September 2020 Archives

Further Still On A Very Cellular Process

My fellow students and I have lately been spending our spare time experimenting with cellular automata, which are simple mathematical models of single celled creatures such as amoebas, governing their survival and reproduction from one generation to the next according to the population of their neighbourhoods. In particular, we have been considering an infinite line of boxes, some of which contain living cells, together with rules that specify whether or not a box will be populated in the next generation according to its, its left hand neighbour's and its right hand neighbour's contents in the current generation.
We have found that for many such automata we can figure the contents of the boxes in any generation that evolved from a single cell directly, in a few cases from the oddness or evenness of elements in the rows of Pascal's triangle and the related trinomial triangle, and in several others from the digits in terms of sequences of binary fractions.
We have since turned our attention to the evolution of generations from multiple cells rather then one; specifically, from an initial generation in which each box has an even chance of containing a cell or not.

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