Naomi Leonard publishes paper on collaboration at the intersection of nonlinear dynamics and improvisational dance

Professor Naomi Leonard

A work of art evolves from a series of decisions, as an artist combines brushstrokes, dance steps or musical notes to convey a feeling or idea. When a group of interacting dancers improvises a performance from a repertoire of possible movements, the dynamics of the artistic decisions become even more complex.

For Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Princeton’s Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, this collective, in-the-moment creative process is a valuable model for studying social decision-making. Her team uses mathematical model-based investigations of complex group dynamics to explain and explore collective behavior in nature and art and to inform the design of control systems for robot teams operating in challenging environments.