Cellular automata applications are
diverse and numerous. Fundamentally, cellular automata constitute
completely known universes. Our Universe is submitted to the laws
of physics. These laws are only partly known and appear to be
highly complex. In a cellular automaton laws are simple and
completely known. One can then test and analyse the global
behaviour of a simplified universe, for example :
- Simulation of gas behaviour. A gas is composed of a set of
molecules whose behaviour depends on the one of neighbouring
- Study of ferromagnetism according to Ising model : this
model (1925) represents the material as a network in which each
node is in a given magnetic state. This state - in this case one
of the two orientations of the spins of certain electrons -
depends on the state of the neighbouring nodes.
- Simulation of percolation process.
- Simulation of forest fire propagation.
- In a different field, cellular automata can be used as an
alternative to differential equations9.
- Conception of massive parallel computers.
- Simulation and study of urban development10.
- Simulation of crystallisation process.
In a more daily field, cellular automata
can be used as graphic generators11.
The several images below, generated with Capow, show some graphic effects.
But it is undoubtedly in the field of
artificial life that cellular automata are most known.
9- Toffoli T., Cellular automata as an
alternative to Differential equations, in Modelling Physics, Physica
10- Langlois A., Phipps M., op.cit..
11- According to Rucker et Walker op.
cit., "in five years you won't be able to watch
television for an hour without seeing some kind of cellular