cellular automaton

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A mathematical model of self-replication and destruction, usually represented by a checkerboard of either fixed or infinite dimensions, each cell of which has a finite number of states, usually including a quiescent or empty state, and a finite set of neighbouring cells that can influence its state, the pattern of changes being determined by transition rules that apply simultaneously to all cells in each discrete time unit. The concept was introduced in the early 1950s by the Hungarian-born US mathematician John von Neumann (1903–57), whose cellular automata incorporated universal Turing machines and whose articles on the subject were published posthumously under the title Theory of Self-Replicating Automata (1966). See also microtubule. cellular automata pl. [From Greek automatos spontaneous or self-moving, from autos self]

Subjects: Psychology.

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