Partially unstable attractors in networks of forced integrate-and-fire oscillators

Hai Lin Zou, Zi Chen Deng, Wei Peng Hu, Kazuyuki Aihara, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The asymptotic attractors of a nonlinear dynamical system play a key role in the long-term physically observable behaviors of the system. The study of attractors and the search for distinct types of attractor have been a central task in nonlinear dynamics. In smooth dynamical systems, an attractor is often enclosed completely in its basin of attraction with a finite distance from the basin boundary. Recent works have uncovered that, in neuronal networks, unstable attractors with a remote basin can arise, where almost every point on the attractor is locally transversely repelling. Herewith we report our discovery of a class of attractors: partially unstable attractors, in pulse-coupled integrate-and-fire networks subject to a periodic forcing. The defining feature of such an attractor is that it can simultaneously possess locally stable and unstable sets, both of positive measure. Exploiting the structure of the key dynamical events in the network, we develop a symbolic analysis that can fully explain the emergence of the partially unstable attractors. To our knowledge, such exotic attractors have not been reported previously, and we expect them to arise commonly in biological networks whose dynamics are governed by pulse (or spike) generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-900
Number of pages14
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Bifurcation
  • Pulse-coupled oscillators
  • Stability
  • Unstable attractor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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