avalanche An avalanche is an example of a system displaying “self-organisation”. On a clear day, the great mass of snow on a mountain may appear to be in equilibrium, but the slightest change such as a gentle breeze or the drop of a snowflake can trigger the release a dramatic amount of energy as the system “self-organises” into a new (quasi-) equilibrium. Such self-organisation can be found throughout nature, from the outbreak of natural disasters such as earthquakes, to the spread of internet memes. This project will involve implementation of numerical algorithms whose results will be interpreted using analytic calculation. A particular focus will be understanding the criticality of the 1D BTW sandpile model [1,2].
[1] P. Bak, C. Tang and K. Wiesenfeld, Phys. Rev. A 38 364-374 (1988)
[2] K. Christensen and N. R. Moloney, Complexity and Criticality, Imperial College Press (2005)

Supervisor: Dr Ben King