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WINTER 97-8 ADDITIONS TO THE KITCHEN

  • February 28: Cellular Automata in Art and Science

    Here are three recently discovered Web resources about CA and the like. The first is Brian Hoke's essay on Cellular Automata and Art. Brian is Dean of Students at Manlius Pebble Hill School in Syracuse, New York. He wrote this article in connection with a course on Pattern which he took in the summer of 1996 as part of a Master of Arts program at Dartmouth College. He has also kindly sent a scanned photo of a CA art project he did for the course.

    Next, Gonzalo Pizarro has called our attention to an excellent set of hypertext and Java enhanced lecture notes on Simulation with Cellular Automata by Jörg R. Weimar of the Technical University Braunschweig Institute for Scientific Computation. Weimer has taught a summer school course from these materials the past couple of years. His first two chapters offer the most user-friendly introduction to the CA paradigm I have seen. Later chapters delve deeper into the subject, with a focus on physical, biochemical and biological systems. Highly recommended.

    Finally, Ariel Dolan's Alife Database uses Java database applets to organize a searchable collection of Web sites and downloadable software dealing with artificial life, genetric algorithms, cellular automata, and related models.

  • February 12: CA-generated Music

    The Chef has ruminated before about the potential for cellular automata to generate aleatory music, and has encountered several less-than-successful attempts. Now, however, John Elliott has posted on the Web some samples of his ongoing Transmusic project for turning simple two-dimensional CA dynamics on small arrays into fascinating electronic sound collages. His scheme is less grandiose than many: sample numerical patterns generated by the sequence of CA configurations - say the changing population counts for a prescribed color, or the number of cells which change at each update. Then use a musification map to convert this sequence to a suitable scale. See John's web site for more details, and companion animated gifs which give a glimmer of his sound sources, as well as other philosophical musings.

    Elliott considers his work to date preliminary, a "proof of concept." Here in the Kitchen we find the proof so convincing that we've added variants on four of John's creations as aural backgrounds for some of our Java applets. The new pieces are collected below for your convenience:

    The A-train

    Chance Tracks

    Replicadence

    Cyclic Song

    Of course this sort of self-organized music is not for everyone (curmudgeons can turn off their speakers!), but we hope some visitors will agree that Elliott's approach has the potential to generate a new kind of beautiful music.

    Behind the scenes, there have been many changes in the Kitchen over the past few weeks, hopefully invisible. Worth mentioning are an html bibliography added the our CA Shapes research-survey, an updated version of the Chef's Vita, and a not-too-subtle hidden link to a family photo album which includes pictures of our three cats: Rascal, Scurry and Oscar.

  • January 27: Oldies but Goodies

    Two articles from almost a decade ago have been added to our collection of downloadable papers: Kee Dewdney's Scientific American account of the discovery of the Cyclic Cellular Automaton, in Paperport electronic document format, and the companion research article by Fisch, Gravner and Griffeath, in the form of Laserjet printer output.

    We've also redecorated several of the walls at our site with samples from the new Pepper Mill collection of desktop and web backgrounds, as generated by our CA texture applet, Wall Pepper.

  • January 20: Wall Pepper Samples

    A new page called The Pepper Mill collects a dozen desktop and web backgrounds generated by ourWall Pepper CA texture applet. This sampler will be updated periodically with contributions from visitors to the Kitchen. Expect an more user-friendly update to the texture generator within the next couple of weeks.

    On the culinary front, 3 Bread Machine Recipes have been added to the Real Recipes collection.

  • January 13: CA Shapes Survey

    A new paper, Cellular Automaton Growth on Z²: Theorems, Shapes and Problems, by Janko Gravner and yours truly, has been added to the Research Papers archive. This 57 page article is chock full of computer graphics, so weighs in at 1.5 M in .zip format. A companion page of 10 Java Demos, and a more comprehensive, high-performance collection of 17 WinCA experiments for download have also been posted.

    Also, Rudy Rucker's CApow group has an expanded web site now, featuring a beta of the latest version of their excellent continuous-state CA software.

    And finally, our Guestbook has a new look. Drop by to browse, or better yet, sign in please.

  • January 2: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    In conjuction with a recently published book for Microsoft Press, Scott Ladd has posted several very slick Java applets of cellular automata, genetic algorithms and the like. All are linked from his ALife Central page. See especially the Life Box applet , and companion Introduction to CA.

    Over the holidays we've added three more dishes to our Real Recipes collection: Ceviche, Red Cabbage with Apples, and Swedish Roast Leg of Lamb.

  • December 15: Odds 'n Ends

    The Javva Brothers have posted art^life, which, in an recent email to the Chef, they describe as

    a number of FSM [finite state machines], some of them CA, some not quite, all of which are brought out of an initial stable "empty" state by dragging a mouse cursor around.

    Which is to say, another amusing toy at the interface of spatial interactions and html. Their design and dogma (not to mention the URL) are delightful. Highly recommended!

    Also, Gonzalo Pizarro has sent along a link to a pretty cool Quicktime movie of E. Coli splitting and spreading, from the excellent CELLS alive web site.

  • 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's 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!

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