“The Prisoner's Kaleidoscope”
The prisoner's dilemma game on a lattice
This explorable illustrates beautiful dynamical patterns that can be generated by a simple game theoretic model on a lattice. The core of the model is the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a legendary game analyzed in game theory. In the game, two players can choose to cooperate or defect. Depending on their choice, they receive a pre-specified payoffs. The payoffs are chosen such that it seems difficult to make the right strategy choice.
The spatial hypercycle model
This explorable illustrates the dynamics of the famous hypercycle model. It was originally conceived by Peter Schuster and Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen (1927-2019) in 1979 to investigate the chemical basis of the origin of life. Because living things make copies of themselves, in the beginning complex chemicals like polymer chains, including small RNA molecules (see e.g. RNA-world), had to acquire the ability to catalyse their own synthesis from smaller parts, e.g. single nucleotides.
“T. Schelling plays Go”
The Schelling model
This explorable illustrates the dynamics of the Schelling model named after economist and Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling (1921-2016). Although this model has been applied in different contexts, it is best known for its ability to capture geographical ethnic segregation of human populations and cities based on very simple principles.
“Nah dah dah nah nah... (Opus, 1984)”
Conway's Game of Life
The distribution of primes along number spirals
This explorable is about prime numbers. It illustrates interesting patterns that emerge if you arrange the positive natural numbers $1,2,3,….$ and so forth in a regular pattern in the plane and look at the distribution of the primes in the arrangement. Although prime numbers, as one might expect, don’t follow some regular repetitive pattern, they are also not distributed completely at random. Instead, in all arrangements streaks and fragments of neighboring primes emerge. These structures are related to prime generating polynomials like the famous polynomial discovered by Leonard Euler.
“I sing well-tempered”
The Ising Model
This explorable illustrates one of the most famous models in statistical mechanics: The Ising Model. The model is structurally very simple and captures the properties and dynamics of magnetic materials, such as ferromagnets. It is so general that it is also used to describe opinion dynamics in populations and collective behavior in animal groups.
A forrest fire model
This explorable illustrates, as a representative of a broad range of dynamic phenomena, a simple model for the spatial spread of forest fires and the dynamic patterns they generate. In the model two antagonistic processes interplay, the reproductive growth of vegetation that continuously covers the landscape with trees susceptible to fires and spontaneously seeded (lightning strikes) forest fires that spread across areas of dense vegetation.
“Dr. Fibryll & Mr. Glyde”
This explorable illustrates pattern formation in excitable media. The example explored here in a system of pulse-coupled oscillators that are arranged on a two-dimensional lattice and interact with their neighbors by delivering excitatory pulses to them and receiving them in return. This model is sometimes used to study synchronization and can capture the dynamics of activation in layers of neurons as well as the spatial patterns of signaling molecules that play a role in microbial aggregation processes.
“If you ask your XY”
The XY model of statistical mechanics
This explorable illustrates pattern formation and dynamics in the $XY$-model, an important model in statistical mechanics for studying phase-transitions and other phenomena. It’s a generalization of the famous Ising-Model. The $XY$-model is actually quite simple.
“A Patchwork Darwinge”
Evolution: Variation and Selection
This explorable illustrates how the combination of variation and selection in a model biological system can increase the average fitness of a population of mutants of a species over time. Fitness of each mutant quantifies how well it can reproduce compared to other mutants. Variation introduces new mutants. Sometimes a mutant’s fitness is lower than its parent’s, sometimes higher. When lower, the mutant typically goes extinct, if higher the mutant can outperform others and proliferate in the population. This way mutants with higher fitness are naturally selected.
Percolation on a lattice
This explorable illustrates a process known as percolation. Percolation is a topic very important for understanding processes in physics, biology, geology, hydrology, horstology, epidemiology, and other fields. Percolation theory is the mathematical tool designed for understanding these processes.
The stochastic, spatial SIRS model
This explorable illustrates the behavior of a contagion process near its critical point. Contagion processes, for example transmissible infectious diseases, typically exhibit a critical point, a threshold below which the disease will die out, and above which the disease is sustained in a population. Interesting dynamical things happen when the system is near its critical point.