by Bryan Head for Portland State University
The sandpile model is an automaton played on an arbitrary graph that gives rise to remarkable dynamic and algebraic properties. Originally proposed by Bak, Tank, and Wiesenfeld at the Sante Fe Institute to demonstrate self-organized criticality, Dhar demonstrated that the so-called recurrent configurations of a generalization of their model has a group structure. The sandpile model has since become a vibrant area of research, bringing together complex systems studies with graph theory, group theory, combinatorics, and algebraic geometry. Until now, however, no software has been developed that simulates the sandpile model on arbitrary graphs. The aim of this project, then, is to create a research-grade software package to fill this void.