Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sandpile Models Useful To Model Earth Crust Movement, Stock Market And Traffic Jams

Date:
April 2, 2008
Source:
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Summary:
A Dutch mathematician has investigated probability calculations in mathematical sandpile models. Although the rules of the model are simple, the wide-ranging behavior that emerges from these is fascinating. The research concerns various forms of self-organization in these models. Practical applications are far-ranging, including the movements in the Earth's crust, stock market fluctuations and the formation of traffic jams.

Visualization of the mathematical sandpile model showing Sand spreading out symmetrically in highly angulated forms in which fractal patterns develop.
Credit: Image courtesy of Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Dutch mathematician Anne Fey has investigated probability calculations in mathematical sandpile models. Although the rules of the model are simple, the wide-ranging behaviour that emerges from these is fascinating. Fey's research concerned various forms of self-organisation in these models. Practical applications are, for example, movements in the Earth's crust, stock market fluctuations and the formation of traffic jams.

These mathematical models are defined on a grid. Each grid point has a height, or quantity of sand, that must be below a limiting value. With each time interval, the height of one of the points increases. If a height exceeds a limiting value the sand must be moved to nearby points until all points are once again under the limiting value.

Although the rules of the model are simple, the wide-ranging behaviour that emerges from these is fascinating. Sandpile models exhibit various forms of self-organisation and patterns are formed which are stable over the course of time. That is seen most clearly in the case where only the height of the mid-point increases. The sand then spreads out symmetrically in highly angulated forms, in which fractal patterns develop. Fractal patterns have an infinite quantity of details in which designs are repeated on an increasingly smaller scale – this is comparable to ice crystals and certain corals.

In the other situations, the choice of the point where the height increases is random. Then 'self-organised criticality' occurs, a deeper form of self-organisation that is also studied in diverse research areas such as movements in the Earth's crust, stock market fluctuations and the formation of traffic jams.

Fey was originally a mathematics teacher. Via the programme Teacher in Research from NWO Division for the Physical Sciences, she was given the opportunity to familiarise herself with scientific research. She liked it so much that she gave up her teaching job in order to pursue her research ambitions full time. She is the second teacher to gain a doctorate under this programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. "Sandpile Models Useful To Model Earth Crust Movement, Stock Market And Traffic Jams." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110052.htm>.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. (2008, April 2). Sandpile Models Useful To Model Earth Crust Movement, Stock Market And Traffic Jams. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110052.htm
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. "Sandpile Models Useful To Model Earth Crust Movement, Stock Market And Traffic Jams." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110052.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Acquires 'Pandora of Books' Service BookLamp

Apple Acquires 'Pandora of Books' Service BookLamp

Newsy (July 26, 2014) Apple reportedly acquired analytics and recommendation engine BookLamp for between $10 and $15 million. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins