"An interesting read and worth browsing by somebody interested in getting a general background on CA. The examples are many and varied, and the numerous citations--both to electronic and printed media--are very helpful." (Computing Reviews,
"Schiff suppresses most mathematical details, rendering his book highly accessible, informative, and entertaining, but leaving open niches for a textbook treatment with exercises or an advanced monograph with proofs." (CHOICE, October 2008)
"This book serves as a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate students in the physical, biological, and social sciences and may also be of interest to any reader with a scientific or basic mathematical ground." (Mathematical Reviews, 2008m)
I have finished reading the preliminary MS, and I honestly think it is the best math related book I have ever read. It is easy to read, good pace, explains all and leaves nothing out. -- Dror Speiser, Tel Aviv, Israel
The preliminary manuscript was the fourth book that I have read on the subject, but also the most coherent. With all due respect to Wolfram, this really surpassed his New Kind of Science in both content and style. While he clearly deserves a place in the pantheon, in the long run, this book should stand with his in the popular academic literature. -- Marc Ratkovic -- graduate student, University of Wisconsin
From the Publisher
This book is an overview of the subject, written at the level of Scientific American
. In fact, the first worldwide exposure of the subject of CA was in Scientific American
, in Martin Gardner's columns on the "Game of Life". The book also includes interesting discussions on the nature of consciousness, swarm intelligence, emergence, and of course, self-organization, as these form an integral part of the CA milieu. Some of the commentary on these topics comes from overlooked historical sources as well as from the very latest scientific thinking. Additionally, explicit rules are given for each CA model so that anyone with a modicum of programming skill can delve right in and explore them further. The text should allow anyone with a basic scientific understanding, be they in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, economics etc., to apply the discrete modeling techniques of CA to their own scientific endeavors. Much of life on Earth, from seashell patterns to neural activity in the brain, to the formation of bacterial colonies, becomes amenable to investigation with this essentially elementary technique.
The fundamental premise of CA is that complex behavior arises out of simple rules governing local behavior, and this is a useful paradigm for the way in which much of the world works. The virtue of CA is that they are much easier to deal with than the usual partial differential equations and often allow greater insight into the underlying processes at play.