Coherent dynamics enhanced by uncorrelated noise

Zachary G. Nicolaou, Michael Sebek, István Z. Kiss, and Adilson E. Motter

Phys. Rev. Lett.


Synchronization is a widespread phenomenon observed in physical, biological, and social networks, which persists even under the influence of strong noise. Previous research on oscillators subject to common noise has shown that noise can actually facilitate synchronization, as correlations in the dynamics can be inherited from the noise itself. However, in many spatially distributed networks, such as the mammalian circadian system, the noise that different oscillators experience can be effectively uncorrelated. Here, we show that uncorrelated noise can in fact enhance synchronization when the oscillators are coupled together. Strikingly, our analysis also shows that uncorrelated noise can be more effective than common noise in enhancing synchronization. We first establish these results theoretically for phase and phase-amplitude oscillators subject to either or both additive and multiplicative noise. We then confirm the predictions through experiments on coupled electrochemical oscillators. Our findings suggest that uncorrelated noise can promote rather than inhibit coherence in natural systems and that the same effect can be harnessed in engineered systems.