Dominoes are fun to set up, and there’s something exciting about watching the first domino fall. But these little tiles aren’t just fun; they also have some impressive physical properties. In fact, a single domino can knock down things one-and-a-half times its size. That’s a lot of power for something small enough to fit in your hand!
A domino is a rectangular tile that is marked with an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The number of pips on each end of a domino can range from the most common variant, which has six pips, to zero or blank, depending on the rules of the game being played.
The earliest dominoes were made of ivory or bone, but modern sets are often made of wood (often mahogany), polymer or molded plastic. In some cases, dominoes are even made of precious stones like marble, granite and soapstone.
Most domino games have a scoring system that rewards players for completing sequences of play. Normally, a player scores by laying a domino end to end and touching the exposed ends of the previous domino with the exposed ends of their own domino. Each pair of ends must match (i.e., one’s touch two’s and 2’s touch 1’s). If the resulting total of pips on all exposed ends is a multiple of five, the player is awarded that number. A player wins a game when they reach a target score in a given number of rounds.
Lily Hevesh has been playing with dominoes since she was nine years old. Now 20 and a professional domino artist, she makes stunning displays for movies, TV shows, and events—including the recent album launch of pop singer Katy Perry. Hevesh says that one physical phenomenon is essential to her creations: gravity. As soon as she flicks the first domino, it starts to slide toward the ground, and that pull causes the rest of the line to tumble, launching a chain reaction that can last for several nail-biting minutes.
Dominoes can be used to create shapes of all kinds, and many people enjoy setting them up in a straight or curved line. Others are more creative, like this artist who glued together 1,500 dominoes to make a giant dragon.
For more serious uses, some companies use Domino to create and test their software. Domino stores a project’s code and data, tracks changes, and links these to results that are automatically generated by the program as it runs. This centralization allows developers to easily scale their applications and share them with stakeholders.
Another use of Domino is for data analysis and machine learning. Unlike traditional spreadsheets, which are difficult to edit and use only by highly skilled users, Domino allows anyone with a web browser to run and modify data models without the need for a developer. These tools help businesses speed up development cycles and deliver business intelligence more quickly and easily.