Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Self-Organized Criticality and Cellular Automata

  • Michael Creutz
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_474-7


Abelian group

A mathematical group wherein all the elements commute.


A possibly large disturbance induced in a system by a small perturbation.

Cellular automaton

This refers to the dynamics of a collection of cells each of which can be in a finite set of states. The evolution is discrete, with the state of a cell at the next time step being dependent only on its previous state and that of its neighbors.


The tendency of a system of a few degrees of freedom to exhibit highly erratic behavior characterized by an infinite range of time scales.

Self-organized criticality

The tendency of certain discrete and dissipative dynamical systems to evolve to a state where changes occur over all possible length scales.

Definition of the Subject

Self-organized criticality is a concept invoked to explain the frequent occurrence of fractal structures and multiscale phenomena in nature. In contrast with the ideas of chaos, here simple common features appear in systems with many...

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Books and Reviews

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics DepartmentBrookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA