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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Research at the cutting edge

There was a Workshop on Rogue Waves held during December 12-15, 2005 at Edinburgh and sponsored by International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS). I did not attend this workshop because it is a very theoretically oriented workshop and not being a theoretician understandably I was not invited. I just found the following paragraph from their announcement has to be one of the most magnificently well written introductory synopsis on freaque waves I have ever seen:

"Rogue, or freak, waves, is currently a very hot topic. At the same time, it is a topic of substance in nonlinear wave theory, and an ICMS workshop was timely and appropriate. Briefly, a rogue wave is the rare transient occurrence of a wave whose amplitude is significantly larger than the background sea-state. A commonly-used ad hoc definition is a wave that is at least 2.2 larger then the significant wave height. Although they are rare events, just how rare is not clear; a spate of recent ocean observations suggest they are not as rare as had been thought. These destructive waves are of major concern for shipping and off-shore engineering. Based on various numerical and analytical models, several dynamical mechanisms have been proposed for their occurrence; these included Fourier superposition of many small waves with suitable phase relations, nonlinear focussing of wave energy, and wave refraction by currents and/or topography. However, a detailed and definitive understanding of rogue waves, and related phenomena, is not presently available."
Thanks to ICMS' generousity that in their website they made all of the abstracts, some manuscripts, and many of the presentations given at the workshop available and accessible to us all. This is a great service for the freaque wave aficionados. Two other similar sites also made the recent presentations and/or manuscripts fully accessible are Rogue Waves 2004 and 2005 Aha Hulikoa Hawaii Winter Workshop. Together these are all at the cutting edge of freaque wave researches. But regrettably, even with all these high powered cutting-edge researches, a detailed and definitive understanding of freaque waves, and related phenomena, is still far, far from being within our command yet.

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