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Diffusion Laboratories

Particle Diffusion

Pattern Formation

  Ben Jones (Beloit College), and
Douglas Green (St. Michael's College)
Screen Shots | System Requirements

Particle Diffusion is a software application which is intended to introduce students to the behavior of particles moving at random in a liquid, such as water. The software provides tools for manipulating particles which diffuse across a cell matrix, interacting with it using the Gierer-Meinhardt reaction-diffusion equations. The user has full control over the equation parameters and can also create sources, barriers, and sinks in the matrix.


Screen Shots

When you start the program, a window opens showing controls on the left and across the top, and a rectangle showing a grid and dots. The dots represent the particles which are diffusing.

Pattern Formation is software for simulating some of the theories that attempt to explain how regular patterns form in development of embryos. Pattern Formation provides the user with several tools for experimenting with the Gierer-Meinhardt reaction-diffusion equations from both experimental and theoretical points of view. It includes a "black box" mode for creating problems for investigation, several tools for manipulating the cell matrix and diffusion patterns, and a novel method for discovering sets of parameter values which are capable of generating patterns.


When you launch Pattern Formation, you will see a new simulation window. The large rectangle on the right represents a matrix of embryonic tissue during development. Each smaller rectangle represents a sector in the matrix, and has three boxes which display data about the sector. On the top left are six tools for editing the matrix. Below them is a clock (not yet functional). Below the clock is a control for changing the resolution of the data in the matrix. Across the top are controls for controlling the run of the simulation.

System Requirements

Macintosh or Power Macintosh

  • System 6.05 or later; System 7.1 or later for Power Macintosh.
  • 68030 processor or higher; Power Macintosh.
  • At least 4MB RAM; 8MB for Power Macintosh version.

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