Cellular Automata

So there's this guy. Called Stephen Wolfram. He's English (don't blame him). A child prodigy. He gets a degree in theoretical physics at 17, his Ph.D. from Caltech at 20, and a MacArthur "Genius Grant" at 21. He invents what is possibly one of the finest computer algebra systems the world ever sees, and never has to work again... if he doesn't want to.

But he does. He slaves away in his (probably very, very, fine) den or home office, working on his magnum opus. Eventually he'll call it "A New Kind Of Science," and alienate his peers with his sweeping pronouncements and his bizarrely confrontational writing style (he didn't cite in the text, as is conventional in the fields of science and mathematics, but rather in an absurdly outsized appendix). It'll be printed by his own company, rather than a conventional science publisher, and elicit many... less than perfectly pleased reviews.

In it, he'll discuss why discrete systems (using finitely divided time and/or space dimension) are just as interesting-if not as more than-continuous systems. Particularly, he will discuss the cellular automaton. This is an interesting creature, wherein its behavior is regulated by a verrrry simple rule: that of iterated matrix-multiplication. This is fun stuff, but not exactly world-beating.

Now, however, he-or his disciples-have set it all to music. You, too, can be the beneficiary of Wolfram's unlimited largesse. Go here to get funky on the cellular automata like an old batch of eigenvalues.

In case you didn't know, I read his book on the plane back from London one time... I'm pretty sure the dude has gone 'round the bend. I think he's absolutely brilliant, and completely, bat-shit, crazy.

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