Monday, June 10, 2013

Finding Zeno

Remember the story about Zeno's paradox, with Achilles and the tortoise?  Well, now we know how to do a computer simulation of that story :-)

Last week our first paper on enclosures and hybrid systems (entitled, "Enclosing the Behavior of a Hybrid System up to and Beyond a Zeno Point") was accepted for publication at the First IEEE Conference of Cyber-Physical Systems, Networks, and Applications (CPSNA 2013).

The figure on the right, taken from the paper, illustrates the basic idea of the new method on another example of Zeno behavior, namely, a bouncing ball.  The approach presented in the paper is to compute an "enclosure" (illustrated in grey in the diagram).  Using enclosures makes it possible simulate the system past the Zeno point without going into an infinite loop.