[CLICK HERE to see the 2d Cellular Automata project in the Labs]
Being over twenty years into my career, and having a little downtime, coupled with the back-to-school energy of September, I have been having the time of my life revisiting old visual and math experiments from the early 2000s. This is one of my favorite – a tool/toy for visualizing 2D cellular automata as described by Stephen Wolfram in his book A New Kind of Science.
I put this together in my spare moments on Codepen.io. You can see the pen with fully-editable code here.
Click here to see Langton’s Ant in the Labs.
The above screenshot is taken at just over 10,000 iterations into the animation. Langton’s Ant will, if undisturbed, create a “highway” which will proceed off into infinity unless the world it is crawling wraps at the edges, as this one does.
If you have seen one Langton’s Ant animation you have probably seen them all, though in this one I added a heat map which shows the number of times the Ant has visited each cell. It will take a while to begin to see different colors, and everything will look blue for quite some time. The above screenshot of the heat map was taken at approximately 100,000 iterations.
Click here to access the Trigonometron.
Much to my surprise, when browsing old(!) versions of this site using the Wayback Machine, I found the source code to the Trigonometron, one of the very first experiments I posted online, back at the beginning of 2002. This predates almost all of my Flash experiments, and indeed I ported this one to Flash a few years after I built the original in Dynamic HTML.
I may do a complete update to this project, as it was built for browsers running at 800×600 resolution following an early-2000s aesthetic, which means tiny, tiny text.
You can View Source of the Trigonometron to see what coding looked like in all its glory, back in 2001 and 2002.
This is an update to a post from March 2, 2012.
Click here to access the Langton’s Ants in 3D experiment. Once there, you can right-click on the animation and select “save image as…” to take a screenshot of the Ant trail.
The original post from March 2, 2012, with code breakdown and explanation is here.
Here are a couple more screenshots from later iterations of the algorithm: