LaTEX ﬁlename: Algebraic.tex (Paper: 1.2 ) 12:08p.m. October 20, 1993
Algebraic Propertiesof Cellular Automata
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Cellular automataarediscretedynamicalsystems,ofsimpleconstructionbutcomplexand varied behaviour. Algebraic techniques are used to give an extensive analysis of the global properties of a class of ﬁnite cellular automata. The complete structureof state transition diagrams is derived in terms of algebraic and number theoreticalquantities. The systems are usually irreversible, and are found to evolve throughtransients to attractors consisting of cycles sometimes containing a large number of conﬁgurations.
In the simplest case, a cellular automaton consists of a line of sites with each sitecarrying a value 0 or 1. The site values evolve synchronously in discrete timesteps according to the values of their nearest neighbours. For example, the rule forevolution could take the value of a site at a particular time step to be the sum modulotwo of the values of its two nearest neighbours on the previous time step. Figure 1showsthepatternofnonzerositesgeneratedbyevolutionwiththisrule fromaninitialstate containing a single nonzero site. The pattern is found to be self-similar, and ischaracterized by a fractal dimension log
3. Even with an initial state consisting of arandom sequence of 0 and 1 sites (say each with probability
), the evolution of sucha cellular automaton leads to correlations between separatedsites and theappearanceof structure. This behaviour contradicts the second law of thermodynamics forsystems with reversible dynamics, and is made possible by the irreversible nature
Coauthored with Olivier Martin and Andrew M. Odlyzko. Originally published in
Communications in MathematicalPhysics
, volume 93, pages 219–258 (March 1984).