The Hidden Mathematical Patterns Behind Seemingly Random Events

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In the 1990s, Harold Widom and Craig Tracy discovered that many seemingly random events, like crystal formation and bacterial growth in a petri dish, were not entirely random after all. The sets of numbers in the matrices of these random events, or eigenvalues, all showed a similar pattern. Dubbed the Tracy-Widom distribution after its discoverers, the pattern resembles the change in the largest eigenvalue of random events, making them rather predictable. “It turns out that complex systems consisting of interacting random events actually behave in statistically predictable ways.” Read full article here

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