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  • August 26: Webside CA

    John Elliott, creator of the marvellous CA-based transmusic described in the Feb. 12 entry of this column, has now produced what I consider to be the best multi-purpose Java CA applet to date. Webside handles a wide assortment of nearest-neighbor two-state update rules, comes with sizable libraries of preset experiments and initial configurations, and includes a nice Demographics tool. I like this one so much I've added it to both our Caffeine page and the Kitchen Sink. Check it out!

    As promised last month, our Real Recipes collection now includes a rare Slovenian treat, Mrs. Gravner's Hum Dumplings, complete with digital photo of the finished product. Over time I'll try to add pictures of some of the other dishes in the collection.

  • July 31: Midsummer Update

    We've posted two new research papers, joint with J. Gravner, which were presented this month at the Random Walk Summer School of the Erdös Center in Hungary:

    Reverse Shapes in First-Passage Percolation and Related Growth Models

    Scaling Laws for a Class of Critical Cellular Automaton Growth Rules

    Research in Budapest also yielded delicious dividends for our Real Recipes collection - Hungarian Fisherman's Soup and Sour Cherry Soup. By the end of the summer I'll post an equally spectacular Slovenian discovery: Mrs. Gravner's Hum Dumplings. Yum!

    PSK was featured on the June 1998 cover of School Science Review,
    a UK journal for teachers in 11-19 education, and also chosen by their
    Science Web Search.

  • June 30: Larger than Life: It's So Nonlinear !

    Kellie Evans has kindly let us post her PhD dissertation as a new addition to the Lagniappe collection. She studies a parametrized family of spatial logistic dynamics called Larger than Life, which generalizes Conway's Game to larger range interactions, with variable thresholds for birth and survival. By so doing, she delineates a complex phase portrait of nonlinear CA dynamics which support glider-like objects, replicators, and other self-organized stuctures. Numerous colorful LtL snapshots were featured in the spring and summer 1996 entries of the Kitchen Sink. Evans' thesis is presented as a series of compressed (.zip) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files.

    The Chef has been on vacation this month, and will depart shortly on a business trip (really!) to Budapest and Venice. Expect another research update at the end of July. Maybe also an incendiary goulash and some exquisite calamari concoction.

  • May 30: Rudy is BACK !

    Our good buddy and fellow CA fanatic Rudy Rucker dropped by with word of three new offerings. First, there is the ultimate release of CAPOW 98, his continuous-valued CA modeling software. Second, he has posted a web version of his paper with D. Ostrov, Continuous Valued Cellular Automata for Nonlinear Wave Equations, which explains the theory behind CAPOW. That document is a nice demo of the LaTeX2HTML translator, one strategy for internet technical word processing until a forthcoming extension of HTML supports native display of mathematics.

    But the real HOT POOP from Rudy (you read it here first!) :

    The biggest news is that my novel SOFTWARE is in production by Phoenix Pictures. They want to have flickercladding on the robots like in the book and I've talked to some of the graphics guys about them using CAs for this. They have trouble wrapping their minds around the fact that most CAs are not precisely predictable.

    Here in the Kitchen, our home page sports a new, more contemporary menu bar. This may cause problems with older browsers, since the design uses style sheets and other recent html innovations extensively. See Browser Issues for tech support. Navigation bars throughout the site also have a new look.

  • May 20: Art Imitates Life Imitates Art

    Anthropology Student Nicholas Gessler has organized an impressive exhibit entitled art + aesthetics of artificial life in conjunction with the Sixth International Conference on Artificial Life, to be held at UCLA June 26-29, 1998. The exhibit will run beyond the conference, until July 12, at the UCLA Center for Digital Arts. See the Artist's Page and its alphabetical subsections for an extensive list of artists inspired by A-Life and genetic themes, as well as theorists with an artistic fancy. Here are a few thumbnails of images from the show:

    Several contibutors to the A-Life exhibit use cellular automaton algorithms explicitly in their work. Of these, the most extensive web site belongs to Peter Hughes of MetaCreations. His CA Gallery contains more than 30 designs such as the lovely

    Soft Mandala,

    (130K full-size), illustrating how computer graphics artists use CA for image processing. It is amusing to see the preponderance of spirals, vortices and other spiritual cousins of the Cyclic Cellular Automaton in his work, since these have been a preoccupation of 'geeks' such as the Chef for the past fifteen years, and have been featured prominently here in the Kitchen since the beginning. Hughes seems to take special pride in a rule he calls Mutant Crystal Mold which was discovered via a programming error. Folks of his ilk tend to be extremely secretive about their coding mutations, often applying for patents rather than sharing their discoveries with anyone from the scientific community...

  • April 30: Separate Lives

    David Eppstein has augmented the pages mentioned in our last posting with a new one (still under development) devoted to the B35/S236 rule, a variant of Conway's Life with comparable complexity. There you'll find a parallel universe of gliders and glider guns, still lifes and oscillators. He concludes with a list of open problems.

    Crashing Motorcycles Efficiently, by Jeff Erickson of the Duke Computer Science Department, describes the algorithmic complexity of some planar graphs related to our Life without Death circuits. Somehow the colorful setting reminds my of one of my favorite really bad movies, Death Race 2000.

    Here in the Kitchen, the Chef's page now features an inspirational quote from Gilbert and Sullivan's masterpiece, The Mikado, and a convenient pager for anyone who would like to contact me via the great (free for now) messaging service ICQ.

  • April 9: Gliders Galore!

    David Eppstein of U.C.-Irvine Information and Computer Science has just posted a nice chart of gliders for Moore neighborhood totalistic CA rules. He also has a wish list if you'd like to try hunting for missing treasures. The upshot seems to be that gliders are quite rare unless the minimal number of occupied neighbors which causes a birth is 3, but are abundant among nonmonotone, non-solidification rules in that, the case of Conway's Game.

    I've also been meaning to mention a colorful article from Fortune Magazine last December which explains why Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft Research recently hired Jennifer Chayes and Christian Borgs, two statistical physicists who work on percolation and the foundations of interacting particle systems. According to Fortune, Bill Gates is a little sceptical about the potential utility of these "bench players," but check out the promo photo for what is undoubtedly the most highly paid particle pair on the planet.

    Finally, some web madness. In response to countless inquires over the years, I divulge the true significance of this site's name, Primordial Soup Kitchen, on a new page linked from the second paragraph of our Come on in ... introduction.

  • March 30: One or More Recursive Carpets

    A new Lagniappe page features four color graphics of Moore neighborhood solidification. We explain an ongoing research project which seeks to compute exactly the asymptotic density with which many "von Koch - type" CA rules fill the lattice.

    Norm Margolus has written a fascinating new survey paper, entitled Crystalline Computation, which discusses applications of reversible CA theory to foundational questions in physics. He has kindly let us post a preliminary version of this contribution to a forthcoming book in compressed Postscript form (1.27 MB)

    Color handling has been improved in the Wall Pepper CA texture applet.

    The number of our Real Recipes reaches 50 with the addition of Shepherd's Pie and Italian Breadsticks.

  • March 12: CA-based Data Compression and Encryption

    Two down-to-earth uses of complex algorithms are for compression and encryption of data. The former area has been widely publicized as an effective application of fractals, while the latter was promoted by Wolfram in a 1985 paper. Now Olu Lafe has created an intriguing web site to promote his company Lafe Technologies in its efforts to commercialize the use of Cellular Automata Transforms (CAT) for these and related purposes. Of particular interest are his FAQ with a demo of how, at high compression levels, CAT (below left) does a better job than Jpeg (below right) of representing images,

  • and a Java CAT Visualization applet showing approximations to various mathematical functions. Lafe offers CA-based encryption in the form of a Windows 95 / NT software package called CATlock.

    Meanwhile, back here in the Kitchen, for sustenance in the face of El Nino's fury, Cioppino and Samosa have been added to the Real Recipes collection.

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Introduction to the PSK PSK Search Recent Additions CA Archive CA Links Feedback Appreciated !