CELLULAR AUTOMATA MACHINES
A New Environment for Modeling.
Tommaso Toffoll and Norman
Margolus. The MIT Press, Cambridge,
MA, 1987. 222 pp. $30.
Addiction to cellular automata games is a sort of disease, like the PC Disease that afflicts the so-called computer hacker. Ever since mathematician John Horton Conway devised the game Life in the late 1960s, the disease has run rampant among scientists that are fascinated with cellular automata and the unique operations that these massive arrays of computers can execute.
In the cellular automaton thousands of computing elements are connected to their nearest neighbors. At each cycle of the clock that drives all elements of the cellular array simultaneously, the state of each element changes according to a specific nearest neighbor rule. By displaying the values contained in all elements of the array on a computer screen, fascinating patterns appear. The ingenious Information Mechanics Group at MIT has pursued...