Feb 24, 2016 - Seminar

Alexander Forrester (Southampton)
How to swim like a fish, or indeed an eel
Lecture Theatre 2, Mappin Building, 3pm. (Dynamics Research Group Seminar Series)

Faced with situations that we wish to improve, we need to formulate some kind of model
of how our controllable inputs to the situation affect the outputs. Whether we are selecting
the best inputs to result in the kids going to bed on time, or making a quiet aircraft engine,
modelling the situation is important. Models may be analytical, physics-based or empirical,
or a mixture. While analytical and physics-based models can be fast to run, they may not
be able to predict true-life outcomes. Physical experiments are often expensive and
display all the negatives/excitement of true-life - primarily uncertainty. Statistical modelling
methods are useful for combining data of varying lineage into a useful model that can be
used to predict outcomes, and so optimise situations. In this talk I will show the
development of such a model. It is a musculoskeletal/hydrodynamic model of the
underwater fly-kick of an Olympic swimmer, based on experimental, physics-based and
analytical data. Statistical model based optimization techniques are then used to develop
swimming techniques for optimal trade-offs between power and thrust. The techniques are
applicable in all areas of science where inputs can be modified to affect outputs which are
to be improved.