Complex Systems

Using Shape Grammar to Derive Cellular Automata Rule Patterns Download PDF

Thomas H. Speller, Jr.
Corresponding author. Electronic mail address: tspeller@mit.edu
Engineering Systems Division,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Daniel Whitney
Engineering Systems Division,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Edward Crawley
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
Engineering Systems Division,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Abstract

This paper shows how shape grammar can be used to derive cellular automata (CA) rules. Searching the potentially astronomical space of CA rules for relevance to a particular context has frustrated the wider application of CA as powerful computing systems. An approach is offered using shape grammar to visually depict the desired conditional rules of a behavior or system architecture (a form-function) under investigation, followed by a transcription of these rules as patterns into CA. The combination of shape grammar for managing the input and CA for managing the output brings together the human intuitive approach (visualization of the abstract) with a computational system that can generate large design solution spaces in a tractable manner.