Eleonora Bilotta (University of Calabria, Italy) and Pietro Pantano (University of Calabria, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-787-9.ch001
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Ever more frequently, contemporary science finds itself in situations in which the only way it can address the complexity of nature is to develop new methods. One of the most common models is the Cellular Automaton - a system in which large numbers of particles, distributed on a lattice, developing according to deterministic local rules, generate unpredictable large scale behavior. Cellular Automata (from now on CAs) provide important insights into a vast range of physical, biological, social, economic and psychological phenomena.
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This book brings together two programs of research which, though distinct, have many tools and methods in common. The first is one more attempt by humans to compete with the Great Architect and build life-like properties into human artifacts. This is the program initiated by von Neumann and carried forward by Langton and followers. The second program, originating in the early 1980s, is an attempt to create “new kind of science”, (Wolfram, 2002) rooted in concepts such as complexity, emergence and the collective behavior of automata. As we will see, this second program of research brings together empirical data (Wolfram’s computer experiments), with solid mathematics: the description of the discrete behaviors of 1-D CAs, using systems of non-linear equations (Chua, 2006; 2007).

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