CTU Events

«  September  2019  »
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Back to calendar

LIFE is not at the “border of chaos,” but thrives on the “border of extinction”

23 Sep 2019   11:00-12:30

Cowan's Game of LIFE is perhaps the most complex two-dimensional cellular automata (CA). There exists an informal, even folkloric, view that complex dynamic systems lie at an order-disorder critical line (the "border of chaos") and LIFE has been proposed as an example of such a critical system. Here we show that LIFE is not critical in this sense, but corresponds to a "critical" nucleation phenomenon: it has two coexisting phases (death and alive) competing with each one, with the slow growth of the death phase (the "border of extinction"). We propose that first-order transitions, phase coexistence and nucleation phenomena are better tools to deal with such CAs than second-order phase transitions concepts as done up to now. If we make the analogy, of the collection of CAs as a Multiverse (where each CA is a universe with its own physical rules), then we conclude that complex universes as LIFE are rare and inhabit at very special regions of the Multiverse parameter space.

Zenegerova room (KN:E-107)
Contact person
Alberto Fraile García, frailalb@fel.cvut.cz