New in June 2004: A new version of EdgeOfChaos is available that can use file and save images (when run as an application). The new version requires Java 1.4 or higher. See Page 7 of this site for more information. |

And the Edge of Chaos

A computer follows rules. At each moment, the rules determine
exactly what the computer will do next. We say that a computer is an
example of an *automaton*. Other, simpler examples of automata
also exist. (*Automata* is the plural of *automaton*.)
These more abstract rule-following devices can be easier to study
computers, and they can be interesting to study in their own
right. One type of automaton that has received a lot of attention is
*cellular automata*. For one thing, they make pretty pictures.
For another, they are related to exciting new ideas such as
artificial life and the edge of chaos. Here is a fairly simple
example:

If you would like to learn more about cellualr automata, here are some pages of information and Java applets that you can look at. (The most interesting things here are the applet on page 6, and the newer version of the same applet on page 7, which can make some awfully nice pictures, such as this one (117 kilobytes).)

- About Cellular Automata
- Instructions for using the HandCraftCA Applet
- The HandCraftCA Applet
- The Edge of Chaos
- Instructions for using the EdgeOfChaosCA Applet
- The EdgeOfChaosCA Applet
- Version 2 of the EdgeOfChaosApplet, for Java 1.4 or higher.
- Bibliography

The source code for the applets used on these pages is available here:

- Java 1.4 source for Version 2 of EdgeOfChaosCA, from page 7
- CACanvas.java, a class used in SimpleCA, HandCraftCA, and EdgeOfChaosCA.
- SimpleCA.java, the first applet on page 1
- LittleCADemo.java, the second applet on page 1
- HandCraftCA.java, the applet on page 3
- EdgeOfChaosCA.java, the applet on page 6

If you would like to see more of my Java applets, visit Eck's Java Page. To learn more about Java, have a look at my

David J. Eck

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Geneva, NY 14456

E-mail: eck@hws.edu