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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 56

by Dr. A.J. McKane, University, Manchester (U.K.)

The development of random structures in systems far from equilibrium is governed by a fascinating interplay of determinism and chance. Over the last decade the advent of large-scale computer simulations has led to a huge increase of scientific activity in this area, which has emerged as a major subject of interdisciplinary research. The problems of interest originate in a broad range of disciplines, from mathematics through physics, chemistry and computer science to biology, but they possess two common features: first, they are modelled as systems of very large numbers of microscopic objects which evolve according to very simple dynamical rules of a local character, and second, in each case one is interested in the statistical properties of the system on a macroscopic scale.

This volume (NATO ASI SERIES B344) contains the proceedings of an ASI held in Cambridge, UK from 20 to 30 June 1994. Subjects covered in the lectures ranged from reactin-diffusion systems and hydrodynamics through to surface growth due to deposition. A common theme was that of scale invariance due to self-similarity of the underlying structures. The topics that were covered can be broadly classified as follows: pattern formation (theoretical, computational and experimental aspects), the non-equilibrium dynamics of the growth of interfaces and other manifolds, coarsening phenomena, generic scale invariance and the concept of self-organised criticality.

This book should serve as a source of up-to-date reviews of a number of topics as well as giving an overview of the progress that has been made in this area in the last few years. The contributors to the volume are all renowned experts in their field, as well as able communicators, and the result is a set of clear and authoritative articles. There are few accessible introductions to this subject, due largely to its rapid development and interdisciplinary nature. It is hoped that this book will help to fill the gap.
Reference books: B65, B116, B135, B237, B276, B280, B304, B324, B344, E121

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