MULTIWAVE is an interdisciplinary European Research Council (ERC) project at the frontiers of mathematics, physics and engineering which will explore important open questions in nonlinear wave propagation and turbulence and the emergence of extreme events.

MULTIWAVE combines the expertise of two Advanced Co-Investigators : Professor Dias from UCD Dublin and Professor Dudley from the University of Franche-Comté in order to carry out the interdisciplinary studies of the nonlinear effects that form the subject of the proposal. A central element of the work builds on recent international developments in the field of nonlinear waves led by the co-investigators that have shown how analogies between optical systems and the deep ocean provide important new insights into the generation of the infamous hydrodynamic rogue waves observed on the ocean.

These results, which have led to the first experimental confirmation in 2010 of analytic results of hydrodynamics that have remained untested for over 25 years, have now opened up the possibility for an optical system to directly study the dynamics and statistics of extreme nonlinear wave shaping. This is a tremendous advance comparable to the introduction of optical systems to study chaos in the 1970s, and the co-investigators aim to be at the forefront of this research effort to take research in both optics and hydrodynamics into fundamentally new directions.

The aims of MULTIWAVE are focussed on applying these conceptual advances to explore and resolve open questions in nonlinear wave propagation and its impact. Core theoretical elements will uncover the fundamental mechanisms underlying the nonlinear emergence of large scale coherent structures from a turbulent environment, and resolve basic questions of energy transport in the presence of nonlinearity.

These analytical studies will be complemented by advanced numerical experiments applicable to multidimensional propagation scenarios. A key experimental element is an adventurous concept which we term the optical-wave tank. Recent developments in optical technology will enable laboratory experiments in optics that will accurately simulate realistic propagation scenarios in hydrodynamics and ocean systems. The degree of parameter control in optics using current waveguide and source availability will allow us to design experiments studying a range of nonlinear propagation scenarios. Particular emphasis will be placed on extreme rogue wave events which are essentially impossible to study quantitatively in the natural oceanic environment.

We anticipate significant direct impact in the study of hydrodynamic and oceanic rogue waves, and will apply the results obtained to propose forecasting and early-warning signatures for rogue waves on the ocean. In addition, the methodologies developed will be highly generic and thus suitable for the study of a wide range of extreme value processes in other systems. The results obtained are thus expected to feed into, and initiate new studies across, a wide spectrum of topics in nonlinear physics.

What are rogue waves?
Rogue waves are extreme waves that are localised both in time and in space

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