Encyclopedia of Systems Biology

2013 Edition
| Editors: Werner Dubitzky, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Kwang-Hyun Cho, Hiroki Yokota


  • Basilio VescioEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9863-7_1345


A pattern is a type of theme of recurring events or objects, sometimes referred to as elements of a set of objects that repeat in a predictable manner.

The most basic patterns, called tessellations, are based on repetition and periodicity. A single template, tile, or cell is combined with duplicates without change or modification. For example, simple harmonic oscillators produce repeated patterns of movement.

Other patterns use symmetry, which is a form of finite repetition, instead of translation, which can repeat infinitely. Fractal patterns also use magnification or scaling, giving an effect known as self-similarity or scale invariance. Some plants, like ferns, even generate a pattern using an affine transformation which combines translation, scaling, rotation, and reflection.

Mathematics is commonly described as the “Science of Patterns.” Any sequence of numbers that may be modeled by a mathematical function is considered a pattern. In pattern theory (Grenander 1996),...

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  1. Grenander U (1996) Elements of pattern theory. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineMagne Graecia University of CatanzaroCatanzaroItaly