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What are "Complex Systems" ?

Complex Systems is a term applied to natural or man-made processes where sophisticated - complex - behavior emerges from the interactions of many simple, independently acting agents. Examples in the natural world include sand dune formation from tiny windblown grains. An example of man made complex behavior is the action of independent traders moving the overall stock market up or down.

What is the Maslyn Simulator ?

The Maslyn Simulator is a computer framework for modeling complex systems and displaying the resulting emergent behavior. Rather than calculating precise numeric results, the program graphically displays emerging patterns resulting from the combination of many independent actions. Sand dunes composed of many individual particles form one grain at a time.

This is the Simulator

Please Note:

If the simulator doesn't display on your browser page you might not have the Java browser plug-in installed, or may be using an old version of the plug-in. To get the latest version go to:

After the plug-in is installed, press <CTRL> and <Refresh> keys at the same time to re-load the page.

Running the Simulator

On startup the Simulator loads the Sand Dune Simulation. On the left control panel are the slider controls that set the values of simulation variables:

  • Starting sand percentage - how much of the area is initially covered by sand grains
  • Wind velocity - force of the wind moving sand grains
  • Wind direction - predominant wind direction. For Star Dunes this value is one of the two directions, the other is 90o from this.
  • Wind direction variability - how much the wind can vary from the primary direction

There are three controls in the lower left hand corner of the simulator:

  • <SETUP> resets the simulation display to the slider values for the sand dune template.
  • <Select Template> dropdown allows the user to model 3 pre-defined types of sand dune forms or "None" to enter their own values
  • <GO> and <STOP> to start and stop the simulation.
 Click Here to Read A Published Abstract On the Simulator
Applet and page Copyright (c) 2002 - 2004 by Sawatch Software, Inc.
"Maslyn Simulator" is a trademark of Sawatch Software, Inc.
Last updated August 11, 2004