Billiards. There was a time when if you looked up billiards on the Internet you'd find instruction on how to play the game and the different variations of billiards that there are but today, that is no longer true. Today, if you look up the word billiards on a search engine you will find mostly, the following: Billiards and the chaos theory. You will be amazed at how many articles you will find on this science.
Chaos theory, in a nutshell, is the study of unpredictable and complex dynamic systems that are highly sensitive to small changes in external conditions, at least according to Webster's definition. So what exactly does that mean and what does it have to do with billiards? Chaos theory as it applies to billiards is basically the theory, and this is simplified of course, that when you strike the cue ball with the cue stick and it gets sent hurtling towards the rack of balls, once it hits those balls they will react in a random pattern rather than is a predictable one. There is something, of course, to be said for chaos theory as it applies to billiards. If you've played the game and are any good at it you are sure to notice that you can hit the first ball in the rack in the same place with the same force and yet it seems that each time you do so the balls in the rack react in a different way.
Strong supporters of the angle of reflection equals angle of incidence theory will of course argue this, saying that we never can really hit the lead ball in the same place with the same force more than once because we are human and fallible. This argument is likely to go on for a long time. The point however is you would be amazed at the number of articles about billiards and chaos theory. The other main thing you will find when doing a search on billiards is billiards simulations.
not just with actual games but web sites with vector designs and square shapes with coordinates that you can plug in and visually see the path of the billiard ball after it is struck by the cue stick. For those of you who are mathematically adept you can change a number of the factors in these simulations such as the number of sides on the table itself. You can have as few as 3, as in a triangle, and in some programs as many as 10 sides for your billiards table. Of course you can also plug in your standard 4 sided table. Other variables you can change are x and y coordinate values, x and y vector values, the speed of the ball and the number of iterations, meaning how many times the ball will bounce around the table until you wish it to stop. Then of course there are the actual billiard simulation games themselves which are very realistic these days.
As to what theory they are programmed from, that is anybody's guess. Yes, looking up billiards on the Internet will find you some strange stuff. Want to actually learn about the game and how to play it? Just type in "billiards instruction" and ignore the results that somehow creep their way in from the other categories. .
By: Michael Russell