- This week I'm on spring break, so the Kitchen is featuring an old
chestnut soup, one of the first particle system color graphics I produced
nearly ten years ago. [Next week we hope to offer a brand new image of
critical nucleation in a threshold growth cellular automaton.]
- Start with one painted dot at the center of the array, surrounded by
a "sea" of unpainted cells. Identify each unpainted dot that has at
least one painted neighbor, and flip a coin to decide whether it will be
painted next time. Repeat this (synchronous) procedure over and over.
Of course the painted region will spread randomly. D. Richardson proved
a beautiful theorem in the mid 1970's which asserts that the painted
region spreads at a constant speed and always tends to the same shape as
it grows. If the chance of tossing heads is p (between 0 and 1), then
different values of p give rise to different shapes.
- This week's soup displays all the shapes simultaneously by using a
spectrum of colors. The p=1 process has no randomness; its shape
is the "outer diamond." A theorem of R. Durrett and T. Liggett, proved
in 1981, says that the shape has flat pieces if p is close to 1;
this is why the tips of the diamond have their own colors.