Sunday, 6 May 2012

Exploring Discrete Dynamics - The DDLab Manual

I'm currently writing a review of Andy Wuensche's classic text Exploring Discrete Dynamics: The DDLab Manual for the Journal of Cellular Automata. In the book you'll learn about all sorts of interesting things such as 3D glider guns in the Beehive Rule, as well the whole field of discrete dynamic networks (random Boolean/multi state network, cellular automata etc.).

Glider-Guns in the Beehive Rule 3d Cellular Automata (Image courtesy of Andrew Wuensche)

In my book review I'll be writing about how I use DDLab and its functions in the context of my practice-based research in complex systems.  You can get the PDF free or buy the book online e.g. Amazon. While you're at it you should get a copy of the DDLab software, as well ALL of Andy's papers and books available as PDF's on his Publications Page. Dont forget to click on the Make A Donation button!

Wiring of cell in a Random Boolean Network (Image courtesy of Andrew Wuensche)

From the back cover:

EXPLORING DISCRETE DYNAMICS is a comprehensive guide to studying cellular automata and discrete dynamical networks with the classic software Discrete Dynamics Laboratory (DDLab), widely used in research and education. These collective networks are at the core of complexity and emergent self-organisation. With interactive graphics, DDLab is able to explore a huge diversity of behaviour, mostly terra incognita -- space-time patterns, and basins of attraction -- mathematical objects representing the convergent flow in state-space. Applications range within physics, mathematics, biology, cognition, society, economics and computation, and more specifically in neural and genetic networks, artificial life, and theories of memory.


"Andrew Wuensche has, in an important sense, done more than anyone to enable the study of discrete dynamical systems such as cellular automata and random Boolean nets. Wuensche derived the mathematical means to compute the "predecessor" states that flow to a successor state. Thereby he opened the door to study the entire state space flow of discrete dynamical systems. DDLab is a marvellous and useful tool for all of us fascinated by discrete dynamical systems and what they may tell us of mathematics and the world."
STUART KAUFFMAN, author of "The Origins of Order", MacArthur Fellow, FRSC, University of Vermont, USA. Tampere University of Technology, Finland.

"There is a whole universe of complexity that is captured by discrete dynamical systems, which have been widely used as a powerful framework to understand reality from different perspectives. Exploring Discrete Dynamics is a great example of how to dive in this neverending universe. A careful, compelling and detailed presentation of examples and methods will help both beginners and scholars to get into this fascinating field."
RICARD SOLE, Author of "Signs of Life", Complex Systems Lab, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

There are two reviews of the DDLab software available:

Andrew Adamatzky in KYBERNETES, Vol.28, No.8 and 9, 1999.

John E. Myers in COMPLEXITY, Vol.3, No.1, Sept/Oct 1997.