Confirming and extending the hypothesis of universality in sandpiles

Juan A. Bonachela, Miguel A. Muñoz

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Stochastic sandpiles self-organize to an absorbing-state critical point with scaling behavior different from directed percolation (DP) and characterized by the presence of an additional conservation law. This is usually called the C-DP or Manna universality class. There remains, however, an exception to this universality principle: a sandpile automaton introduced by Maslov and Zhang, which was claimed to be in the DP class despite the existence of a conservation law. We show, by means of careful numerical simulations as well as by constructing and analyzing a field theory, that (contrarily to what was previously thought) this sandpile is also in the C-DP or Manna class. This confirms the hypothesis of universality for stochastic sandpiles and gives rise to a fully coherent picture of self-organized criticality in systems with conservation. In passing, we obtain a number of results for the C-DP class and introduce a strategy to easily discriminate between DP and C-DP scaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041102
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • stochastic sandpiles
  • scaling behavior
  • sandpile automaton


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