A clock emits regular impulses without receiving any input.
Clocks can have different frequencies: this one delivers an impuls every 4th time step.
A diode blocks a flow of electrons, but only in one direction.
This circuit shows a clock, sending impulses to 2 diodes. The upper one lets the flow pass,the lower one blocks the flow.
A NOT gate emits an impulse if there is no impulse on its input.
An OR gate emits an impulse if there is an impulse on one or both of the inputs.
An XOR or exclusive OR gate emits an impulse if there is an impulse on one and only one of the inputs.
An AND gate emits an impulse if there is an impulse on both of its inputs.
A NAND gate is the combination of an AND gate with a NOT gate.
WireWorld is, just as Conway's Life, a cellular automaton.
It is the brainchild of Brain Silverman
, to whom we also own Brian's Brain, another very interesting cellular automaton.
He published the first version of WireWorld in his programme "Phantom Fish Tank" in 1987.
Just as Martin Gardner devoted one of his columns to Life, A. K. Dewdney
publicised WireWorld in January 1990 in his "Computer Recreations" column in Scientific American, thus contributing largely to its popularity.
Like all cellular automata, WireWorld is composed of coloured square cells, laid out on a rectangular grid and a simple set of rules describing the changes that can occur.
While Conway's Life can be rather chaotic with cells moving all over the grid, WireWorld is more static.
As the rules do not allow static ("background") cells to become active, the three types of active cells can only change their colour and do not move all over the grid.
But the most interesting characteristic of Wireworld is that it is especially adapted to simulate the behaviour of electronic and logical circuits.
Given a very large grid, it is possible to simulate a computer (see the More Information
section for an example).
For the time being, making the smallest possible simulations of binary additions and multiplications is one of the fields of investigation in this fascinating world.
But even that is way beyond the scope of this limited (due to the lack of execution speed of JavScript) demonstration, that will only show you some very basic circuits.
If this demonstration could sharpen your appetite to gather more information about WireWorld and cellular automata, it would already have reached its goals.