Artificial life



Introduction to Cellular Automata
The Game of Life
Other Cellular Automata
Cellular Automata and Artificial Life
Chaos and complexity


   D- Applications

    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 :

  1. Simulation of gas behaviour. A gas is composed of a set of molecules whose behaviour depends on the one of neighbouring molecules.
  2. 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.
  3. Simulation of percolation process.
  4. Simulation of forest fire propagation.
  5. In a different field, cellular automata can be used as an alternative to differential equations9.
  6. Conception of massive parallel computers.
  7. Simulation and study of urban development10.
  8. Simulation of crystallisation process.
  9. (...)

    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 10D, 1984.

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 automata".

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Last Update : 6 May, 2006