Cellular automata are an example of soft artificial life. Your first assignment will be creating a cellular automaton and the preparation for today is focused on getting familiar with the history and basis for this area.

Basic Learning Objectives

Before class, you should be able to:

  • Explain what a basic cellular automaton is
  • Explain what Conway’s Game of Life is
  • Explain what the glider pattern is

Advanced Learning Objectives

After class, you should be able to:

  • Write a program that supports a toroidal spatial structure
  • Use the Empirical library to visually display a grid
  • Start on the cellular automata assignment


  • Complexity Ch 10 (at least up to ‘Wolfram’s “New Kind of Science”’, though you may find the last section interesting)