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Danny Raj M (PI)


I am an Assistant Professor at the Dept of Applied Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering at IIT Madras. I work in the area of complex systems engineering where I study systems made up of many interacting entities or agents that exhibit collective phenomenaI study problems at the interface of the physics of collectives and data-science research, where I combine agent-based models for collectives (droplets, sperm cells, traffic, etc.) with techniques from systems engineering and data science like optimisation (sparse, evolutionary, etc.), classification, neural-networks, model-based feedback control, etc., along with simple experiments to:

  1. understand how the dynamics of the collective affects one’s ability to engineer a collective or infer characteristics from data and,

  2. develop hybrid models that combine the knowledge of the physics of group dynamics and data-based models—for the missing physics, closure, etc., and

  3. understand the emergence of functionality or intelligence in collectives across a wide spectrum of cognitive capabilities.

Prior to this I was at the dept of Chemical Engineering at IISc Bangalore as a DST-INSPIRE faculty, from 2018 to 2024. I completed my Doctoral work at IIT Madras in the department of chemical engineering under Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy in 2017. For my PhD, I worked in the area of droplet microfluidics where I studied collective droplet motion inside microchannels. I have a B Tech in Chemical engineering from AC Tech, Anna University, Chennai.


Prospective students

@CoPhe Lab, we work on both applied and fundamental problems in the broad area of collective phenomena.

Students who are interested in the work done in CoPhe Lab, and are looking for a project position, are encouraged to write to me, with their resume attached. Kindly specify the topics that you are interested in, and why you desire to work with us.

Students who are mathematically inclined, have an interest for coding and algorithm development and data-analysis are encouraged to apply. Typically, students with Engineering or a Physics degrees should be able to work on the problems that we are interested in CoPhe Lab.

Collaborations (past and present)

  1. Prof Vishwesha Guttal, Dept. of Ecological Sciences, IISc Bangalore, India

  2. Prof Jason Ryan Picardo, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, IIT Bombay, India

  3. Prof Varsha Singh, School of Biosciences, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK

  4. Prof Ashish Verma, Civil Engineering, IISc India

  5. Prof Ashwin Lal, Shilps Sciences, Bengaluru (Droplet microfluidics company)

  6. Prof K V Venkatesh, Dept of Chemical Engg, IIT Bombay (Metflux Research Private Limited, Mumbai)

  7. Prof V Kumaran, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, IISc Bangalore, India

  8. Prof Guy Theraulaz, Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale, CNRS, France

  9. Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, India

Past students

  1. Vijay Kumar (Observing and inferring the dynamics of composite agents in a complex system) [Project associate; 2019]

  2. Karthikeya Sharma (Investigating the underlying rules of interaction between vehicles in Indian traffic) [Intern; 2020]

  3. Arshed Nabeel (Fish school turning) [In collaboration: Vishwesha] [Project associate; 2019]

  4. Arvind Nayak (Traffic of agents with memory) [Project associate; 2019]
  5. Vijay Kumar (Mesoscale dynamics of finite school) [In collaboration: Vishwesha] [Project associate; 2020]

  6. Aman Prasad (Indian Traffic: collecting data and developing the tracking algorithm) [Intern; 2019]

  7. Vivek Jadhav (Cohesion in fish schools) [Master's project, project associate; in collaboration with Vishwesha Guttal: 2021]

  8. Pritha Kundu (Boundary effects on schooling of fish) [Co-guided MSc, CES, IISc: 2022]

  9. Harishankar Muppirala (Data-driven discovery of interdroplet interactions in microchannels; Tracking and analyzing sperm-cell motion.) [Project associate; 2022]

  10. Arshed Nabeel (Inferring agent-characteristics from movement data of a heterogeneous collective) [Project associate: 2022]

  11. Muthu Krishnan (Image analysis of sperm-cell movement videos) [Intern: 2022]

  12. Chandru (Creating a platform to test the state of the art sperm-trajectory analysis algorithms) [Intern: 2022]

  13. Diksha Kumari (Optical flow algorithms for sperm cell motility assessment) [Intern: 2023]

  14. Kiran Naik K (Entropy based crowd-risk prediction) [Co-guided MTech, Civil Engg, IISc: 2023]

  15. Rupesh Mahore (Intelligent crowd movement & Sperm cell motility project) [Project associate: 2023]

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