From the Washington University web site:
While working on their model — a network of interconnected pendulums, or “oscillators” — the researchers noticed that when driven by ordered forces the various pendulums behaved chaotically and swung out of sync like a group of intoxicated synchronized swimmers. This was unexpected — shouldn’t synchronized forces yield synchronized pendulums?
But then came the real surprise: When they introduced disorder — forces were applied at random to each oscillator — the system became ordered and synchronized.
(via Occult Design).