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Recipe for the week of May 1 - 7

Bruce's Gnarly Page

This term I'm teaching a course on cellular automata here at the UW-Madison Math Department. One of my students, Bruce Hearn (oblio@dax.cs.wisc.edu) has created an entire Web page of CA graphics that I offer as this week's soup. The images, created using his own custom MS-DOS program, illustrate various image processing effects that can be achieved by mixing some of the most basic self-organizing update rules. Bruce thinks of each rule as a 'brush' with its own characteristics. He applies these brushes as the spirit moves him, pressing a key to change rules on the fly. The resulting patterns, combined with his fun choice of colors and imaginative titles, afford a refreshing change of pace from our usual fare.

It's fun to try to figure out how Bruce arrived at his assortment of soups. The attentive visitor will notice traces of such Kitchen staples as stepping stone, majority vote, and bootstrap percolation. For the last graphic in the series, Hearn has provided a linked 'trace' of the sequence of rule changes that give rise to the final configuration. In addition, all of his .gif graphics can be downloaded individually by clicking on them. Bon appetit!

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