Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Morgan Silver-Greenberg

Summer School

Class of 2006


Morgan Silver-Greenberg is an honors student at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He studies complex systems from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective. Concerned with understanding the relationship between structure, system principles, and system dynamics, he explores these issues from multiple disciplines including sociology, linguistics, culture and communications, philosophy, computer science, architecture, and design. Morgan was born in Manhattan but grew up in Los Angeles, where his interest in the effect of environment, both physical and social, on culture and society developed. After a year of studying philosophy, economics, and film at Sarah Lawrence College, Morgan decided to take a year off in order to gain clarity. During this period Morgan explored the implications of computers in architecture and became fascinated with the relationship between architecture in a pluralistic sense and the systems that occupy it. Professionally, Morgan has worked as a consultant for a small creative agency in Manhattan that deals with sophisticated urban countercultures.

Morgan’s other interests currently include riding his bike and skateboard around New York City, exploring urban spaces, the ocean, sub-cultures, the internet and neo-mysticism, art, architecture, semiotics, music, and his friends.

Project: Exploring Dialectical Relationships with Cellular Automata

This project focused on exploring dialectical relationships between two elementary cellular automata. A dialectical relationship is a relationship in which input is exchanged between two systems resulting in an output that is an amalgamation of the processing of both systems. Dialectical is derived from the Greek philosophical term dialectic, meaning an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a synthesis of the propositions. Each system maintains its own code for updating, thus maintaining its integrity; however, the system is fundamentally different as there is an exchange of input which alters the behavior of the system. Essentially each system is dependent on the behavior of the other system(s), effectively creating a new system that is a union among all entities involved. This process is abundant in natural, social, and biological systems. I hope that this exploration will provide insight and lend a framework for others to understand interconnected complex systems. I have developed a simple system in which two elementary cellular automata are run in parallel and affect each other’s update neighborhoods. The value of the center cell of each automaton is exchanged with the other automaton at every update point.

Favorite Four-Color, Radius-1/2 Rule

Rule chosen: 228890923

I chose rule #228,890,923 because I found the chaotic yet self-similar particle movement through an ordered binary background interesting. This rule exhibits a stark and apparent dichotomy that, like NKS, manages to bridge simplicity and complexity.