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Many previous studies have shown that the turbulent mixing layer under periodic forcing tends to adopt a lock-on state, where the major portion of the fluctuations in the flow are synchronized at the forcing frequency. The goal of this experimental study is to apply closed-loop control in order to provoke the lock-on state, using information from the flow itself. We aim to determine the range of frequencies for which the closed-loop control can establish the lock-on, and what mechanisms are contributing to the selection of a feedback frequency. In order to expand the solution space for optimal closed-loop control laws, we use the genetic programming control (CPC) framework. The best closed-loop control laws obtained by CPC are analysed along with the associated physical mechanisms in the mixing layer flow. The resulting closed-loop control significantly outperforms open-loop forcing in terms of robustness to changes in the free-stream velocities. In addition, the selection of feedback frequencies is not locked to the most amplified local mode, but rather a range of frequencies around it.

We propose a novel cluster-based reduced-order modelling (CROM) strategy for unsteady flows. CROM combines the cluster analysis pioneered in Gunzburger's group (Burkardt, Gunzburger & Lee, Comput. Meth. Appl. Mech. Engng, vol. 196, 2006a, pp. 337-355) and transition matrix models introduced in fluid dynamics in Eckhardt's group (Schneider, Eckhardt & Vollmer, Phys. Rev. E, vol. 75, 2007, art. 066313). CROM constitutes a potential alternative to POD models and generalises the Ulam-Galerkin method classically used in dynamical systems to determine a finite-rank approximation of the Perron-Frobenius operator. The proposed strategy processes a time-resolved sequence of flow snapshots in two steps. First, the snapshot data are clustered into a small number of representative states, called centroids, in the state space. These centroids partition the state space in complementary non-overlapping regions (centroidal Voronoi cells). Departing from the standard algorithm, the probabilities of the clusters are determined, and the states are sorted by analysis of the transition matrix. Second, the transitions between the states are dynamically modelled using a Markov process. Physical mechanisms are then distilled by a refined analysis of the Markov process, e. g. using finite-time Lyapunov exponent (FTLE) and entropic methods. This CROM framework is applied to the Lorenz attractor (as illustrative example), to velocity fields of the spatially evolving incompressible mixing layer and the three-dimensional turbulent wake of a bluff body. For these examples, CROM is shown to identify non-trivial quasi-attractors and transition processes in an unsupervised manner. CROM has numerous potential applications for the systematic identification of physical mechanisms of complex dynamics, for comparison of flow evolution models, for the identification of precursors to desirable and undesirable events, and for flow control applications exploiting nonlinear actuation dynamics.