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Finding Hidden Order with your Cell Phone

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“We introduce a simple idea enabling the quantification of organization in non-equilibrium and equilibrium systems, even when the form of order is unknown. The length of a losslessly compressed data file is a direct measure of its information content. Just compare the size of a picture file before and after you push the “compress” key on your cell phone or computer. We use lossless data compression to study several equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium systems, artificial colloidal swimmers, bacteria, and other active particles, to explore ordering, dynamical phase transitions, and critical behavior.”

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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