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aster de Matem`
atica Avan
Methods of Mathematical Modelling and Analysis

Exercise 1
One of the training sessions of an athlete includes a few laps around the track with constant speed. Since
the speed of the exercise is constant, we can assume that his heart rate is only a function of time.
Let us denote as hr(t) the heart rate of the athlete after time t from the beginning of the exercise (the
values of hr(t) are given in beats/min). The kinetics of function hr(t), that is the way the athletes heart
rate changes with time during exercise, can be described by means of the recently proposed model of
oxygen uptake kinetics (Stirling et. al, Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 67(5), 989-1015, 2005) according
to the equation
= A(hr hrmin )B (hrmax hr)C (D hr)
where hrmin R is the minimum (resting) heart rate of the athlete, hrmax R is his maximum heart
rate, A, B, C R are positive constants that are characteristic of the fitness level of the athlete and
hrmin hr(t) hrmax , t. The constant D R describes the heart rate demand for the particular

If the intensity of the exercise is low, D has a low value; if the intensity of the exercise is medium
to high, D is close to hrmax . In both of these cases, there is D hrmax .
versus hr. By means of such
Since the system of equation (1) is one-dimensional, we can plot hr
a plot, find the attracting state (or states) of the system, draw the phase portrait of equation (1)
and describe the change of the athletes heart rate with time. We assume that the initial heart rate
hr(0) of the athlete is very close (but not equal) to his resting value hrmin .


For extreme exercise intensities, there is D hrmax .

Draw the phase portrait of equation (1) and describe how the athletes heart rate changes with
time, starting from a low value of hr(0).
What changes in the kinetics of hr(t) as D > hrmax increases?

Exercise 2
Diabetes mellitus is a disease of metabolism that is characterized by too much sugar (glycose) in the
blood and urine. A diabetics body is unable to burn off its carbohydrates because of an insufficient, or
ineffective, supply of insulin.
The interaction between glycose and insulin has been modelled by Ackerman et. al (in F. Heinmets,
Concepts and Models of Biomathematics, 1969) by the equations
g = m1 g m2 h
h = m3 g m4 h


where g(t) 0 is the displacement of the plasma glycose from its basal value and h(t) 0 is the
displacement of insulin from its basal value. For a healthy person the constants m1 , m2 , m3 , m4 R are
Let us assume that a person suddenly consumes an amount of sugar (mathematically this means that we
start from an initial condition g(0) > 0).

Assume that for this person the constants m1 , m2 , m3 , m4 have the particular values of m1 =
3, m2 = , m3 = and m4 = 6, where R, > 0. Prove that the body of this healthy person
will burn off the initial amount of sugar g(0) and will return back to the basal values of glycose and


For an unhealthy person the supply of insulin is ineffective. One of the ways to express this mathematically is by setting m2 < 0 while m1 , m3 , m4 > 0.
To simplify this problem let us assume that m1 = m4 , m2 = m3 and m1 6= m3 . What relationship
much the values of m1 and m3 have for this particular person in order for his/her body to burn off
the initial g(0)?

Base your answers on a linear stability analysis of the fixed point of the phase space of the system
described by equations (2) and (3).

Exercise 3

Consider a model for competing species (let us suppose the species X and Y), described by the
x = x(3 x y)
y = y(2 x y)


where we define as x(t) the population of species X at time t, and y(t) the population of species Y
at time t and x 0, y 0.
Draw the phase portrait of the system of equations (4) and (5). Show why species Y can survive
only if at t = 0 no species X exists.

Consider now the following model for competing species:

x = x(3 2x y)


y = y(2 x y)


where x(t) and y(t) are defined as above.

Draw the phase portrait of the system of equations (6) and (7). Show how it is possible for both
species to co-exist.

Exercise 4
Consider the following one-parameter families of differential equations defined on R:
x = x x(1 x)


x = + x ln(1 + x)

x = x 1 +
1 + x2


For each of the one-dimensional systems described by equations (8), (9) and (10):

Describe what type of bifurcation occurs in the fixed points of the system as the parameter R
varies and sketch the corresponding bifurcation diagram.


Let V (x) be the potential of the system, in the sense that x = dV (x)/dx. Plot V (x) as a function
of the bifurcation parameter , for all the qualitatively different cases that might exist as varies.
Indicate, on this graph, the stable/unstable states of the system.

Exercise 5
Parkinsons disease is a neuro-degenerative disorder characterized by slowing down of movements, rigidity,
tremor and postural instability. The majority of patients with Parkinsons disease exhibit postural tremor
with a frequency between 5 and 12 Hz as well as rest tremor with a frequency between 4 and 6 Hz.
Despite considerable work, the mechanisms of rest and postural tremor in Parkinsons disease are still
There are several potential sources of oscillation in the brain. Austin and Tsai, Confinia Neurologica, 22,
248-258 (1962) proposed the van der Pol equation to model Parkisonian tremor as a nonlinear oscillator:
+ (x2 1)x + x = 0


where x R represents the neural activity and R+ is a nonnegative parameter. Simulated data of
equation (11) produce oscillations similar to the ones seen in Parkinsonian tremor.
Equation (11) has been shown (see for example Guckenheimer and Holmes, Nonlinear Oscillations, Dynamical Systems, and Bifurcations of Vector Fields, 1997) to be equivalent to the system

1 (u2 + v 2 )/4

v =
1 (u2 + v 2 )/4

u =


with an error of O(2 ).


Show that for  1, a supercritical Hopf bifurcation occurs in the system (12) and (13) creating
a stable periodic orbit which produces the desired tremor-like oscillatory behavior.


Let a cross section be the positive u axis and compute the Poincare map of the system (12) and
(13). How is the periodic orbit of (12) and (13) represented on this Poincare map?


Let us now assume that a constant term R is added on the right-hand side of equation (11):
+ (x2 1)x + x =


a) that, as varies, we expect periodic orbits to appear and dissapear through Hopf bifurcations
in the system (12) and (13). Which are the critical values of ?
b) that adding the constant as shown in (14) is a way to control tremor.
Hint: Note that equation (14) (as well as equation (11)) can be re-written as a system of two
equations by replacing u x.

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