Les piles de sable Kadanoff

Abstract : Sandpile models are a subclass of Cellular Automata. Bak et al. introduced them in 1987 for they exemplify the intuitive notion of Self-Organized Criticality.The Kadanoff sandpile model is a non-linear discrete dynamical system illustrating the evolution of cubic sand grains from nicely packed columns to nicely packed columns. For a fixed parameter p, a rule is applied until reaching a stable configuration, called a fixed point : if the height difference between two consecutive columns is strictly greater than p, then p grains fall from the left column, one landing on each of the p adjacent columns on the right.From a simple local rule, to describe and understand the macroscopic behavior of sandpiles is very quickly challenging. The difficulty consists in the simultaneous study of continuous and discrete aspects of the system: on a large scale, a sandpile flows like a liquid; but on a small scale, when we want to describe exactly the shape of a fixed point, the effects of the discrete dynamic must be taken into account. If for example we add a single grain on a stabilized sandpile, it triggers an avalanche that roughly changes only the upper layer of the configuration, but which size is hard to predict because it is sensitive to the tiniest change of the configuration.In analogy with an hourglass, we are particularly interested in the sequence of fixed points reached after adding a finite number of grains on one position, with the aim of explaining the emergence of surprisingly regular patterns.After conjecturing the emergence of wave patterns on fixed points, we firstly consider an inductive procedure for computing fixed points. Each step of the induction corresponds to the computation of an avalanche triggered by the addition of a new grain, for which we propose a simple description. This study is carried on with the definition of the trace of avalanches on a column i, which catches in a word among a finite alphabet enough information in order to reconstruct the fixed point on the right of index i. Links between traces on successive columns are then investigated, links allowing to conclude the emergence of regular traces, whose fixed point's reconstruction involves the appearance and maintain of the wave patterns observed. This first approach is conclusive for the smallest conjectured parameter so far, p=2.The study of the general case goes through the design of a new system meddling in different representations of fixed points, which will be analyzed via an association of arguments of linear algebra and combinatorics (respectively corresponding to the continuous and discrete modalities of sandpiles). This result stating the emergence of regularities in a discrete dynamical system put new technics into light, for which the comprehension of a particular point in the proof remains to be increased. This motivates the consideration of a more general frame of work tackling the notion of emergence.
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Kévin Perrot. Les piles de sable Kadanoff. Autre [cs.OH]. Ecole normale supérieure de lyon - ENS LYON, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013ENSL0818⟩. ⟨tel-00856838⟩

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