Self-organized Criticality: What is it and What is it Good for

Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 9:30am - 10:30am
Keller 3-180
Donald Turcotte (Cornell University)
The concept of self-organized criticality (SOC) was introduced to explain the behavior of the sand-pile model. Other models that exhibit this behavior are the forest-fire model and the slider-block model. Each of these models can be associated with a serious natural hazard: landslides, forest and wild fires, and earthquakes. The forest-fire model is also closely related to the site-percolation model which exhibits classical critical point behavior. Self-organized criticality can be understood in terms of a self-similar cascade of cluster growth. The growth process is identical in terms of self-similarity to the branching in diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA).