The surprising role of noise in complex systems: from nanoscale electronic transport to global climate dynamics. Physics Colloquium Series. Appalachian State University. March 29, 2019


Noise refers to the rapid and unpredictable fluctuations that are present in almost all complex systems. For example, in electronic transport devices, noise arises from the random and highly unpredictable flow of individual electrons as they move through the structures. Historically, noise has been viewed as a nuisance that tends to degrade performance of systems by making them less predictable. However, researchers have recently found surprising ways in which noise may enhance the performance of a complex system. A striking example of such a beneficial effect is the superlattice random number generator in which the noise greatly enhances chaotic electrical current flow. Another important example is provided by climate models that accurately predict weather patterns such as the famous El Niño by treating the forcing of the atmosphere on surface sea temperatures as a set of effective noise terms. In this talk, I will also focus on our recent experimental and theoretical efforts to discover the unexpected behaviors that emerge from the interplay of deterministic and stochastic dynamics in electronic transport systems.

Service Performed By


  • March 29, 2019

Service or Event Name

  • Physics Colloquium Series

Host Organization

  • Appalachian State University

Location or Venue

  • Boone NC