Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Alison Ord

Educational Computational X

Class of 2019


Alison received a BSc in geology from the University of Edinburgh in 1977 and a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1981. Since then she has been a researcher at Monash University, at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia, and most recently at the University of Western Australia. Alison’s research is in structural geology, the mechanics of hydrothermal systems, computer modeling of coupled deforming systems with heat and fluid transport and the thermodynamics of chaotic systems. Her interests are in applying the tools developed for nonlinear dynamical systems, particularly multifractal analysis and recurrence plots, to large datasets on alteration assemblages, deformation and mineralization in mineralizing systems in order to quantify and fingerprint various classes of hydrothermal mineralizing systems. Her goal is to develop a new paradigm for mineral exploration based on nonlinear dynamics. She also likes cycling, gardening, cooking, Bach, jazz, and enjoying life.

Computational Essay: Nonlinear analysis of a fold

Project: Rocks, Patterns, Dynamics, Prediction


The aim is to develop and apply the tools of nonlinear dynamics to measuring rocks, to measuring the structural architectures that result from geological processes interacting and developing in a coupled environment. Folding of layered rocks causes a change in geological structure that can lead to a fundamental modification of the mechanical and hydraulic properties of the rock mass across several orders of magnitude in length. The understanding of how, why and on which scale folding occurs therefore has fundamental implications for problems in geology and engineering, including prediction of mineralized systems.

Summary of Results

Analysis of data through use of tools of spatial attractors, wavelet transforms, recurrence plots and recurrence quantification analysis is now achieved in one notebook in the Wolfram Language.

Future Work

Singularity spectra, cross- and joint-recurrence plots, and discovery of physics from data remain to be included in the future. This is all groundwork for computational essays discussing geological processes and hydrothermal mineralizing systems.

Wolfram Summer School | Champaign, IL, USA | July 3 29–July 22, 2022