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New Constructions in Cellular Automata$
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David Griffeath and Cristopher Moore

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137170

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195137170.001.0001

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Growth Phenomena in Cellular Automata

Growth Phenomena in Cellular Automata

(p.160) (p.161) Growth Phenomena in Cellular Automata
New Constructions in Cellular Automata

Janko Gravner

Oxford University Press

We illustrate growth phenomena in two-dimensional cellular automata (CA) by four case studies. The first CA, which we call Obstacle Course, describes the effect that obstacles have on such features of simple growth models as linear expansion and coherent asymptotic shape. Our next CA is random-walk-based Internal Diffusion Limited Aggregation, which spreads sublinearly, but with a shape which can be explicitly computed due to hydrodynamic effects. Then we propose a simple scheme for characterizing CA according to their growth properties, as indicated by two Larger than Life examples. Finally, a very simple case of Spatial Prisoner’s Dilemma illustrates nucleation analysis of CA. In essence, analysis of growth models is an attempt to study properties of physical systems far from equilibrium (e.g., Meakin [34] and more than 1300 references cited in the latter). Cellular automata (CA) growth models, by virtue of their simplicity and amenability to computer experimentation [25], have become particularly popular in the last 20 years, especially in physics research literature [40, 42]. Needless to say, precise mathematical results are hard to come by, and many basic questions remain completely open at the rigorous level. The purpose of this chapter, then, is to outline some successes of the mathematical approach and to identify some fundamental difficulties. We will mainly address three themes which can be summarized by the terms: aggregation, nucleation, and constraint-expansion transition. These themes also provide opportunities to touch on the roles of randomness, monotonicity, and linearity in CA investigations. We choose to illustrate these issues by particular CA rules, with little attempt to formulate a general theory. Simplicity is often, and rightly, touted as an important selling point of cellular automata. We have, therefore, tried to choose the simplest models which, while being amenable to some mathematical analysis, raise a host of intriguing unanswered questions. The next few paragraphs outline subsequent sections of this chapter. Aggregation models typically study properties of growth from a small initial seed. Arguably, the simplest dynamics are obtained by adding sites on the boundary in a uniform fashion.

Keywords:   amphiphilic polymers, bugs, constrained growth cellular automata, dynamical hierarchies, first-passage percolation models, ladders, monotone cellular automata, nucleation models, oriented percolation, percolation

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