Cellular automata

Jonathan McCabe is an Australian digital artist and systems engineer I'm so keen on that I've done two previous posts about his generative art 2D images and videos. He recently sent me a nice email with a link to more of his work so I had to share.

click image for full size

These images were generated using a cellular automata program he authored. He describes the process:

Each pixel represents the state of the 4 cells of 4 cellular automata, which are cross coupled and have their individual state transition tables. There is a "history" or "memory" of the previous states which is used as an offset into the state transition tables, resulting in update rules which depend on what has happened at that pixel in previous generations. Different regions end up in a particular state or cycle of states, and act very much like immiscible liquids with surface tension. The resulting structures remind me of cells under a microscope.

click image for full size

They remind me of microscopy too; check out these stones. Obviously very different, but…

He's just added 28 new images to the archive, explaining that "these have 8 coupled cellular automata and a different function generating the state transition tables, so they look a little different. I'm guessing the larger number of automata might lead to more interesting behaviour, but it makes it slower to compute."

My brain was a bit slow to compute the concept of cellular automata (I'm so not a mathematician), but in Googling to learn I found another cellular automata art project. Visit Artificial Life and Other Experiments by Ariel Dolan for that and more online, interactive works. Enter nucleotide DNA sequences to find palindromes, woot!

Meanwhile, McCabe has more images available online in the form of tiles/coasters sold at CafePress. At $4.50 apiece, art doesn't get much more affordable than that. Also a bargain are signed prints and more signed prints.


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