Rendering Huge Cellular Automaton Universes

Date started: 2016
Leads: Alexander Holroyd, Janko Gravner


Gosper’s extraordinary Hashlife algorithm allows the evolution of certain cellular automaton configurations to be computed to trillions of steps, on universes with octillions of cells (far larger than can even be stored in memory by conventional means).  This power offers the potential for stunning and highly informative visualizations, but determining how best to illustrate such huge universes is a research challenge. Even in the simplest approach, each pixel of an image must represent a huge number of cells – how should its color be chosen?



  • J. Gravner and A. E. Holroyd. Percolation and disorder-resistance in cellular automata. Ann. Probab., 43(4):1731-1776, 2015.