- We are happy to announce that version 1.0 of
WinCA, our Windows-based interactive platform for cellular
automaton experimentation, is available for downloading. Those interested
should get two files: winca.txt and winca_10.exe from the
first link in the Kitchen Sink, or by anonymous ftp to
The file winca.txt contains basic info about system requirements
and installation. Program documentation, together with information about
the current version, future plans and CA resources, appears in the WinCA
help file winca.hlp included with the software installation.
- This week's recipe thumbnail is the WinCA 'About' screen, and this
week's soup shows the program at startup. A level-set Life without Death
experiment (flake.xpt) is displayed. Features evident include a
Button Bar, Control Panel and Status Bar. This interface permits easy
and efficient 256-color dynamic visualization of almost all of the cellular
automaton rules that are featured here in the Kitchen. Our final 16-bit version
of WinCA for Windows 3.x / 95 comes with more than a dozen pre-defined
parameterized families of CA rules, each in its own .rul file. In addition,
more than three dozen annotated experiments illustrate these rules as well
as the main features of the interface.
- In the present version, for demonstration purposes, several of our rules
are optimized with assembler. This enables the fastest of our demos to
update an array of more than 20,000 cells in excess of 60 times per second
on a mid-range Pentium. Note that version 1.0 does not permit user-defined
rules. Our ultimate goal is to provide hooks so users can develop their own
.rul's as painlessly as possible and "plug" them into WinCA. In order to
implement this feature optimally, we will need to port the code to 32-bit in
order to take advantage of much simpler flat memory addressing. Meanwhile,
for general purpose demonstrations and experimentation with many of the most
basic and widely studied CA rules, we believe that WinCA 1.0 provides an
unsurpassed combination of performance and flexibility.
- Check it out!
- Bob Fisch and David Griffeath