**Mobile Compatible** • Note that this page includes some very useful *Flash* apps (which won't run on Apple systems).

Lorenz Attractor

Brownian motion

3-Body Problem

Double Pendulum

Randomly Oscillating Magnetic Pendulum

Logistic Map/Bifurcation Diagram

The Game of Life

Complex Adaptive Systems

Afghan Stability

Longer videos on Complexity

See also these links to information on fractals

**Lorenz Attractor/"strange attractor"**

The "Butterfly Effect," or more technically, "sensitive dependence on initial conditions," is the essence of chaos. Clicking on the image above will take you to a *Java* applet at CalTech that will let you change the parameters of the system.

**Another view:**

[*If you can't see a *Flash* application above (Thank you, *Apple* jerks), try reloading the page. If that doesn't work, click this link to see an inadequate HTML5 version. And/or watch this video capture.]

And there's a more modern demonstrator at https://highfellow.github.io/lorenz-attractor/attractor.html.

**Einstein's Explanation of Brownian Motion**

This animation demonstrates Brownian motion. Brownian motion is an old concept and does not really have anything to do with Chaos or Complexity *per se*—it really *is* random movement, though it can often look quite like it has some purpose or direction. The big particle can be considered as a dust particle while the smaller particles can be considered as molecules of a gas. On the left is the view one would see through a microscope. To the right is the physical explanation for the "random walk" of the dust particle. This is an animated gif made for computers unable to run* Java*. The original applet, credits, and a lecture on Brownian Motion can be found at *http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/109N/more_stuff/Applets/brownian/brownian.html*. **NOTE:** To see the *Java* applet, you'll need to have the *Java* plug-in working on your web-browser.

**The Three-Body Problem in Newtonian Physics**

[*If you can't see a *Flash* application here (Thank you, *Apple* jerks), try reloading the page. If that doesn't work, click this link to see an HTML5 version. That one, unfortunately, doesn't work very well.] Or try the original site.

This *FLASH* animation is from "Flash Animations for Physics," by David M. Harrison, Department of Physics, University of Toronto. This is not a pre-drawn cartoon: Newton's equations are actually embedded in the *Flash*, which simply takes your settings and plots the mathematical output in graphic form. If you check the button for addional independent planets, you should nderstand that these are not really 'additional' planets—they are identical and don't exert any gravitational influence on one another. So what they really represent is the __same__ planet in four slightly different starting positions. The differing trajectories they follow illustrate, once again, the "Butterfly Effect": very small differences in input can have very large effects on output.

Different settings may reveal this effect in different ways and at different speeds. The default setting is pretty cool. Another setting that makes the larger point reasonably quickly:

Sun 1: 1.38

Sun 2: x initial = 0.4

Check button for
4 independent Planets

Click the image above to go to a *Flash* animation of a **double pendulum**, an extremely simple system (there are only two points of freedom) that demonstrates deterministic chaos. Focus on the behavior of the red dot. This is an excellent way to demonstrate how complex behavior—even seemingly random behavior—can be created by very simple rules and systems. (Click this link for a *Flash* version.)

Double pendulum | Chaos | Butterfly effect | Computer simulation

This computer simulation shows how data generated by the pendulum can appear like totally random movement once you hide the mechanism itself. This illustrates the following quotation: "Don't tell me 'There's no right explanation.' There __is__ a right explanation—we just don't know what it is." (Christopher Bassford)

Here's a very nice (and *heavy*) working double pendulum from Executive Model Design.

Click the image above to go to a video of a live demonstration of a ** dual double pendulum**. The double pendulum itself is an extremely simple system (there are only two points of freedom) that demonstrates deterministic chaos. The dual version (in which two double pendulums are suspended on the same axle) hows how dramatically the system's behavior can differ based on tiny differences in input (i.e., its sensitivity to initial conditions). (Here's a

Here is a link to an interactive *Java* applet on the double pendulum from the Virtual Physics Laboratory at Northwestern University.

**Randomly Oscillating Magnetic Pendulum**

(The image used in the Clausewitzian Trinity discussed in *On War*.)

The "**Trinity**"
is a key concept in Clausewitzian theory, which Clausewitz illustrated
by referring to this scientific device. You can obtain the ROMP (Randomly
Oscillating Magnetic Pendulum) from science toy stores for about $30. This model is available from **Amazon.com ****(USA)**.

**Logistic Map/Bifurcation Diagram**

[*If you can't see a *Flash* application here (Thank you, *Apple* jerks), try reloading the page. If that doesn't work, click this link to see an HTML5 version. That one, unfortunately, doesn't do much—it shows you only the very bottom example..]

This FLASH animation is from "Flash Animations for Physics," by David M. Harrison, Department of Physics, University of Toronto.

**The Game of Life**

Invented in 1970 by John Horton Conway, Professor of Finite Mathematics at Princeton University. [This is discussed in Waldrop, *Complexity*--check the index for references. See also Daniel C. Dennett, *Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and The Meanings of Life* (New York: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition, 1996), pp.166-176.] This simple mathematical exercise led investigators to a great many other ideas, but it also led directly to the entire field of "Artificial Life."

The Game of Life provides examples of "emergent complexity" and "self-organizing systems." It has a simple rule-set: "For each cell in the grid, count how many of its eight neighbors are **ON** at the present instant. If the answer is exactly two, the cell stays in its present state (**ON** or **OFF**) in the next instant. If the answer is precisely three, the cell is **ON** in the next instant whatever its current state. Under all other conditions, the cell is **OFF**." These basic rules were surprisingly hard to discover and seem to be unalterable or inevitable--that is, any *other* rules produce very uninteresting results: the system rapidly either freezes up solid or evaporates into nothingness. (Evidently, back in 1970 this game was more addictive to scientists than "Pong" was.)

Given this very simple rule (the *only* rule in the model universe we have created), the game demonstrates a surprising amount of complexity, depending on initial conditions. Click on these two screenshots from a computer-driven version of the game to see the very different system behaviors driven purely by the initial configuration of ON cells—um... What do we call that effect? (These are *Flash* videos. If *Flash* isn't working on your computer, try the *.avi* links.)

Same videos, other formats, below.

Click image for a *Flash* version (*or click here for .here for .avi*) Click image for a *Flash* version (*or click **here for .avi*)

Play the game yourself. Various Game of Life applications can be downloaded free from *http://www.ibiblio.org/lifepatterns/*. You'll have to install it on your __own__ computer, of course.

See also *http://www.math.com/students/wonders/life/life.html*.

**A Complex Adaptive System (CAS)**

Although it may look like a street in India, this is actually the Westphalian state system. (Click this link for a *Flash* version).

**Another complex adaptive system at work?**

[*If you can't see a *Flash* application here (Thank you, *Apple* jerks), try reloading the page. If that doesn't work, click this link to see an HTML5 version. That one seems to work OK.]

Originally downloaded from: *http://www.nmm.ac.uk/searchbin/searchs.pl?flashy=et1740z&flash=true*.

See also: *http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/animations/trafalgar/index_embed.shtml *

**Eric Berlow: "How Complexity Leads to Simplicity"
**TED Global, 2010. Filmed July 2010. Posted on TED November 2010.

Original Url

Click the image below for a larger, reasonably high-resolution version of the Afghanistan graphic to which speaker Eric Berlow refers.

**LONGER VIDEOS**

(on Complexity broadly speaking, including the narrower field of Chaos)

**James Gleick** discussing his famous book *Chaos: Making a New Science* (New York: Penguin, 1987). Get the 20th anniversary edition (New York: Penguin, 2008), ISBN 9780143113454.

**NOVA:** "Hunting the Hidden Dimension."** **One-hour video on fractals, divided
into five chapters. This documentary highlights a host of filmmakers,
fashion designers, physicians, and other researchers who are using fractal
geometry to innovate and inspire. Also lots of textual
material. Original PBS Broadcast Date: October 28, 2008.

**The Secret Life of Chaos (BBC 2010).** Full Length Documentary. This video appears never to have been published by the BBC on DVD, but can be seen via the link above. You can find a great deal of video and information on it at *http://atheistmovies.blogspot.com/2010/01/bbc-secret-life-of-chaos.html*. There is a low-bandwidth version of the video here.

**CHAOS: A MATHEMATICAL ADVENTURE**

This is a film about dynamical systems, the butterfly effect and chaos theory, intended for a wide audience. From Jos Leys, Étienne Ghys and Aurélien Alvarez, comes CHAOS, a math movie with nine 13-minute chapters. Available in a large choice of languages and subtitles. http://www.chaos-math.org/en/film. Great graphics and animations; the pace is oddly slow.