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Hybrid simulation theory for a classical nonlinear dynamical system


Hybrid simulation is an experimental and computational technique which allows one to study the time evolution of a system by physically testing a subset of it while the remainder is represented by a numerical model that is attached to the physical portion via sensors and actuators. The technique allows one to study large or complicated mechanical systems while only requiring a subset of the complete system to be present in the laboratory. This results in vast cost savings as well as the ability to study systems that simply can not be tested due to scale. However, the errors that arise from splitting the system in two requires careful attention, if a valid simulation is to be guaranteed. To date, efforts to understand the theoretical limitations of hybrid simulation have been restricted to linear dynamical systems. In this work we consider the behavior of hybrid simulation when applied to nonlinear dynamical systems. As a model problem, we focus on the damped, harmonically-driven nonlinear pendulum. This system offers complex nonlinear characteristics, in particular periodic and chaotic motions. We are able to show that the application of hybrid simulation to nonlinear systems requires a careful understanding of what one expects from such an experiment. In particular, when system response is chaotic we advocate the need for the use of multiple metrics to characterize the difference between two chaotic systems via Lyapunov exponents and Lyapunov dimensions, as well as correlation exponents. When system response is periodic we advocate the use of L2 norms. Further, we are able to show that hybrid simulation can falsely predict chaotic or periodic response when the true system has the opposite characteristic. In certain cases, we are able to show that control system parameters can mitigate this issue.