Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studying random structures with confetti

Date:
November 3, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Chance and probability play a natural role in statistical physics. Inspired by confetti, researchers in Sweden are gaining better understanding of random phenomena and refine the tools that can be used to study them.

The study can be described as follows: An arbitrary number of pieces of confetti are thrown over a rectangle of given size. Some pieces of confetti will overlap one another and form continuous fields. The question in this case is whether a continuous path can be obtained in this way from one side of the rectangle to the other, which can be expected to be the case as often as it is not. To study the effect a disturbance has, a coin is tossed for each individual piece of confetti: for heads the confetti is left in place, for tails it is removed. The piece of confetti that has been taken away is then thrown out over the rectangle again, and it is noted whether a continuous path from side to side has been established. This part of the thesis is the result of cooperation with Erik Broman (Chalmers, Gothenburg), Simon Griffiths and Robert Morris (IMPA, Rio de Janeiro).
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Gothenburg

Chance and probability play a natural role in statistical physics. Inspired by confetti, researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, are gaining better understanding of random phenomena and refine the tools that can be used to study them.

"The result of small disturbances to random systems can be illustrated by throwing confetti. If simple rules are constructed at a small scale, it is possible to study the characteristics at a broad level. Small changes at local level can result in widely differing phenomena at global level," says Daniel Ahlberg at the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Gothenburg.

Ahlberg has based his doctoral thesis in mathematical statistics on probabilities and percolation theory, which concerns the studies of random structures. Part of the thesis is a study of a fundamentally simple object: the random structure on a given surface created with the aid of confetti. The question is how the structure is affected by a slight disturbance.

"A small disturbance is sufficient, that is to say a small proportion of the confetti that has been thrown being re-positioned, for the structure of confetti to show completely different characteristics."

Probability models of this type do not have great practical application in themselves, but the phenomena demonstrated provide a pointer to what can be expected when similar physical systems are studied. This may relate for example to how liquid trickles into porous materials or spread of disease in forestry plantations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Studying random structures with confetti." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010083438.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, November 3). Studying random structures with confetti. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010083438.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Studying random structures with confetti." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010083438.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 18, 2014) The virus ravaging Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt the economy more than the actual disease, says Breakingviews' Una Galani. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) Twitter is testing a feature on some users that shows favorited tweets from people they follow in their own timeline, the same way a retweet appears. 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