Jet Lag Recovery: Synchronization of Circadian Oscillators as a Mean Field Game

Rene A. Carmona, Christy V. Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A mean field game is proposed for the synchronization of oscillators facing conflicting objectives. Our motivation is to offer an alternative to recent attempts to use dynamical systems to illustrate some of the idiosyncrasies of jet lag recovery. Our analysis is driven by two goals: (1) to understand the long time behavior of the oscillators when an individual remains in the same time zone, and (2) to quantify the costs from jet lag recovery when the individual has traveled across time zones. Finite difference schemes are used to find numerical approximations to the mean field game solutions. They are benchmarked against explicit solutions derived for a special case. Numerical results are presented and conjectures are formulated. The numerics suggest that the cost the oscillators accrue while recovering is larger for eastward travel which is consistent with the widely admitted wisdom that jet lag is worse after traveling east than west.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalDynamic Games and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Ergodic
  • Explicit solutions
  • Jet lag
  • Mean field control
  • Mean field game
  • Numerical results
  • Oscillators
  • Partial differential equations
  • Perturbation analysis
  • Synchronization


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