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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Bathroom Reader for Computer Science. A µ post.

Poking around for some pictures for my blog entry that talked about the programming language APL and showcasing an implementation of Conway's Game of Life in one line of the language, I came across an implementation of the Universal Turing Machine in The Game of Life.

As I outlined in that entry, the implications for this are deep. The game, a prime example of cellular automata, consists of a tiny rule set of just four rules yet it can 'compute' anything that can be done by any program you could write for a traditional computing environment using more familiar programming languages. I am honestly awestruck every time I think about this.

The author of this particular pattern for the game has a piece in the book Collision-Based Computing edited by Andrew Adamatzky. The description of the book, published by the top notch academic publisher Springer:

Collision-Based Computing presents a unique overview of computation with mobile self-localized patterns in non-linear media, including computation in optical media, mathematical models of massively parallel computers, and molecular systems.

It covers such diverse subjects as conservative computation in billiard ball models and its cellular-automaton analogues, implementation of computing devices in lattice gases, Conway's Game of Life and discrete excitable media, theory of particle machines, computation with solitons, logic of ballistic computing, phenomenology of computation, and self-replicating universal computers.

Collision-Based Computing will be of interest to researchers working on relevant topics in Computing Science, Mathematical Physics and Engineering. It will also be useful background reading for postgraduate courses such as Optical Computing, Nature-Inspired Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Engineering Systems, Complex and Adaptive Systems, Parallel Computation, Applied Mathematics and Computational Physics.

Yummy! As with most Springer books, prepare to have your wallet 'Springered', in this case to the tune of $130.00. Ouch! I've spent enough already on their superb publications in computer science, physics, and mathematics to purchase a nice car, so I suppose I'll spring (ugh! I couldn't help myself!) for this one too.

I you're interested in computation by non-standard methods, some bordering on incredulousness, this sounds like a fun read.

I figure one chapter per visit.


  1. I can think of better things to do on the crapper than read that book. I suspect it would end up in the crapper if I tried to understand it...

  2. @thejeep:
    LOL - your replies consistently crack me up.

  3. Good! I have a saying I go by, it's better to be a smart@ss than a dumb@ss. heh

    You have a good blog here, I enjoy your responses to my comments as well. News article comments are lame, I never get to see what someone says after I say something, due to the article "vanishes" from popularity. (I read whatever the headlines are, and if it grabs me I read the article....)