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Many cellular processes require decision making mechanisms, which must act reliably even in the unavoidable presence of substantial amounts of noise. However, the multistable genetic switches that underlie most decision-making processes are dominated by fluctuations that can induce random jumps between alternative cellular states. Here we show, via theoretical modeling of a population of noise-driven bistable genetic switches, that reliable timing of decision-making processes can be accomplished for large enough population sizes, as long as cells are globally coupled by chemical means. In the light of these results, we conjecture that cell proliferation, in the presence of cell-cell communication, could provide a mechanism for reliable decision making in the presence of noise, by triggering cellular transitions only when the whole cell population reaches a certain size. In other words , the summation performed by the cell population would average out the noise and reduce its detrimental impact.

A method for the multivariate analysis of statistical phase synchronization phenomena in empirical data is presented. A first statistical approach is complemented by a stochastic dynamic model, to result in a data analysis algorithm which can in a specific sense be shown to be a generic multivariate statistical phase synchronization analysis. The method is applied to EEG data from a psychological experiment, obtaining results which indicate the relevance of this method in the context of cognitive science as well as in other fields.

We present different tests for phase synchronization which improve the procedures currently used in the literature. This is accomplished by using a two-samples test setup and by utilizing insights and methods from directional statistics and bootstrap theory. The tests differ in the generality of the situation in which they can be applied as well as in their complexity, including computational cost. A modification of the resampling technique of the bootstrap is introduced, making it possible to fully utilize data from time series.

Contents: 1 Introduction 2 Experiment 3 Data 4 Symbolic dynamics 4.1 Symbolic dynamics as a tool for data analysis 4.2 2-symbols coding 4.3 3-symbols coding 5 Measures of complexity 5.1 Word statistics 5.2 Shannon entropy 6 Testing for stationarity 6.1 Stationarity 6.2 Time series of cycle durations 6.3 Chi-square test 7 Control parameters in the production of rhythms 8 Analysis of relative phases 9 Discussion 10 Outlook

We investigate the cognitive control in polyrhythmic hand movements as a model paradigm for bimanual coordination. Using a symbolic coding of the recorded time series, we demonstrate the existence of qualitative transitions induced by experimental manipulation of the tempo. A nonlinear model with delayed feedback control is proposed, which accounts for these dynamical transitions in terms of bifurcations resulting from variation of the external control parameter. Furthermore, it is shown that transitions can also be observed due to fluctuations in the timing control level. We conclude that the complexity of coordinated bimanual movements results from interactions between nonlinear control mechanisms with delayed feedback and stochastic timing components.

The dynamics of noisy bistable systems is analyzed by means of Lyapunov exponents and measures of complexity. We consider both the classical Kramers problem with additive white noise and the case when the barrier fluctuates due to additional external colored noise. In case of additive noise we calculate the Lyapunov exponents and all measures of complexity analytically as functions of the noise intensity resp. the mean escape time. For the problem of fluctuating barrier the usual description of the dynamics with the mean escape time is not sufficient. The application of the concept of measures of complexity allows to describe the structures of motion in more detail. Most complexity measures sign the value of correlation time at which the phenomenon of resonant activation occurs with an extremum.

Using a special technique of data analysis, we have found out 34 grand minima of solar activity obtained from a 7,700 years long Δ14C record. The method used rests on a proper filtering of the Δ14C record and the extrapolation of verifiable results for the later history back in time. Additionally, we use a method of nonlinear dynamics, the recurrence rate, to back up the results. Our findings are not contradictory to the record of solar maxima resp. minima by Eddy [5], but constitute a considerable extension. Hence, it has become possible to look closer at the validity of models. This way, we have tested several models for solar activity, esp. the model of Barnes et al. [1]. There are hints for that the grand minima might solely be driven by the 209 year period found in the Δ14C record.

We demonstrate the occurrence of regimes with singular continuous (fractal) Fourier spectra in autonomous dissipative dynamical systems. The particular example in an ODE system at the accumulation points of bifurcation sequences associated to the creation of complicated homoclinic orbits. Two different machanisms responsible for the appearance of such spectra are proposed. In the first case when the geometry of the attractor is symbolically represented by the Thue-Morse sequence, both the continuous-time process and its descrete Poincaré map have singular power spectra. The other mechanism owes to the logarithmic divergence of the first return times near the saddle point; here the Poincaré map possesses the discrete spectrum, while the continuous-time process displays the singular one. A method is presented for computing the multifractal characteristics of the singular continuous spectra with the help of the usual Fourier analysis technique.

The Voyager 2 Photopolarimeter experiment has yielded the highest resolved data of Saturn's rings, exhibiting a wide variety of features. The B-ring region between 105000 km and 110000 km distance from Saturn has been investigated. It has a high matter density and contains no significance features visible by eye. Analysis with statistical methods has let us to the detection of two significant events. These features are correlated with the inner 3:2 resonances of the F-ring shepherd satellites Pandora and Prometheus, and may be evidence of large ring paricles caught in the corotation resonances.

In the modern industrialized countries every year several hundred thousands of people die due to the sudden cardiac death. The individual risk for this sudden cardiac death cannot be defined precisely by common available, non-invasive diagnostic tools like Holter-monitoring, highly amplified ECG and traditional linear analysis of heart rate variability (HRV). Therefore, we apply some rather unconventional methods of nonlinear dynamics to analyse the HRV. Especially, some complexity measures that are basing on symbolic dynamics as well as a new measure, the renormalized entropy, detect some abnormalities in the HRV of several patients who have been classified in the low risk group by traditional methods. A combination of these complexity measures with the parameters in the frequency domain seems to be a promising way to get a more precise definition of the individual risk. These findings have to be validated by a representative number of patients.