Extended systems driven through strong disorder are modeled generically using coarse-grained degrees of freedom that interact elastically in the directions parallel to the drive and slip along at least one of the directions transverse to the motion. In the limit of infinite-range elastic and viscous coupling this model has a tricritical point separating a region where the depinning is continuous, in the universality class of elastic depinning, from a region where depinning is hysteretic. Many of the collective transport models discussed in the literature are special cases of the generic model.



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