«

»

Cellular Automata Basics

Cellular automata consist of an array of “cells” and some rules of propagation regarding the cells.

A simple array can consist of a row (1-Dimensional) of cells. A simple starting state is to “turn on” or mark the center cell in the row by coloring it black and allow cells to be either on (black) or off (white). A simple rule set follows:

  1. if the cell and its two immediate neighbors on either side are on, in the next state, it will be off
  2. if the cell and its two immediate neighbors on either side are off, in the next state, it will be off
  3. for any other combination, in the next state it will be on

The rules are applied to each cell simultaneously. That means they are all calculated from the existing state, then they are all changed to the next state at the same time. Once all cells have been recalculated, the process is repeated and the row is redrawn.

Here is an example: (each row is a new generation or calculation of the row)

Depending upon the state conditions and rules that are used, the result patterns may grow, decline, or repeat. For 2 dimensions, the same thing is done using a 2-D grid instead of a simple row. This means each cell now has 8 neighbors instead of 2 and the rules can become more complex.