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We focus on a controlled Cucker--Smale model in finite dimension. Such dynamics model self-organization and consensus emergence in a group of agents. We explore how it is possible to control this model in order to enforce or facilitate pattern formation or convergence to consensus. In particular, we are interested in designing control strategies that are componentwise sparse in the sense that they require a small amount of external intervention, and also time sparse in the sense that such strategies are not chattering in time. These sparsity features are desirable in view of practical issues.

We first show how very simple sparse feedback strategies can be designed with the use of a variational principle, in order to steer the system to consensus. These feedbacks are moreover optimal in terms of decay rate of some functional, illustrating the general principle according to which ``sparse is better''. We then combine these results with local controllability properties to get global controllability results. Finally, we explore the sparsity properties of the optimal control minimizing a combination of the distance from consensus and of a norm of the control.

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In this paper we define an infinite-dimensional controlled piecewise deterministic Markov process (PDMP) and we study an optimal control problem with finite time horizon and unbounded cost. This process is a coupling between a continuous time Markov Chain and a set of semilinear parabolic partial differential equations, both processes depending on the control. We apply dynamic programming to the embedded Markov decision process to obtain existence of optimal relaxed controls and we give some sufficient conditions ensuring the existence of an optimal ordinary control. This study, which constitutes an extension of controlled PDMPs to infinite dimension, is motivated by the control that provides Optogenetics on neuron models such as the Hodgkin-Huxley model. We define an infinite-dimensional controlled Hodgkin-Huxley model as an infinite-dimensional controlled piecewise deterministic Markov process and apply the previous results to prove the existence of optimal ordinary controls for a tracking problem.

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