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Vauquelin 75005 Paris, France December 8, 1993 Abstract This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list is updated regularly. Please send corrections, additions, and comments to <hag@santafe.edu>

That is. time.. k=states per site. Both the domain and range of f are finite. can have any one of a finite number of states. Space.The base space S Z is compact and the global function F is continuous. A d-dimensional cellular automaton takes as its underlying space the lattice S Z (Z=integers.r=1 would take a doubly infinite string of zeroes and ones to a new string at which each site is replaced by the logical and of its two neighbors (Wolfram's elementary rule 90)..The map F commutes with the shift operator which takes ci to ci +1 . Here is one mathematician's view of the relevant definitions: Conventions d=dimension. is that this function is determined by a finite lookup table. . The global function F arises from f by defining: F (c)i = f (ci − r . r=radius (all explained below). The dynamics are determined by a global function F: S Z → S Z whose dynamics are determined “locally” as defined below. A “local (or neighborhood) function” f is defined on a finite region (1) f : S 2 r +1 → S (2) The all-important property of cellular automata. infinite in both positive and negative directions) where S is a finite set of k elements. The states of the cells in the lattice are updated according to a local rule..1 What are Cellular Automata (CA)? Here is one physicist's view of the relevant definitions: A cellular automaton is a discrete dynamical system. since they are discretely defined but exhibit continuous dynamics. assume d=1 for the moment. To insert an editorial comment. Thus the state of the entire lattice advances in discrete time steps. For simplicity. the state of a cell at a given time depends only on its own state one time step previously. and the states of the system are discrete. Each point in a regular spatial lattice. ci + r ) (3) A concrete example with k=2. and the states of its nearby neighbors at the previous time step. All cells on the lattice are updated synchronously. called a cell. this makes CA an ideal meeting point between continuous dynamics and complexity theory. 2. Some relevant facts from a topological standpoint are: 1..

2. That is. Generally these do not compile as efficiently as a full matrix method. The transition todmore dimensions is straightforward. Then use nabecode as an index into a lookup table. you repeatedly compute a cell's nabecode. 3. computation is performed through the reconfiguration (at a very low level) of the hardware. . Thus NewC = lookup[nabecode]. to just compute in the vicinity of occupied cells.2 What hardware implementations exist for CA? The "trick" of the CAM-6 was to encode the rules as a lookup table accessed by an "address" formed of the states of the neighborhood. If the rule set is known to lead to sparse configurations. This means that your inner loop for flywheeling the nabecode must be as efficient as possible. then convert when the cross-over density is reached.1 How can I make CA simulations run fast? I can think of four main tricks for making a CA program run fast. then one can use sparse matrix tricks. as Walker and I did in CA LAB. one could include both a sparse and full matrix method in the same program. which really adds up when done 300K times.Pointer swap. You precompute the lookup values for all possible nabecodes before running the CA. Just swap the pointers to world and new world. 1. e. There was also a "rule compiler" that built the transition table and other computations from a special programming language. Generally a cell takes on a NewC value which is computed on the basis of info in the cell's neighborhood. You might also want to look at [HTA92 ] which describes a 3D automata engine.g. Life Game with a small initial pattern. Lookups can be saved. you need two buffers. one bit states of cell plus eight neighboors is a 512 possible results. To run a CA. a lot of the info in the next cell's nabecode is the same as in the old cell's nabecode. you can shave off a few clocks here and there. If you can write this in assembly language. don't copy the updated world onto the current world. That means you are going to assemble nabecodes and lookup the NewC values about 300K times per screen.Lookup table. one for the current world of cells. then compute the nabecode of the next cell over.Assembly language. However. In stepping through the cells of the CA. because there is more indirect address and branches.The flywheel. Because the neighborhoods overlap. A 2D VGA CA is going to have about 300K cells. The only difference is that the global function F d is defined over S Z (functions from a d-dimensional lattice to S) and the local function f is determined by enumerating the image of all patches of size2 r + 1 . and keep an eye on the listed “clocks” per instruction. and one for the updated world of cells. Try to arrange nabecode so that you can left shift out the old info and OR in the new info. d 2 CA Simulators. 2. 2. After the update. Try to find a way to pack the neighborhood info bitwise into a nabecode number. 4.In fact cellular automata are characterized completely by properties 1) and 2) (Hedlund). and so on. For example.

The full article (with words) will be published in my column “Simulating Experiences: Excursions in Programming" in “Mathematica in Education. if I want to run a 1024x1024 array. Each processor updates its local array. In fact. E. but the rules are fairly simple and it may well be elsewhere too. I typically partition the 2-D array into a set of “stripes". because you have really wide rows to loop over. I had grand visions of turning the whole campus into a monster CA simulation environment. Imagine the processors are connected as a ring. CM-Fortran or C on the Connection Machine). there's no need to stay on Suns only { you could have some other machines in there as well. on a 128-node machine. If you are not using data parallel software. and doing a little bit of redundant computation. I give each processor a 128x8 patch of cells (plus one extra row of boundary condition at the top and bottom. but instead are using message-passing. Especially if you have data parallel software (e. 3 Applications 3. and doing 2 sends and 2 receives (hopefully pretty quick). mudslides. for a cellular automaton simulation of earthquakes. instead of a bunch of short rows. I implemented a CA simulation using a network of Sun workstations using the above layout. It's in the CA Lab (Rudy Rucker's PC-based CA package). in Mathematica. and then exchanges its top and bottom row with its neighbors. . 2. I got access to a CM-2 and forgot about the Suns. so actually 128x10 with some redundancy). CA are pretty trivial on massively parallel computers. so it's easy to send to its neighbor.3 Are there simulators for self-criticality? I have written a program. If you have a high overhead for sending. and then have each cell fetch its neighbors and do a table-lookup or computation. a CA that simulates 'electron streams' is probably an easier starting point than Conway's Life that exhibits the same level of computational complexity. but shortly after that. Using 16 Suns. avalanches and other `'self-critical” phenomena. then you just create a virtual processor for each cell. and BSD sockets. I think I had CA code running about 10-12 times faster than a single Sun. just on a more manageable scale. This was a few years ago on Sun 3/50's at RPI." you'd have more data to exchange with more neighbors). It also makes your inner loops more efficient. as long as they can do socket communication to exchange data with the neighbors.g. you may want to consider having 2 boundary-rows. so that you only do communication every other step. Partitioning the array into stripes minimizes the “surface area" of the cell patches. So you alternate between a step of computation where you loop over your patch of cells (lots of work if you have a big patch). :-) Actually. and so minimizes the communication you have to do (if you partitioned it as a “checkerboard. you don't need any more connectivity than that (although it's good to have some nice way to dump data out to disk or a machine for analysis).2.4 What about running CA's on parallel or distributed machines? Yes.1 What computations can CA do? If you just want a CA that does !gates then 'Wireworld'." an outstanding (and inexpensive) newsletter. it is still pretty simple.g. It also makes each boundary a contiguous block of memory.

One example. By hooking up a sequence of AND. Thus. 3. one can compute any function that can be expressed by these logical operations (a great many functions indeed). a glider in the input stream annihilates the corresponding glider coming from the glider gun. However. For every 0 in the input byte. However. and it is not as well argued as I'd like. and so forth. When this stream is collided into the regular stream of gliders coming out of a glider gun. one obtains A OR B as the continuation of the second glider gun output downstream of the collision. and NOT gates. is straightforward. leave a glider. Thus. and NOT gates built in this way. one gets A AND B in the continuation of the input stream B after the collision site. encode the byte you want to compute the logical NOT of in the following way: For every 0 in the input byte. remove a glider from the input stream. involving many gates. Thus.Hogeweg and others. one could arrange the same computational primitives into a device that computes only a specific function.3. observe what happens. This leads to more complication. time the arrival of gliders in the input stream so that they collide with gliders in the output of the glider gun and annihilate each other. Then. It is not intended to be thorough. out of which one then goes on to engineer a general purpose computer. And not a universal computer in sight! By colliding this output stream (call it NOT A if the input steam is A) with another input stream. colliding glider streams form the basic AND. the filtered output of the glidergun is the logical NOT of the encoded input stream. one needs to cross glider streams.3 Can CA be used to model ecological systems? Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of articles that deal with cellular automata (CA) and ecological modeling. B. there is a glider (a 1) for every "hole" in the input stream (a 0) and there is a hole (a 0) for every glider (1) in the input stream. have claimed that the simultaneous updating of all cells is at odds with the localness of interaction that is one of the strengths of CA. the basic idea is as sketched out above. OR. What follows are some quick thoughts on where the major difficulties with CA and ecological models lie. whereas for every 1 in the input byte. computing the logical NOT of a byte. For complex functions. the missing glider in the input stream allows a glider from the glider gun to pass. There are also several questions on how various aspects of CA affect their usefulness in ecological models. the input byte 10110010 will be represented by the glider stream: glider noglider glider glider noglider noglider glider noglider where the "nogliders" are spots where gliders in a regular periodic stream of gliders have been removed. If one collides the downstream portion of the NOT A stream from this latter gate with the output of another glider gun. The major question that needs to be addressed is that of CA's synchronicity. OR. P. At the end is a list of interesting references in the area. It has been shown that changing the definition of a CA to allow for asynchronous updating of cells can dramatically alter the behavior of the CA .2 How do you do computations with the Game of Life? The constructive proof that the game of life is capable of supporting universal computation is built around colliding glider streams into one another. Arrange for a stream of gliders (the input stream) to collide with the output of a glider gun at right-angles in such a way that the gliders in the input stream occur with the same spacing as the gliders coming from the glider gun. one need not construct a general purpose computer. for every 1. Furthermore. looking at the output stream from the glider-gun DOWNSTREAM of the collision site. redirect glider streams.

Thus.4 The Universe as a Cellular Automata? There is a great collection of papers . Hillis. Landauer. in fact. Finally. On the other hand. we only need one spatial dimension. and copepods. perhaps. are there systems with inherent action-at-a-distance? Returning to the plankton model mentioned above. All in all. to assume that synchronous updating is reasonable in this situation. we have an effect that (rapidly) is felt at great distance. The ratio of the fastest sinking rate to the slowest is 200:1. i. diatoms. Parker) we have enough plankton that it is impractical to assume one plankton (or a few) per cell.they slow down. Consider a model of plankton in the Celtic Sea (I have. Also. Thus. I see no a priori reason. Fredkin. including many that view the universe as a CA. consider three typical organisms: cyanobacteria. Bennett. What needs to be addressed is whether or not there are ecological systems for which universal updating is not an unwarranted assumption. but not in the same way that they do in continuous space. There is a fascinating paper by Marvin Minsky entitled “Cellular Vacuum” in which he shows that a version of relativity holds in CA's as clocks (oscillators) approach the speed of light . an artifact of the synchronous updating.A. conditions are homogeneous. frequently the interesting structure seen in the evolution of a CA is. the temporal scale of diffusion for nutrients is smaller still). These are the proceedings of a conference on the Physics of Computation and Computational models of Physics. 4 Special Types of CA 4. and so forth. Is this incompatible with the CA methodology? 3. Another issue that needs to be investigated is the problems associated with multiple scales. Typically CA models are developed with the assumption that a cell is a physcial region of the right size for one (or.e. we also run into difficulties (again.In particular. this collection is a must for those interested in computational aspects of the physical universe or in the physics of computation. if we use this information to scale spatially or temporally. it suffices to limit ourselves to a water column. They contain some classic papers. Are these problems insurmountable? Is this even the best way to begin thinking about such a model? I don't have the answers. we can think of it as synchronous). For example. both spatial and temporal. I have not yet researched the characteristics of the species involved in their model. [SHJD92 ] develop a CA model of competition between grass species. flagellates. Now the relevant scales for the diffusion of plankton nutrients (such as nitrate) is even smaller. Authors include Toffoli. At typical concentrations (private communication with R. however. [Gre90] develops a CA model of the effects of fire and dispersal on spatial patterns in forests. which is why I bring it up). Feynman. we note that during chlorophyll maxima (blooms of plankton) it is not uncommon for the plankton near the surface to dramatically decrease the amount of light to plankton at depth due to shading. but it is not inconceivable to think that the dynamics of a set of annual plants may be modeled synchronously (perhaps the species all germinate at close enough times that on the scale of a year. If we assume that over a certain horizontal distance. a few) individuals. Wheeler.1 What are Lattice Gas Automata? .

1. There is still a form of the inertial term with HPP.4 What are Vants? The Vant rule. 4.2 Are there unphysical conservation laws with HPP? Yes. Thus.4. like a checkerboard. other than to remove the inertial term? I don't think it removes the inertial term. that resemble very closely autocatalytic chemical reactions. you can convince yourself that the dynamics on the white squares are completely independent of the dynamics on the black squares. y-momentum is conserved separately within each column. all conserved quantities (mass and momentum) are conserved “separately” on the two checkerboard sublattices.1. on the other hand. as do the possible states of the cells. HPP has several unphysical conservation laws. More seriously. is present but anisotropic. After an informal mathematical description of spatial automata. This problem would be present even at low Reynolds number. it does have another effect on the equation: The viscous term. If the ant is on a non-white square it turns the square red.1 Does the lack of symmetry in the HPP model have any obvious bad effect.3 What's the Hodge Rule? HODGE-C is a (`mostly ANSI') C language implementation of Gerhard & Schuster's hodge-podge machine. 4. rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise and moves one pixel in the direction it is pointing. yes. . If it is on a red square it turns the square white.2 What are continuous spatial CA? A continuous spatial automaton is analogous to a cellular automaton. 4.1. except that the cells form a continuum. rotates 90 degrees clockwise and moves one pixel in the direction it is pointing. like for example. describes the path of an ant who starts pointing in a certain direction.c. 5 Properties of CA. though it is not isotropic." and show how the automaton can be implemented using the basic operations of field computation. like the inertial term. And.3 What are the physical manifestations of anisotropy? Here is a physical manifestation of the problem of anisotropy: If you tried to do a Poiseuille flow simulation with HPP. if you color the sites white and black. by Chris Langton. the drag would be independent of this orientation. the Belousov-Zhabotinskii (BZ) reaction. 4. With FHP. First. you would find that the drag on the plates depended on the angle of orientation of the plates with respect to the underlying lattice.'s). and x-momentum is conserved separately within each row (assuming periodic b. It implements a class of cellular automata. we describe in detail a continuous analog of Conway's “Life. 4.

[not always the case for CA]. 5. the resulting CA is called “inhomogeneous".) But the point is that the CA model is decent because the conserved . This property is also true for simple PDE models of excitable media. For example. Those interested in cellular automata as such begin with the CA definition and work to discover the implications of these properties. and the dynamics of the model must be a good approximation of the dynamics in the real world. Indeed. Homogeneous rules . An early reference: [Ing84] They investigate Wolfram's CA rules using a probabilistic method for updating cells. the spiral fractures into a thousand jumbly pieces. Those interested in using CA as models in the natural sciences. An abstract of some of the discussion on this matters follows. homogeneous wiring template . conserved quantities and conserved properties of the system have vast consequences on its subsequent evolution. mayhem breaks loose. rather than. (In more complicated versions of both models. and a modeler must be careful in using either one." Greenberg-Hastings type models of reaction-diffusion systems do a decent job of arriving at the same qualitative spatial structure as the real phenomenon (e.varying degrees of random wiring. if the Greenberg-Hastings model is executed with asynchronous update.various degrees of rule mix. For some examples of CA models in the natural sciences which "work" see Ermentrout and Leah Edelstein-Keshet [EEK93 ] and the section on lattice-gas automata. say. In CA. in this case stable rotating spirals of activity. unfortunately.2 How important is Synchronicity in CA? Cellular automata are discrete. But the real issue is is not at all new -modelers must be explicit about what assumptions they make when designing their model. From the Abstract: ". However. Collective behavior seems to be stable to all sorts of perturbations of the model except giving up on synchronous updates. regular. Zhabotinsky reaction).g. in the Greenberg-Hastings model.1 What are “inhomogeneous” CA? When each cell has a different rule. on the other hand. Many of the unique features of cellular automaton dynamics can be traced to the synchronous update of cell-states. Both those interested in abstract properties of CA and those interested in applications find discreteness and regularity uncontroversial compared to synchronicity. some had "proved" (in the physicists sense of proof) that such behavior was impossible. and must be carefully analyzed. Kauffman's "random Boolean network" model allows different rules AND connections. with applications in theoretical biology.. this breaks down in some cases. Some of the rules give patterns. synchronous and asynchronous update schemes may lead to vastly different results. one stable spiral. some don't. This behavior is of major importance in the field of dynamical systems. a conserved quantity is that the winding number of every closed path remains unchanged over the course of the evolution.5. The paper by Huberman and Glance [HG93 ] supports the opinion that the organization of the subunits in a model must approximate the organization of the subunits in the system to be modeled.some of the apparent self-organization of (CA) is an artifact of the synchronization of the clocks. and synchronous. Thus. [Wue93] discusses intermediate architectures between CA and random Boolean networks. begin with a natural system in mind and work to discover how well the behavior of their system can be approximated by a CA model.. before this work appeared. An example of the importance of synchronicity in CA dynamics is the work of Chate and Manneville [CM91 ] on collective behavior in CA and coupled-map lattices.

The other N*M states represent the tape square where where the read/write head is located. may depend on the dynamical procedure. If I have N states in the above Automata it can be easily mapped to a binary automata with a neighbor hood of width 4*N+11 as follows: For now assume that there are only 4 state (to make the cases to be examined small) the each cell in the 4 state 1D automata will map to a row of 9 cells like so: state 10 cell pattern 0 110000011 1 110100011 2 110010011 3 110001011 These patterns will overlap 1 cel on each end so the turning tape .. A state at that position represents the tape has one of the allowed symbols and the machine is in a given state giving N*M possibilities. Now if you start with a Universial Turning machine you end with a Universal Automata.. this maps to a 1D (N+1)*M state 3 wide neighbor hood as follows: M of the states correspond to tape squares were thr turning machine read/write head is not located and are direct mapping of the turning machine's tape. w to go back to a Binary Automata. the asymptotic behavior of the network. and thus a radically different steady-state is seen in asynchronous simulations. .. First I work with more then 2 states and then with wide neighbor hoods.102.4 Is there is universal 1D CA? Biggar: Sure if you allow for more then 2 states and/or neighborhoods greater then 3 wide. Suppose that you have a N state M symbol Turning machine. the 111's in the pattern act as registration marks the other cells can determine which position they are in.3 Which computations can 1D CA perform? Ruff: I have set up a 1d2n22s CA which performs binary multiplication by 79 transition rules.. People implementing parallel machines are interested in synchronized systems. 5.. Defining the rules based on the original turning machine is obvious.. on which we focus our interest. We therefore look for asymptotic properties which are insensitive to the updating procedures 5. while others whose models depend on a sequential update rule will argue from the biological plausibility of asynchronousness. In the neural network community there is the same sort of concerns with regard to synchronicity of updates. Using a 27 cell neighborhood it is easy to define rules that correspond to the original 4 state automata. but such dependence is unwarranted because no particular procedure is a faithful representation of the activity in the biological network... A typical "biological plausibility" statement is found in Daniel Amit's book modeling brain function (p. single local applications of the CA rule may not preserve the conservation law.properties of its evolution are right. would be represented as: . Result of n*m digits is available after maximal n + m + 2 steps.111010001110000011100100111 . For G-H. Using a width 3 neighborhood then most cells are quiescent and don't change only the three cells with on of the M*N states in their neighborhood can change in a given time. 80): to reiterate.

b) = (a NAND a) NAND (b NAND b) another example is the NOR (negation of OR): NOT(a) = (a NOR a) OR(a.6. which is “negation of AND. 5. Most cells are in the state i. If the TM uses k symbols and n states. at least in principle. not only two basic gates are enough.1 with the sites outside of this square assumed 0 (this is what I would term a “finite” configuration. having one NAND should be enough for constructing all logical functions.1 Must one use all of the logical gates to perform computations in the Game of Life? The three logical gates AND. then you can make a 1d CA with k*(n + 1) states per cell.5.b) = (a NOR b) NOR (a NOR b) AND(a. The cell where the “head” resides is in the state i. One can ask: . one basic gate is also enough! for example. 5. gate NAND.6 What about running a CA backwards? 5.j for some i < k and 1 < j <= n.5 How to perform computations in the Game of Life? Using the interaction of glider streams. it is a universal computer. There is a 4 symbol 7 state Univ Turing machine described in “Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines” by Minsky. More compact coding are possible.b) = (a NOR a) NOR (b NOR b) The relevance to CA/Game of Life is that the requirement for having three logical gates in a CA rule so that it can do all computations can be (two) too much.b) = (a NAND b) NAND (a NAND b) OR(a.1 The General Case I will assume that a “configuration" comprises a N x N square of symbols 0." can lead to all three previously considered “basic" gates: NOT(a) = (a NAND a) AND(a. 5. the Game of Life can be programmed to perform computations. NOT are sufficient for all logical functions.0 for some i < k. but this one is wasly to explain and gives a automata that runs at the same speed as the original.The original set up of the 1D automata does not need the registration marks already in place out to infinity they can propogte themselves out automatically and keep ahead of the non-empty part of the tape with ease. but not necessary. Rucker: It is pretty simple to model a standard turing machine as a 1d CA. The update rule is for each cell to stay the same unless the cell is where the “head” is or is a cell that the “head” is about to move into. OR. Indeed.

5. It would be impressive to demonstrate such a technique.Is there a configuration which maps onto this configuration? 2. equivalent by (1)) orbit is trivial BUT for which not every configuration is trivial.:n. Wolfram's k and r). as Life is sufficiently complicated to be computationally universal. but informally I sometimes just say horizontally or vertically periodic. In two dimensions both questions are undecidable. 1) A CA has a non-trivial temporally periodic orbit if and only if it has a non-trivial spatially periodic orbit (one half of this proof is easy). if it has a predecessor at all. there must be one of length at most phi(N). The proofs of the above statements are not difficult. This example (OK I did not give an example I just stated it exists|in fact Kari.Is there a finite configuration which maps onto this configuration? In one-dimension there are much-explored algorithms which answer to both questions. will be called nilpotent. Culik and I have a specific example with 17 states) means that there can be dynamics missed entirely by the restriction to spatially periodic configurations no matter what the finite lattice size. consider the following state: .2. It has 2 neighbors (the cell itself and its right neighbor). Note that none of the above discussion means that the problem cannot be solved in the specific case of the game of Life. Fundamental to the algorithm is the existence of bounds based on the parameters of the CA rule (specifically the states per site and number of sites distant the rule takes into account. and relate to the undecidability of the tiling problem for Wang tiles. Here is an (I think) interesting result: Assume that a 1-d CA has a quiescent state.1. The first question is slightly more complicated. This means that the function phi while it still exists abstractly (there are still a finite number of rules with a given k and r). Based on these one finds a bound phi(N) (recaall N is the initial size of our finite neighborhood) for which if there is any finite predecessor. I will (informally) call a configuration “trivial” if it evolves to the all-quiescent state which I will assume is a fixed point.8 What is known about periodic orbits in CA? Hurd: In a recent paper I used the terms temporally and spatially periodic. To show that a finite configuration must have an (eventually) periodic predecessor. b) = 1 a + 1 if if if b <= a b = a +1 b > a +1 5. A CA for which ALL configurations are trivial.: :. The set of states is 1. PART II: The following proof is due to K. 2) There exists a cellular automaton for which EVERY periodic (spatially or temporally.7 What are some reversible rules? The following reversible cellular automaton has been presented by Jarkko Kari. grows faster than any recursive function. Culik. but the procedure is similar. The local transition rule f: a f (a .

c =... 2R+1). 5....9 What are Subshifts of Finite Type/Sophic Systems? Historically the study of SFT's got a lot of impetus from hyperbolic dynamics. sliding over the pair of configurations. d N d N +1 ..e. d N + i d N + i +1d N + i + 2 = d N + j d N + j +1d N + j + 2 000000 Now we can replace d with a configuration periodic on the right by defining: dn = dn ′ if n < dN + j and otherwise dn = dn − ( j − i ) ′ ′ A similar trick works on the left and QED. (The analysis of equilibrium states on sofic shifts is much harder. Denote by k the number of states per site..d −2 d −1d 0d1d 2 .... You can do a lot of your analysis of equilibrium states and periodic points on the SFT.000 c0c1 . i..) . The same technique shows the stronger result (of Golze) that periodic configurations must have periodic predecessors... There are only k3 possible values so at SOME point the list must have a duplicate.d −2 d −1d 0d1d 2 .....00c0c1c2 ... Start with: 000 dn +1d N + 2 d N + 3 and continue to the right. Lining them up: d =.Assume that the rule has radius one (the proof goes through in general with obvious modifications)... c =.c N 0000.. c N 0000.. where SFT's are the natural symbolic dynamics for making use of Markov partitions. has a predecessor: d =. Consider a window which is two high and three wide (if R is the radius..

a. The latter viewpoint finds some justification in the recent work of Alejandro Maass. This.) In other words. It is for SFT's that finiteness conditions. of course. you hand it a rule table and in guaranteed finite time the answer comes back for all possible 1D CA). It is completely reasonable on mathematical grounds that SFT's should be distinguished as the most important subclass of sofic systems. . and one key to studying a sofic system is to understand how its properties relate to those of the SFT underlying the minimal deterministic finite automaton for the regular language of the sofic system.This is an historical reason for the focus on SFT's but it is also a mathematical one. because tools for studying SFT's can contribute some understanding. McIntosh's consideration of sofic systems as a fundamental class is absolutely correct.. insistence that its automata be block codes on full shifts (versus block codes on SFT's or other subshifts) seems unnatural.a. limit sets and dynamics. Just one example: from the symbolic viewpoint the c. But: I think Prof. It is in various ways a more natural class than the class of SFT's.a.10 What is the mean field theory? The mean field theory is a way of approximating the action of a CA by a map with continuous parameters.11 When is a CA injective. For 1-dimensional CA there exist well-known algorithms to determine surjectivity and injectivity (by an algorithm is meant. you must understand the limit dynamics of endomorphisms of SFT's.. coding constructions and algebraic invariants are most transparent. 5. more general versions. to understand the limit dynamics of c. McIntosh's interest in sofic systems is especially gratifying to me.e. Prof. In the case of CA a stronger result holds. He uses techniques of symbolic dynamics to show that any endomorphism f of a mixing SFT S is the restriction of some c. but these have not been much used in c. I think this represents the consensus among workers in symbolic dynamics. Theorem A. Surjectivity for cellular automata (although not in general) is a strictly weaker condition that for all y there exists x such that F ( x ) = y . which take into acount spatial correlations. it is much more naturally “the” class of subshifts with a finite presentation than are SFT's. More fundamentally. For example. as I work in symbolic dynamics myself and have formed the impression that most workers in cellular automata regard even SFT's which are not full shifts as esoterica. = y . it is closed under quotients and unions. It seems to me that symbolic dynamics provides at the least tools and a perspective useful for some problems about automata. it is also an opportunity. (He also has more sophisticated and less easily stated results about c. bijective). 5. A simple version of the mean field theory is the parameter of Langton. In 2 and more dimensions a highly non-trivial result of Jarkko Kari shows that the question is undecidable. have also been developed. CA is injective if and only if it is reversible (i. surjective? A CA is injective if its global function F satisfies F ( f ) = F ( y ) implies x is the general definition for functions. The question is linked in a deep way with Berger's Theorem about the undecidability of tiling by Wang tiles. map which has image S. This is not just a problem. The approximation is derived by assuming that the states of cells at different locations in space are not correlated. under the necessary assumption that S has a fixed point.a.a.

for any recursive function phi. was evidently created to facilitate reversibility. It is true in all dimesions that a rule is reversible if and only if it is injective. In the case of surjectivity one can demonstrate its lack by giving a finite configuration which one can test exhaustively cannot be reached. it is difficult to encounter a single reference which can be cited. However. Shifting the decimal point in one such number gives another. Sort of like excluding all the 1's from trinary (i. within the context of symbolic dynamics. Topology figures very strongly in symbolic dynamics. the longer their central segments which match up. during the 1950's and 1960's. although I do not recall their exact form (I used to know. 5. What seems to be quite remarkable is the degree to which such issues were worked out by mathematicians. it can be finitely demonstrated that two rules indeed invert one another. The Margolus neighborhood. the two questions are somewhat different. reprinted in [Gar83] thereby giving the idea worldwide publicity. step in anyone who remembers).. that can be fairly said to present their own views.2. so there is a semi-procedure to show that a CA IS reversible. Kari also has proven that the surjectivity problem is undecidable (a necessary but not sufficient condition for reversibility). One of their important concepts is a "subshift of finite type" which is a biinfinite string of symbols from which a certain finite set of words has been excluded. Fredkin has acquired widespread fame for the replication properties of the <exclusive or> when taken as a rule of evolution. It is in fact a summary of quite a bit of work. Kari's proffs suffice to say that there is no such recursive bound for 2 or more dimensions. in the form of the Garden of Eden.e. Kari's Theorem then implies that there must exist 2D rules for which the complexity of describing its inverse vastly exceeds the complexity of the rule itself. for either Toffoli or Fredkin. carried out by Hedlund himself and others. This provides a semi-procedure even though no corresponding semi-procedure can be found in the other case. In both cases such a bound (as a function of the number of states per site and radius) exist. 1. on the other hand it facilitates talking about limits and leads to a useful measure theory and probabilities. 5. Martin Gardner reported Fredkin's replication in his second article on Life in 1971. Edward Fredkin's analogy with second order differential equations is the only background theory mentioned. 2) decimals to get the Cantor set.12 Can one decide if a 2D rule is reversible/surjective? Jarkko Kari has proven that the reversibility question for 2D or higher CA is undecidable. The topology is such that two strings are closer. Non-reversibility. seems to go back to [Moo70]. 0. On the other hand. there must exist a rule with radius r whose inverse rule has radius greater than phi(r). Perhaps the computer science community's outstanding early contact with reversible automata was [AP72 ].It is trivially verifiable when two rules invert each other. which may have restricted its appreciation. The fundamental paper in this respect is [Hed69]. strongly featured in the book. If we take r (the radius) and a rough determinant of complexity. One way to show decidability in the 1D case for both questions consists of proving recursive bounds on how big a string one would need to find to show a counterexample to surjectivity or how large a radius rule one needs to examine to prove reversibility. In turn. his most accessible work is probably [TM87 ]. As he points out. it . in section 14. Whereas the book describes a number of reversible rules for the CAM-6.13 Where do I read about reversible cellular automata? The name most prominently associated with reversible cellular automata seems to be Tommaso Toffoli.

It should be noted that the language of his presentation is semigroup theory. Several articles by Masakazu Nasu. and so on. . not graph theory. contributions to conference proceedings. and the momentary confusion between the implications of the two concepts. Would a symbolic dynamicist have discovered Wolfram's class iv on his/her own? Subshifts of finite type arise from graphs whose nodes are symbols and whose arrows show admissible sequences. His publications are not all that easy to track down. and several other properties of cellular automata. Slightly earlier. the reversible machines which they imply seem to have been less of an issue than the fact that some specific automata were <<not>> reversible. A formal theory such as Hedlund's would naturally have been concerned with the kind of details represented by surjectivity. [FT82] which goes into some of their mutual ideas. However. consisting of his thesis. or vice versa. The two theories overlap." and precedes to show how to do so. or someone who was very familiar with his work. but have tended to emphasize different features. Somewhat later the ideas were generalized to apply to flows through graphs: [Nas82]. Consequently Toffoli seems to be a plausible candidate to have been the first proponent of reversible automata as such. written in the spirit of Hedlund's symbolic dynamics. [Yak76] appeared.turns out that those continuous functions which commute with the shift are each generated by the transition rule for some linear cellular automaton. This approach is different from Fredkin's. laboratory reports. indeed it usually does not. missing arrows result from the operative exclusions. There is also a joint paper. appeared in the late 70's and early 80's. without pretending to embed the original. and so on. A somewhat later paper [SH77] works out in considerable detail the relationships between injectivity. One would have to ask him. injectivity. the existence of limits. the publication generally credited for this is [Wei73]. The reasons for interest in reversible automata seem to have been varied. Thus symbolic dynamics is an application of automata theory. Garden of Eden theorems seem to have resulted more as a counterbalance to von Neumann's universal constructor. which merely uses an arbitrary cellular automaton to construct another which is reversible. An early attempt to relate reversibility and Gardens of Eden and to use the interplay between global and local mappings was [Ric72]. [Tof77] states that "an arbitrary ddimensional cellular automaton can be constructively embedded in a reversible one having d + 1 dimensions. surjectivity. continuity. Someone realized that a much more interesting model resulted from using the symbols as links among arbitrary nodes. all of his results may well have been worked out simply for the sake of presenting a thorough and complete theory.

1991.97-133.Green. 1984. 39. Patt. Urbana. 15. 59-68. [Ric72] D. Discrete Mathematics. Huberman and N. editor. 1970. Taylor. 80. and Pam Dale. Cellular automata models of crown-of-thorns outbreaks. Evolutionary games and computer simulations. Ingerson. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. Buvel T. Acad. 160. 545-552. Jeff Johnson. Burks. 169-188. Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 24. Wheels. 1982 [Gar83] Martin Gardner. Cellular automaton models of interspecific competition for space-the effect of pattern on process.Hedlund. L. 1972. 448-464. ISBN 0-7176-1589-9. E. EuroPhys. [Ing84] R. 1977.H. N. Physica D. 527-534. Conservative Logic. Mathematical Systems Theory. In Arthur W. A. Amoroso and Y. Tesselations with local transformations. Sci.A. [EEK93] G. [Moo70] Edward F. August 1993. 1982. USA. Maneville. Bard Ermentrout and Leah Edelstein-Keshet. Evidence of collective behavior in cellular automata. Howard. 1. Richardson. 1983. Cellular automata approaches to biological modeling. 1978 [Hed69] G. Senino Holtier. Physica D. 14. Glance. Life. R. Endomorphisms and automorphisms of the shift dynamical systems. 1972. 171-197. Chate and P. [SH77] Tadakazu Sato and Namio Honda. Moore. Journal of Computer and System Sciences. and N. Proc. Essays on Cellular Automata. January 1993. 409-413. Proc. 6. Let. Natl. Allinson. Structure in asynchronous cellular automata. [SHJD92] Jonathan Silvertown. 373-388. 90.References [AP72] S. Machine models of self reproduction. University of Illinois Press. Uniformly finite-to-one and onto extensions of homomorphisms between strongly connected graphs.Freeman and Company. and Other mathematical Amusements. Journal of Ecology. Certain relations between properties of maps of tesselation automata. 1992. 5. W. 7716-7718. 3:320-375. [Ft82] Edward Fredkin and Tommaso Toffoli. [CM91] H. . Decision procedures for surjectivity and injectivity of parallel maps for tesselation structures. March 1992. 1969 [HG93] B. Journal of System and Computer Sciences. 219-253. IEEE. [HTA92] N. The design and implementation of a massivelyparallel fuzzy architecture. 21. New-York. 121-145. [Nas82] Masakazu Nasu. Journal of Theoretical Biology.G. [Gre90] D.

University of Sussex. 1973. 216-220.[Tof77] Tommaso Toffoli. The ghost in the machine:basins of attraction of random boolean networks. 77. Journal of Computer and System Sciences. Subshifts of finite type and sofic systems. Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. 1993. [Wue93] Andrew Wuensche. Computation and construction universality of reversible cellular automata. Inverse and injectivity of parallel relations induced by cellular automata. 1977. Monatshefte fuer Mathematik. 58. 15. . 462-474. [Yak76] Takeo Yaku. 1976. 213-231. [Wei73] Benjamin Weiss. Cognitive Science Research Paper 281.

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