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Spatially localized structures arise frequently in driven dissipative systems. In this talk I will describe a number of examples from different physical systems, followed by a discussion of the basic ideas behind the phenomenon of nonlinear self-localization that is responsible for their existence. I will illustrate these ideas using a simple phenomenological model and explain why the qualitative predictions of this model help us understand the properties of much more complicated systems exhibiting spatial localization, including those arising in fluid mechanics.
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