Bacteria, Hopping Conduction, and First-Passage Percolation

Andrew Missel, Physics, UIUC

In this talk, I will discuss some ongoing theoretical and computational work on transport in disordered reaction-diffusion models. Such models have been used in the past to study a wide variety of systems, including plankton populations in the oceans and bacteria in Petri dishes under UV light. We are concerned with the case in which the growth rate is positive only in small areas called "oases" and negative everywhere else; in this case, transport is mediated through "hopping" events, and the theory of hopping conduction in doped semiconductors turns out to be a useful tool to analyze our model. In a certain limit, transport in our model looks much like a first-passage percolation problem, and I will briefly discuss this connection, as well.