to think about a college degree in science, mathematics or technology. Some teaching  materials we are planning aim at explaining why in order to capture the global properties of complex systems, we need to model them as graphs whose nodes represent the dynamical units  and whose links stand for the interactions between them. The visual aspect of graphs will help students better understand the concept, to think about a relevant topic where they can applied network theory, perform some experiment using suitable graph structure, draw scientific conclusions from their experiments and results, create a presentation, and present to an audience. We expect to capitalize these activities by submitting some of the best  for validation and publication to the TeachEngineering organization and the graduate STEM K12 program.



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Figure: GK-12 Fellow, Violet F Mwaffo, teaching robotics to 6th grade student at Madiba Prep. The students are learning how to make automated moving vehicle.

1 - AMPS Fellow; 2 - CBRI Fellow