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Wolfram Summer School

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


William Mische

Class of 2011


My formal education is in the field of electrical engineering. I am currently working as a control systems engineer.

I became interested in computer science after observing a group of young students reacting to a demonstration of a line-following robot. Seeing the students express empathy for this robot, which only had two lines of code describing its overall behavior, allowed me to ask myself the following question: how many other systems in nature that we ascribe the status of "living" are just the result of the interaction of simple actions?

This experience led me to begin experimenting with an array of programs ranging from chess-playing agents to models of trees. What I found is that my programs became more and more complex to the point that they became unmanageable, and I would eventually give up. When I looked to other sources for help, I found them to be so complex that I could not comprehend them. Eventually I stumbled across NKS and here I am, eager to learn how I can use this new tool in my experiments.

My computer science hobby ties in nicely with my other hobby of rock climbing. While climbing, I have ample opportunities to enjoy the wonders of nature. I use cameras and a digital microscope to photograph the seemingly limitless variety of "life" forms I run across while exploring the great outdoors. These photographs and experiences are my continual motivation for the next computer experiment.

Project: Exploring the Patterns Produced by Cellular Automaton Evolving on a Square Grid

The infrastructure of the system is such that each cell in the systems is touching six other cells.

The focus of this project is the exploration of a system of rules that operates on a square grid. The rules can be visualized on a two-dimensional grid by thinking of them as normal two-dimensional CA that only updates six of the surrounding eight cells, as shown by the images below.

If possible, I would like to implement a new system for visualizing the rules as colored lines on a lattice rather than as filled-in squares in a grid.

Favorite Four-Color Totalistic Cellular Automaton

Rule 554803