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Cellular Automata And Complexity: Collected Papers (1-2150-A; Louisiana Barrier Island) Paperback – February 21, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: 1-2150-A; Louisiana Barrier Island
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (February 21, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201626640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201626643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This volume seems to be interesting for computer scientists, especially for those engaged in parallelization, and for physicists and chemists having to discover the basic rules of complex systems (by cellular computer simulation). G.Wolf J. Inf. Process. Cybern, 1987 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stephen Wolfram was born in England in 1959. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech at the age of twenty. Wolfram’s early work in particle physics, cosmology and computer science earned him one of the first MacArthur awards. Wolfram began his work on the problem of complexity in 1981. And after writing the sequence of papers collected in this book, Wolfram founded the first research center and the first journal devoted to the study of complexity. Then in 1986, he formed Wolfram Research, Inc., and began the development of Mathematica. Released in 1988, Mathematica has become the standard software system for technical computation used by scientists, engineers, students and others around the world. Wolfram has been the recipient of many awards for science and business. He now divides his time between basic research and the leadership of his company.

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124 of 131 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a nice collection of wolframs work on cellular automata (which first appeared as a number of papers in various physics journals). It is a nice coverage of cellular automata, but it would have been nice to give more credit to von Neuman for his pioneering work in cellular automata theory.
There is also an annoying habit for all of his work to concentrate on deterministic cellular automata, and the mathematics is constrained to this. Recent work has indicated that the origin of complexity in our universe is from random sources that are preserved.. not that the complexity all came from the initial conditions.
It is especially interesting to note in his book how the different rules of cellular automata play out to create varying degrees of complexity. It takes a very specific rule set indeed to allow for interesting complex behaviors to show up, as evinced by the long search Conway undertook to discover "life".
Hopefully Wolfram will comment on the recent research that indicates that complexity is introduced into our universe through nondeterministic phenomena. He also should have presented Fredkins ideas about reversible computation to more fully flush out the relationship between cellular automata, computability and reversibility.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joel Schiff on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in the early 1980s Stephen Wolfram wrote a number of seminal papers that began the field of Cellular Automata. Yes, its origins do go back to Von Neumann and Ulam, but the subject only really took off as a field of scientific endeavor with this collected early work of Wolfram's. As such this is a very valuable historical collection where the reader can actually see the subject of CA being created and developed year by year. You can see, amongst other things, the unfolding of the four part classification scheme, the algebraic properties of CA, higher order CA, universal computation, and of course complexity.

John Conway's Game of Life cellular automaton which predates Wolfram by a decade is also mentioned - but for the most part Wolfram's own work takes center stage.

In the CA world, complexity evolves from a simple set of rules and this single notion has made CA a valuable tool in modelling a multitude of natural phenomena. It does not represent the end of mathematical modelling but represents another approach to viewing the world we live in. Interestingly, some of the models are virtually mathematics free and in some cases do a better job than the more traditional partial differentiation approach. As a bi-product with CA, you get a visual portrayal of how your model evolves with time. This visual aspect is one of the many attractions of the CA approach and so conspicuous in Wolfram's works.

Of course, the field of CA has itself evolved considerably from Wolfram's seminal beginnings. But if you want one reference work of how it all began then this is an excellent source.
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