Sunday, 5 July 2009

Interference in Systems of Topological Self-Organisation

Particle systems are used among other things for the algorithmic dynamic simulation and reproduction of certain complex physical systems that represent phenomena like rain, water movement, explosions, etc. The seemingly complex and homogeneous behaviour of such systems at a macroscopic level emerges from the cooperation and interaction of their constituent parts, which are subjected to a set of some simple programmatic rules.

The presented applications are attempts that implement cases of particle-spring systems. The systems are composed of particles (nodes) interconnected with virtual springs that exert forces of attraction and repulsion to the particles they connect, as they tend to return to their ideal length when deformed. In both applications, the same rules of physics are adopted, but different cases of topological connectivity patterns are experimentally examined. In one case (app.01), a network that corresponds to a complete graph (every node connected to every other) is used and the springs exert both attractive and repulsive forces. In the other case (app.02), springs exert only repulsive forces and their connectivity pattern is being constantly redefined, as connections are established according to a node proximity constrain (when two nodes overlap) and being destroyed when the constrain is not violated. The latter case is essentially a system of freely moving and colliding disks within a confining boundary.

The particle system operates under a “bottom-up” scheme and emerges from the subjection of its constituent parts to certain rules of physics. It is gradually led to an equilibrium, where the internally developed forces tend to be neutralized. Its overall structure exhibits traits of self-organisation that depend upon the topological relationship of their parts. Both applications are meant to encourage user interaction. The user acts as an external agent and applies manipulations that form a “top-down” interference towards the system. The closed loop of the user-system interaction in the form of a game determines the dynamically generated visual result.

application 01 [download]

application 02

Tassos Kanellos is trained as an architect and holds a postgraduate degree in computation. His field of research includes parametric design and physical dynamic simulation. In this context, he has developed the presented applications in the Processing programming language.

“Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

Processing is an open project initiated by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. It evolved from ideas explored in the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab. The project is currently improved and maintained by a small team of volunteers.”


Ben Fry

OSA architects

1 comment:

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