cellular automaton

Computing Dictionary

cellular automaton definition

algorithm, parallel
(CA, plural "- automata") A regular spatial lattice of "cells", each of which can have any one of a finite number of states. The state of all cells in the lattice are updated simultaneously and the state of the entire lattice advances in discrete time steps. The state of each cell in the lattice is updated according to a local rule which may depend on the state of the cell and its neighbors at the previous time step.
Each cell in a cellular automaton could be considered to be a finite state machine which takes its neighbours' states as input and outputs its own state.
The best known example is J.H. Conway's game of Life.
FAQ (http://alife.santafe.edu/alife/topics/cas/ca-faq/ca-faq.html).
Usenet newsgroups: news:comp.theory.cell-automata, news:comp.theory.self-org-sys.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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