Introduction to Numerical Bifurcation Analysis

Instructor: Prof. Yuri A. Kuznetsov

Credits ECTS:  8

Language:  English

  Basic courses on ODEs and/or Numerical Analysis


2 hrs lectures per week: Wednesday 10:00-11:45

weeks 6--14:    BBG (Buis Ballot Gebouw)  023  
weeks 15, 16, 18--21:  
MIN (Minnaertgebouw) 0.14

+ computer parcticum: 
Wednesday 11:45-13:00

week 6--14:     BBG 112 CLZ
weeks 15, 16, 18--21:   BBG 103 CLZ

The first lecture and practicum are on February 7, 2018 (BBG 023)


This course presents numerical methods and software for bifurcation analysis of finite-dimensional dynamical systems generated by smooth autonomous ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and iterated maps.

The lectures will cover
- basic Newton-like methods to solve systems of nonlinear equations;
- continuation methods to compute implicitly-defined curves in the n-dimensional space;
- techniques to continue equilibria and periodic orbits (cycles) of ODEs and fixed points of maps in one control parameter;
- methods to detect and continue in two parameters all generic local bifurcations of equilibria and fixed points, i.e. fold, Hopf, flip, and Neimark-Sacker bifurcations, and to detect their higher degeneracies;
- methods to detect and continue in two control parameters all generic local bifurcations of cycles in ODEs (i.e. fold, period-doubling, and torus bifurcations) with detection of the higher degeneracies;
- relevant normal form techniques combined with the center manifold reduction, including periodic normal forms for bifurcation of cycles;
- continuation methods for homoclinic orbits of ODEs and maps, including initialization by homotopy.

Necessary results from the Bifurcation Theory of smooth dynamical systems will be reviewed. Modern methods based on projection and bordering techniques, as well as on the bialternate matrix product, will be presented and compared with the classical approaches.

The course includes exercises with sophisticated computer tools, in particular using the interactive MATLAB bifurcation software MATCONT.


[1] Kuznetsov, Yu.A. "Elemenets of Applied Bifurcation Theory", 3rd edition, Springer, 2004, Chapter 10.
[2] Govaerts, W. "Numerical Methods for Bifurcations of Dynamical Equilibria", SIAM, 2000.
[3] Beyn, W.-J., Champneys, A., Doedel, E., Govaerts, W., Kuznetsov, Yu.A., and Sandstede, B. Numerical Continuation, and Computation of Normal Forms. In: B. Fiedler (ed.) "Handbook of Dynamical Systems", v.2, Elsevier Science, North-Holland, 2002,  pp. 149-219
[4] Meijer, H.G.E.,  Dercole, F., and Oldeman B. Numerical Bifurcation Analysis.  In: Meyers, R. (ed.) "Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science", Part 14, pp. 6329-6352, Springer New York, 2009.
[5] Five Lectures on Numerical Bifurcation Analysis by Kuznetsov, Yu.A. (L1.pdf, L2.pdf, L3.pdf, L4.pdf, L5.pdf)
[6] User Manual for CL_MATCONT (command-line version).

Lecture Notes and Practicum Tutorials available via this page.


Each week a home assignment will be given, which together will contribute 40% of the final grade. The remaining 60% are coming from an individual examination problem that will be assigned at the end of the course. The students should take 7-8 days in a period of 3 weeks to write an essay on the problem elaboration and prepare an oral presentation of the results obtained. The student should get at least 5.0 for the examination problem in order to pass the course (so a lower grade cannot be compensated with high grades on homework).


07 Feb 2018
General ideas: Simulation, continuation, and normal form analysis of ODEs and iterated maps.
Multivariate Taylor formulas.
Newton method for systems of nonlinear equations.
Quadratic approximation of 1D invariant manifolds near equilibria.

Practicum 1

14 Feb 2018 Algebraic continuation problems. Limit points.
Parameter, pseudo-arclength, and Moore-Penrose continuation methods.
Continuation of equilibria and fixed points.
Practicum 2
21 Feb 2018
Branching points. Branch switching. 
Detection and location of branching points.

Practicum 3
28 Feb 2018
Bordering technique - I. Detection of limit and branching points using bordering.
Practicum 4
07 Mar 2018
Bialternate matrix product. Detection of Hopf bifurcation points.
Boundary-value continuation problems and their discretization via orthogonal collocation. Continuation of cycles.
Detection of limit points, period-doubling, and torus bifurcations of cycles.
Practicum 5
14 Mar 2018
Review of codim 1 bifurcations of equilibria in n-dimensional ODEs.
Review of codim 1 local bifurcations of limit cycles in n-dimansional ODEs.
Practicum 6
21 Mar 2018
Bordering technique - II. Continuation of fold and Hopf bifurcations of equilibria. Practicum 7
28 Mar 2018
Continuation of fold, period-doubling, and torus bifurcations of limit cycles. Practicum 8
04 Apr 2018
Computation of normal form coefficients for codim 1 bifurcations of equilibria. Practicum 9
11 Apr 2018
Computation of periodic normal form coefficients for codim 1 bifurcations of limit cycles. Practicum 10
18 Apr 2018
Location and continuation of homoclinic orbits to hyperbolic equilibria in n-dimensional ODEs.
Practicum 11
25 Apr 2018
02 May 2018 Review of codim 1 bifurcations of fixed points in n-dimensional maps.
Computation of normal form coefficients for codim 1 bifurcations of fixed points
Practicum 12
09 May 2018 Continuation of codim 1 bifurcations of fixed points. Detection of codim 2 bifurcations and branch switching. Practicum 13
16 May 2018 Computation of 1D invariant manifolds of saddle fixed points in n-dimensional maps.
Continuation of homoclinic orbits to saddle fixed points in n-dimensional maps.
Practicum 14
23 May 2018
Final remarks. Assignment of individual examination problems. NO PRACTICUM
20 June 2018
Delivering of written elaborations of the examination problems and their oral presentation (BBG 103, 10:00-17:00)

Last updated:  Sat 28 Apr 2018