“Pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner”. All Intelligent life have the ability to understand patterns to a certain degree. From an animal taking the same path when migrating to a stockbroker observing the market, there is always a pattern. For humans, the ability to see the order in the chaos, has led to growth in technology and civilisation. Patterns can be ascertained from nature or through science, with most of the discoveries being a combination of both.

One of the most famous patterns in history is the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers that starts with a 1 or a 0, it is then followed by a 1, and proceeds based on the rule that each number is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers.  Fibonacci numbers are of interest to biologists and physicists because they are frequently observed in various natural objects and phenomena, such as the nautilus shell. Fibonacci used breeding rabbits to record and understand the pattern of the natural sequence. Branching patterns in trees and leaves and the distribution of seeds in a raspberry are based on Fibonacci numbers. The Fibonacci sequence is related to the golden ratio, a proportion (roughly 1:1.6) that occurs frequently throughout the natural world and is applied across many areas. Both the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio are used to guide design for architecture, websites and user interfaces, among other things.

Pattern can be found in nature, but also in maths and science. During World War II, Allan Turing, considered the father of modern computer science, helped break and find the pattern in the Nazi Enigma code machine. The enigma machine had a possible 150 000 000 000 000 combinations, which no human could solve.   Turing played a key role in developing a machine known as the Bombe, which could be described as the one of the first operational computers. This device helped to significantly reduce the work of the code-breakers. Allan and his team had to find a pattern in the jumble of thousands of coded messages. They manage to find a pattern which could be used to help decipher the code. They found that every day the German forces sent out a weather report, so an intercepted coded message would certainly contain the German word for ‘weather’. They also knew that most messages would contain the phrase ‘heil Hitler’ at the end. By finding these patterns, Allan’s team was able to help break the enigma code and save millions of lives. 

Many businesses also use patterns to help maximises growth and profits by using their customer data. One example is viewing predictive models. Predictive models can be used to compare the pre-purchase behaviour of prospective buyers to the pre-purchase behaviour of previous customers who ended up buying, and comparing which products they spent the most time looking at. Customers that behave most like the previous buyers can be tagged as a high potential client. Using this data, businesses can then alter the way certain products interacts with these prospects to increase the likelihood of closing the sale. The business can then prioritise investment such as marketing or discounts for each prospective customer for that particular product. By finding the pattern in customer buying data, not only does it save the company money but also increases sales.

How patterns are viewed can related to many different aspects such as nature, data, algorithms etc. The difficulty comes in finding the patterns in the vast array of disorder and data. With modern BI software, data can be automatically analysed and decrypted to display these patterns. One such software is iOM Analytics, which can sift through a company’s data and display it in patterns both visually and numerically. Using these results, companies can have increased growth and understanding of their market.