Table of contents
Author: Géza Ódor
What are universality classes and why is it important to study them?Universality classes occur very frequently in complex system exhibiting many degrees of freedom (see pps presentation). There are many problems like economical crisis, human segregation, extinction of populations or climate change, ... etc. where the theory of nonequilibrium systems could help in solving these problems. When the correlations diverge, for example near a critical point, when fluctuations dominate (like in case of an financial/economic collapse or a changing climate) the microscopic details (interactions) become irrelevant. In such situations scaling behavior with universal exponents and scaling functions appear. In equilibrium these classes are determined by the spatial dimensions, symmetries and conservations laws. In the more frequent, nonequilibrium system these factors are poorly understood. For exploring and predicting the scaling behavior of critical system we must understand the most fundamental models. These are usually simple system of particles which can diffuse and react on contact. Other nonequilibrium system (like surface growth or spin models) can be mapped onto them.
You can help by simply running a piece of software.Universality@home is a distributed computing project -- people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals. Universality@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.
What have we done so far?We have had several successes. You can read about them on our introductory page.
Want to learn more?For more information follow this link or read this article.