Issue No 7: November 2003
Special fund for SARS research
Q&A: The purpose of monitoring
Work on forensic DNA improves clarity of the probability factor
A closer look at meromorphic functions
Optimisation for production schedules
Reducing interference on mobile phones
Mathematical theory of fluids gives designers data on virtual models
Equation that can predict spots on a seashell
Research shows that filters for sound and images are correct
Short cut to finding best delivery route

A mathematical understanding of how spots and stripes occur on seashells, fish and elsewhere in nature has been the work of researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Prof Wei and the equation that can predict stripes and spots on seashells
Using a system based on the reaction of two types of bio-chemicals, activators and inhibitors, the researchers found they could predict patterns in nature to a high degree of accuracy. Principal Investigator, Prof Jun-cheng Wei, said they are also able to compute random, non-uniform patterns.
Premise of the research stems from the 1950s and an idea by founding father of computer science, Alan Turing.
He proposed that patterns in nature could be predicted based on the fact that activators diffuse much faster than inhibitors. The idea was only verified mathematically in the 90s
Said Prof Wei: “The research is important to our understanding of basic science. We are among world leaders in this field.”
In a follow-on project, Prof Wei is looking at pattern formation in polymers with findings having possible commercial uses in a variety of industries from aerospace to toys.

Principal Investigator
Prof Jun-cheng Wei: