I am a Schmidt Science Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, working with Steven Strogatz. I got my Ph.D. in Physics from Northwestern, advised by Adilson Motter. I also have fond memories working at Cornell and IBM Research. You can reach me at yzhang@santafe.edu.

My interest lies at the interface of networks and nonlinear dynamics. When microscopic entities interact, they can often coordinate with each other and achieve a macroscopic impact. Think of electrons dancing together to create superconductivity, cardiac pacemakers beating synchronously to generate rhythmic impulses, and birds flocking together to confuse predators. What gives rise to the emergence of collective dynamics in these coupled many-body systems, especially when the interactions are non-local, irregular, and multifaceted, as often described by complex networks? To help answer this question, I draw techniques from dynamical systems, graph theory, and statistical mechanics and look for simple and unifying principles hidden beneath all the complexities.

Some topics I worked on recently include the effect of disorder in networked dynamical systems, stability analysis and topological control of synchronization patterns, coexistence of coherence and incoherence in systems with symmetries, synchronization on higher-order networks, and basins of attraction in high-dimensional disordered systems.

Chimera states

exploring dynamical patterns in which coherence and incoherence coexist

Topological control

manipulating synchronization patterns through minimal topological perturbations

Temporal sync

designing temporal networks that synchronize under resource constraints