The Cook Book
Recipe for the week of January 22 - 28
Orbital Technologies brews Life into Java
- Three week's ago, referring to Chris Langton's nice Web-based
Exploring the Space of Cellular Automata, I mentioned the
highly publicized impending paradigm shift in computing:
Applets like this will be commonplace real soon now, when Java reigns supreme, our PCs and workstations have all
been scrapped in favor of $50 Web boxes, we all enjoy infinite bandwidth,
and the Microsoft juggernaut finally crashes and burns.
- That was supposed to read a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I have been
on the lookout for a Java implementation of a cellular automaton. Langton's program
works well because one-dimensional systems require so little computing
power compared to higher-dimensional models. The
WebLife page in my Kitchen Sink shows the limitations of remote
updating for 2d rules. So I was delighted to finally find a Java version of Conway's
Life, created by Orbital Technologies in the UK, that runs on the latest version
of Netscape. This week's soup shows a still frame from their simulation. The links
that follow once allowed you to watch reasonable real-time movies of Life on
a small array within your browser, but are no longer active. Fun while it lasted...
Download Netscape 2.0
For the moment Netscape 2.0, still in final beta, is the only first-rate browser
that supports Java. Get it if you haven't already!
Orbital's Life Applet
Click on this link to run Life under Netscape 2.0. The page includes
options to randomize and reset; you can also add new live cells with your
mouse by dragging over a portion of the experiment window. Trans-Atlantic bandwidth
is still not quite infinite, though, so good luck ...
Orbital Technologies Home Page
Some PR for the outfit providing this week's fare.
- Of course it's more fun to make your own movies, and fortunately the
tools to try are also available. Sun Microsystems has just posted the first
release of its Java programming tools, while the code for Orbital's Life
provides a good template for beginning to implement other CA dynamics. Here are three
more links that should provide all you need to start brewing your own. We hope to
offer more of these portable CA movies in the future. As always, contributed recipes
and other feedback are most welcome.
Java Developer's Kit 1.0
Download the programming environment for Solaris or Windows
Java Home Page
General information and links to Java applet libraries.
The Source for Orbital's Life