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  • December 5: Wall Pepper

    An initial version of our long-awaited CA texture generator is now up and running. Design you own web page backgrounds and desktop wallpaper using cellular automata. From a technical point of view, the novel aspect of Bruce Christenson latest Java creation is its ability to deliver custom output to our visitors. Over the next few weeks we'll add a companion Greatest Hits page of in-house and guests' creations, and try to smooth out some rough spots of the interface. Have fun!

  • November 25: HTML Cellular Automaton Control

    The folks mentioned in our November 8 update have now launched WICA (Web Interactive Cellular Automata) to promote their tools for manipulation of CA dynamics via web text. I've lifted their Java and JavaScript source code to convey the gist of the idea in the Game of Life applet below, which can run two superimposed evolutions simultaneously.

    If you can read this then your browser does not support Java, and you cannot see the Alife/CA applet.

    Try some of the following control links, then check out WICA for more details. Click to launch a seed: R-Pentomino, B-Heptomino, or Pi-Heptomino. Cell size can be Medium, Large, or Small. Update controls include Pause/Resume, Single Step, and Continue. For a clean slate, Kill CA #1 and/or Kill CA #2. You can even Toggle the background image. Rudy Rucker (see Nov.3 below) feels that robots and living spaces of the future should have CA dynamics on their surfaces, so why not web sites?

    A less flashy, but impressively comprehensive new CA resource is Mark Niemiec's Life Page, which features several thousand examples of still lifes and oscillators synthesized from gliders for Conway's rule.

  • November 25:

    Section 2, an overview of Threshold Growth theory, has been added to the web version of our CA Shapes Survey with Janko Gravner.

    The Chef has been dieting this fall, so most of his favorite Real Recipes are off limits. Here's one that isn't: Rex Sole en Papillote.

    Expect a preliminary version of our long-awaited CA Wallpaper Server to be up and running by the end of the month...

  • November 10: WE'RE BACK!

    Our Department servers at math.wisc.edu have been repaired, so all the PSK scripts should be back in order. Thanks for your patience.

    UW-Madison folks : I've posted a course description for the interdisciplinary Introduction to Cellular Automata seminar I'll be teaching next term here in the Mathematics Department. Please consider registering if you're interested.

  • November 8: MELTDOWN!

    Our Department servers at math.wisc.edu went belly up yesterday : two simultaneous hard disk crashes. Until the disks can be replaced, hopefully within a few days, all PSK scripts are broken - the postcard server, search engine, guestbook, etc.

    Sorry 'bout that...

    While we pick up the pieces, check out Ariel Dolan's page, which features quite a nice collection of Java applets illustrating A-Life models and related algorithms. His buddies Luigi Pagliarini (keeper of the Artificial Life Games collection in our Kitchen Sink) and Domenico Parisi also have wild and wonderful CA-related homepages.

  • November 3: Simulation of the Nonlinear Voter Model

    A new Lagniappe page describes WinCA and CAM8 experiments which explore the phase diagram of some of the first probabilistic cellular automata described here at PSK, way back in December, 1994. Our findings will be summarized in a forthcoming paper by J. Molofsky, R. Durrett, S. Levin, J. Dushoff, and yours truly.

    A PSK search on Rudy currently generates 17 entries. Now, Kitchen regular and preeminent CA enthusiast Rudy Rucker has published his latest science fiction novel, Freeware (Avon, 1997). We recommend TheSite's amusing review and interview.

  • October 13: WE'VE MOVED!

    As announced here previously, the Primordial Soup Kitchen has a new home:


    PLEASE UPDATE YOUR PSK BOOKMARK. To celebrate the event, we've added Pea Soup to the Real Recipes collection.

    We're proud to say PSK was selected by the

    WebWatch, under the auspices of AAAS, as one of three "excellent scientific Web Sites" for the week of October 3. This honor has been added to our Kudos page.

  • October 8: Life without Death ladder Interactions

    We've added another applet to the CAffeine collection: six demos of the basic ladder interactions used to show that the LwoD rule is capable of emulating Boolean circuits. See our web version of the paper for background, or the downloadable version for details.

    Work proceeds apace on the site's relocation to a new server. As noted in the Kitchen Sink, our anonymous ftp site is already in place at the new address: psoup.math.wisc.edu. Later this month the entire PSK will move there; all that will remain on math.wisc.edu will be a placeholder to announce the change and redirect you to our new home. Hopefully everyone will change their bookmarks and enjoy the somewhat better performance of the new setup without too much disruption.

    This week's comic relief comes from our friends at the Santa Fe Institute, via Cosma Shalizi. Check out the home page of Ian Malcolm, and especially his Recent Publications for a look at cutting edge work by arguably the world's most famous researcher in the field of complex systems.

  • September 25: CA Shapes Survey

    We've added another Lagniappe selection: a Web abridgement of the Chef's forthcoming paper on CA crystal growth, joint with Janko Gravner. At present only the Introduction is available; a second section will be posted later this fall. Alas, current constraints make mathematical publishing on the web exceedingly difficult, so many of the technical and symbolic details of the paper will be omitted in the html portion. A complete manuscript will be made available for download in January.

  • September 15: Behind the Scenes

    The start of a another academic year means no new entrees in the Kitchen over the past few weeks, but here's a progress report on our current agenda.

    The Wallpaper Server prototype is coming along nicely. We can now preview still frames from our Java CA applets as tiled backgrounds, and capture them over the Web. Currently we are adding palette manipulation features for optimal wallpaper design. Look for this innovative addition to the site sometime during the fall.

    Also, PSK will be moving to a new address within the next month or so, with its own dedicated server. We will do our best to make the move transparent to visitors. The change should facilitate development of the site's interactive capabilities, and also alleviate performance problems caused by congestion on the University of Wisconsin Mathematics Department machines. Of course this still won't help with events like the one last Friday, when some bozo severed the main line connecting UW to the outside world, so we were down for more than 6 hours.

    Expect a new Lagniappe next week - I'll begin posting, one section at a time, an html version of my survey paper with Janko Gravner entitled Cellular Automaton Growth on Z2: Theorems, Examples, and Problems.

    Finally, the Chef can't resist passing along a recent email entreaty:

    Hi. I just bought a sub shop restaurant. The previous owner cut a lot of corners and didn't put out a quality sandwhich. I want to to make everybody happy, and put out quality and quantity, but I'm not making any money. I think food costs are killing me. Do you have a suggestion that can help me?

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