Computer scientists as far back as the 60s and 70s have pondered
the little 1's and 0's that make up software and thought, "These simple binary digits make programs, can they randomly organize and possibly even make
themselves?" Long nights thinking about how complexity builds on itself led one mathematician, John Conway, to create Life the world's first
computerized cellular automata-based video game. To explore the idea he thought of life in the universe and tried to simplify the process by asking,
"What would happen if I took a 2D grid of cells where the state could be either 'on' or 'off,' applied a set of rules, and let it run? Could it
eventually become so complex to mimic the processes necessary to build itself?" Following the theme of how life perpetuates itself, he came up with
Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population
Any live cell with two or three
live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
Any dead cell
with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.
When Conway finished programming he started "Life" and was
treated to a multitude of emergent geometrical patterns and complex unplanned behaviors that slowly evolved the longer the program ran. The animation
above is one such example of the types of results that came from his efforts.
Years later this humble design would be mimicked by numerous game companies. Following the basics of the idea (originally pioneered by Drs. Ulam and
von Neumann) game studios have managed to create vastly more advanced simulations like Majesty
and the Sims. The same underlying principle is even used in military war games, played yearly at
Don't get the wrong impression though ‒ there's more to the field of cellular automata than just games. Over the past several decades it's become a
serious business. The subject is now researched by cryptologists, mathematicians, and has been offered-up by physicists like Dr. Edward Fredkin as an
explanation for how our universe's physical rules evolved as a sort of "digital
physics." Another field exploring cellular automata is the burgeoning realm of sound research.
The first cellular automata based audio experiments weren't much more than simple finite state machines making lots of annoying beeps and buzzes. It
didn't take long for the design to be refined and applied to mathematically beautiful structures like fractals.
The more recent developments though are much more interesting. One researcher, Batuhan Bozkurt, is truly pushing the state of the art. His most recent
project Otomata not only generates emergent music it does it with style,
In his own words,
Otomata is a generative sequencer. It employs a cellular automaton type logic I’ve devised to produce sound events.
Each alive cell has 4 states: Up, right, down, left. at each cycle, the cells move themselves in the direction of their internal states. If any cell
encounters a wall, it triggers a pitched sound whose frequency is determined by the xy position of collision, and the cell reverses its direction. If
a cell encounters another cell on its way, it turns itself clockwise.
This set of rules produces chaotic results in some settings, therefore you can end up with never repeating, gradually evolving sequences. Go add some
cells, change their orientation by clicking on them, and press play, experiment, have fun.
If you encounter something you like, just press “Copy Piece Link” and save it somewhere, or better, share it! www.earslap.com...
The process is simple, elegant, and as the man said, "shareable." I've experimented with several patterns related around spirals and the results are
nothing short of amazing. Here's one ( www.earslap.com... ) that was an attempt to
mimic a Ulam spiral. If I don't say so myself it's beautiful. For a more visually appealing piece
I'd highly recommend www.earslap.com... .
But enough with the talk! The real reason I'm posting this to ATS is to see what others can come up with. Go at it folks! Report back and let us know
what you find.
edit on 17-4-2011 by Xtraeme because: (no reason given)
I love this thread and I am having a great deal of fun with the software but I cannot seem to find the 'clipboard' where the URL to my 'composition'
is. Can anyone help with this? Thanks so much for turning me on to the idea of cellular automata and the otomata. Super cool
Heh, I thought I used to remember ATS had a little button on the bottom right of each post asserting a copyright or something to that affect. Well
I'm sure the guy who wrote the program is farming for good beats.
You definitely have a knack for coming up with the beats! That's some good mojo. Once you finish the song it would be cool if you posted it here
on ATS. I'd love to compare. I'm sure Batuhan would be pleased to know his application is being used to help inspire real music.
This is addicting!!!! I making a few people mad here I think, Ive got this thing jamming out while they are in bed,and Im half asleep: but I figured
out how to make a key hit every note around the board
check these out
I messed around till I found the right spot to put these things
It's amazing what this thing can do. The oscillators are really powerful, but I've been trying to figure out how the program encodes it in the URL.
Here are a few links that create an oscillator all by their lonesome:
That creates an oscillator in column 4 (with a 0 based index). So the number is the indice. I guess that means an oscillator is a pattern of two tiles
that move on top of each other? What I'm not so sure about is the letter. The letter sometime seems to indicate direction, other times it indicates a
row position. =/
edit on 17-4-2011 by Mishmashum because: (no reason given)
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