Noise can play an organizing role for the recurrent dynamics in excitable media

Cyrill B. Muratov, Eric Vanden-Eijnden, Weinan E

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We analyze patterns of recurrent activity in a prototypical model of an excitable medium in the presence of noise. Without noise, this model robustly predicts the existence of spiral waves as the only recurrent patterns in two dimensions. With small noise, however, we found that this model is also capable of generating coherent target patterns, another type of recurrent activity that is widely observed experimentally. These patterns remain essentially deterministic despite the presence of the noise, yet their existence is impossible without it. Their degree of coherence can also be made arbitrarily high for wide ranges of the parameters, which does not require fine-tuning. Our findings demonstrate the need to reexamine current modeling approaches to active biological media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-707
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 16 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Noise-induced coherence
  • Stochastic resonance
  • Target patterns


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