Friday, December 26, 2008

A Game of Life, Multicored, Ultra Processor

Conway's Game of Life, a system where each cell's value depends on both it's current state and it's neighbors, is the most popular cellular automaton ever created. It has been mathematically proven to be capable of universality, meaning basically within the rules of the game, any algorithmic process can be simulated and solved, given enough time and space. As the dimensions of the grid expand, conventional linear computers (like a desktop) have difficulties evaluating successive time steps within a reasonable amount of time. A possible solution to this problem is to create linkable hardware based modules, each with their own processor, which when combined could process exceedingly complicated scenarios. Given enough space, one could simulate entire computer systems or even neural networks like the human brain. Packed with a high enough density, a cellular automata based system could conceivably act as the ultimate multicored computer, literally consisting of possibly millions of individual processors. Unlike convention computer designs, there is no centralized instruction decoder in a CA based processor, nor any centralized memory. If one module malfunctions, the rest of the system will continue to run. Larger assemblies of modules would directly lead to more computing power and would be limited only by propagation delays in communication between modules. Trivial modular Game of Life circuit boards are readily available from various sites. These forms were only intended as a graphical excitement - something to be attached to a wall as a decoration. While primitive, they properly illustrate the essential concept of the idea. Lacking high refresh rates and being extraordinarily large and expensive for the computing power they could provide, one would have difficulties attempting to compile these devices into a working virtual world. In our laboratories, here at Nova Conceptions, we are working on high density / high speed versions which could form the basis of a multicored network of super processors, as well as the most awesome rendering of a graphical Game of Life simulation ever performed. I will post results as events progress.

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