Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Lucas Schuermann

Summer School

Class of 2015

Project: Functionals of Cellular Automaton Rules

We model the collection of possible neighborhood configurations in an elementary cellular automaton as a discrete manifold over which the transition function or rule takes on Boolean values. We find the Dirichlet energy of different rules through the Boolean differential calculus by summing over all possible neighborhood configurations. We also perform spectral analysis of different elementary cellular automaton rules using the Walsh–Hadamard transform. The same analysis can be applied to transition functions that act on an entire causal network of cells, with cells in the first layer as the input and cells in the last layer as the output. We compare this measure of cellular automaton behavior with existing ones, including entropy-based measures and Lyapunov exponent estimators. We obtain a method for gradual rule modification that preserves the Dirichlet energy, with applications to enhancing genetic algorithms that attempt to find the right rule for performing a computation. Finally, we discuss possible extensions of this approach and directions for future research.


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Wolfram Summer School | Champaign, IL, USA | July 3 29–July 22, 2022