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Wolfram Summer School

June 24–July 14, 2018
Bentley University, Waltham, MA


Matthew Howard

Class of 2007


Matt is an architecture student at the Pratt Institute. He currently works at a private practice in New York and recently served as a researcher for the Academic Initiatives Committee at Pratt. Matt has organized lectures and published on the topic of technology and artistic practice. He is a frequent panelist at roundtable discussions on arts and technology at The Canal Chapter.

Project: Teasing a Synthetic Organic from Cellular Automata

Influenced by current writings in architecture theory, the focus of the project was to arrive at a form sympathetic with a biological structure or process. Sadly, the method--coupling three-dimensional k-color half-radius cellular automata rules to a perfect packing polyhedron, the rhombododecahedron--were found only to generate tumor-like growths. The rigidity of the rhombododecahedron lattice did little to help growth patterns that grew uniformly around a single central seed. Growth in biological systems is usually directed after the first couple of cell divisions. Despite the localized structures present in most cellular automata that would normally facilitate differentiation, the k-color half-radius rules did not amplify local perturbances and never generated the kind of unexpected forms that were hoped for. Future research will look to network systems where local disturbances readily affect a global condition and interaction between early growth and later development are accomodated.

Favorite Outer Totalistic Three-Color Rule

Rule chosen: 3681848058291

I chose rule 3681848058291 because it emulates tartan, a weaving pattern and cultural artifact that dates back to the Indo-European Tocharian culture of 800 BC.