Cellular Automata FAQ

[Non-Java version]

About this FAQ

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What is the status of the Cellular Automata FAQ?
This FAQ was originally edited by Howard Gutowitz in the mid 1990s.

It has not been updated much over the years.

It vanished from view for an extended period. This was caused by the Santa-Fe "alife" webserver - where it used to live - being taken down.

In July, 2002, Tim Tyler adopted it.

It is hoped that it will slowly be edited into a state where it is useful again.

Currently the FAQ should be regarded as being "under construction".

Much of the material presented here is out-of-date.

Many modern FAQs are not answered - and many of the questions which are answered here are no longer FAQs.

Maintaining such a FAQ is a big job - and the project may take some time. Please be patient in the interim.

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Will there be a text version of the FAQ?
Probably, eventually.

However if it ever happens, it will be automatically produced from the HTML version - and consequentially may be rather lacking.

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Is the original FAQ still available?
You should find the original FAQ is partially preserved here.
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Why are Java applets stealing my CPU cycles?
Java has a contribution to make to the site. However, for those who don't like it, every page with a Java applet on is mirrored by another page which has no Java on at all.

Start at http://nojava.cafaq.com/ and you should not encounter any Java applets.

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Will there be diagrams and applets all over the place?
That is unlikely to happen much in the short term.

Other maintenance activities on the FAQ seem to be of more pressing importance.

However, I expect such things will happen eventually.

Any Java applets will be confined to the Java version of the site.

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Is this the FAQ for comp.theory.cell-automata?
It is a FAQ. Hopefully it will come to be useful to comp.theory.cell-automata residents.
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Will this FAQ be posted to comp.theory.cell-automata?
That is unlikely to happen. Pointers, yes. Snippets, perhaps. The whole thing - almost certainly not.

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What questions can we expect to see answered by the FAQ in the future?
  1. What books are available about cellular automata?
  2. Where can I read some reviews of books about cellular automata?
  3. Which people are involved with cellular automata?
  4. What hardware solutions are available for running cellular automata?
  5. What interesting open questions are there in the field?
  6. Who invented cellular automata?
  7. Who were the pioneers in the field?
  8. What happened in the early history of the field?
  9. What recent progress has been made in the field?
  10. Are cellular automata popular?
  11. Do large cellular automata necessarily run more slowly?
  12. What is "crystalline computation"?
  13. What is "the firing squad synchronisation problem"?
  14. What is "the synchronisation problem"? - and what has it got to do with fireflies?
  15. What is "the forward problem"?
  16. What is "the inverse problem"?
  17. What did Jarkko Kari prove in 1990?
  18. Is it true that cellular automata are more powerful than Turing machines?
  19. How is the term "cellular automata" defined?
  20. Are cellular automata finite? or infinite?
  21. Is "cellular automata" singular? or plural?
  22. What techniques are available for constructing reversible cellular automata?
  23. I have a reversible cellular automata? How do I find the inverse automata?
  24. What tools are available for automatic evaluation of cellular automata properties?
  25. How can you tell whether a rule will support gliders?
  26. If a rule will support gliders, how can you find them?
  27. How can you tell whether a rule is capable of universal computation?
  28. Is the question of whether a rule is capable of universal computation undecidable?
  29. How do you make a rule which can be proved to be capable of universal computation?
  30. Are cellular automata fractals? Are fractals cellular automata?
  31. What cellular automata fractals are there?
  32. How do I model <system x> with a cellular automata?
  33. What is "the speed of light"?
  34. How do you measure distance in a cellular automaton?
  35. What are the most common neighbourhoods?
  36. Are cellular automata used in image processing?
  37. Are cellular automata used cryptography?
  38. Are cellular automata used in digital circuit design?
  39. Are cellular automata used to create random numbers?
  40. Can you run cellular automata over a network?
  41. What are "asynchronous" cellular automata?
  42. What are "linear cellular automata"?
  43. What are "totalistic" cellular automata?
  44. What are "stochastic" cellular automata?
  45. What are "non-uniform" cellular automata?
  46. What are "voting rules"?
  47. What are "decay rules"?
  48. What is "Bank's computer"?
  49. What are "Ising spin systems"?
  50. What is "the speed-up theorem"?
  51. What is "computational irreducibility"?
  52. Have wave equations been simulated?
  53. What rules have been proven to be capable of universal computation?
  54. What is a "billiard ball machine?"
  55. What does "CAM" stand for?
  56. How are the 1D elementary rule numbers calculated?
  57. What does the abc/def notation mean?
  58. What does the abc/def/ghi notation mean?
  59. What cellular automata file formats are there?
  60. What is special about rule 30?
  61. What is special about rule 110?
  62. Can cellular automata be enumerated?
  63. Does anyone make money out of cellular automata?
  64. Why do people use Forth for programming cellular automata?
  65. Do cellular automata exhibit conservation laws?
  66. Do cellular automata have analogues of the second law of thermodynamics?
  67. How do I caluclate the radius of this neighbourhood?
  68. Is it true that modelling with cellular automata is like trying to create sculpture with quarks?
  69. Are cellular automata "chaotic"?
  70. Does complexity arise from simplicity in cellular automata?
  71. Why do computers run CAs so slowly?
  72. Is there a link between cellular automata and the game of go?
  73. Cellular automata were invented before computers - were they originally updated by hand?
  74. Have cellular automata been used to create art?
  75. Where are good places to study cellular automata?
Digital physics
  1. Is the universe a cellular automaton?
  2. Who is Stephen Wolfram, and what is "A New Kind Of Science"?
  3. Who is Ed Fredkin, and what is "Digital Philosophy"?
Lattice gasses
  1. Why is there no equivalent of hexagonal tiling in 3D?
  2. What can be done to make 3D gasses more isotropic?
  3. Can I discuss lattice gasses on sci.physics.computational.fluid-dynamics?
Game Of Life
  1. That Garden Of Eden is huge. How can anyone possibly know it has no precursors?
  2. I want to find a Garden Of Eden. How do I do that?
  3. Is the game of life useful? Isn't it just a toy?
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What pages link to this FAQ?
Google maintains an up-to-date list of pages that link to this FAQ [here].

An old list of pages that link to this FAQ is available at here.