G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Cellular automata with complicated dynamics

List of Authors: Kopra Johan

Publisher: Turku Centre for Computer Science

Place: Turku

Publication year: 2019

eISBN: 978-952-12-3891-8

URL: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-12-3891-8

A subshift is a collection of bi-infinite sequences (configurations) of symbols where some finite patterns of symbols are forbidden to occur. A cellular automaton is a transformation that changes each configuration of a subshift into another one by using a finite look-up table that tells how any symbol occurring at any possible context is to be changed. A cellular automaton can be applied repeatedly on the configurations of the subshift, thus making it a dynamical system.

This thesis focuses on cellular automata with complex dynamical behavior, with some different definitions of the word “complex”. First we consider a naturally occurring class of cellular automata that we call multiplication automata and we present a case study with the point of view of symbolic, topological and measurable dynamics. We also present an application of these automata to a generalized version of Mahler’s problem.

For different notions of complex behavior one may also ask whether a given subshift or class of subshifts has a cellular automaton that presents this behavior. We show that in the class of full shifts the Lyapunov exponents of a given reversible cellular automaton are uncomputable. This means that in the dynamics of reversible cellular automata the long term maximal propagation speed of a perturbation made in an initial configuration cannot be determined in general from short term observations.

In the last part we construct, on all mixing sofic shifts, diffusive glider cellular automata that can decompose any finite configuration into two distinct components that shift into opposing direction under repeated action of the automaton. This implies that every mixing sofic shift has a reversible cellular automaton all of whose directions are sensitive in the sense of the definition of Sablik. We contrast this by presenting a family of synchronizing subshifts on which all reversible cellular automata always have a nonsensitive direction.