Cellular Automata

A cellular automaton (CA) is a discrete model that consists of a cell-grid, where each cell is in one of a number of well-defined states. The grid can be in any finite number of dimensions, though the mostly studied CAs have one or two dimensions. The time in the model is discrete and the state of each cell C at time t depends only on the cell-states within some well-defined neighbourhood of C at time t-1. The update function (also called the update rule) is a table that defines the state for each cell at time t as a function of the state of the neighbourhood of C at time t-1.

Although a wide range of CAs have been studied, a model called “The Game of Life” developed by John Conway has become particularly well known.

VLab provides a number of different CA models for experimentation. For further information, see the VLab tutorial on CA and the VLab tutorial on Critical Connectivity in CA.