
Cellular automata were invented in the late 1940s by two mathematicians, John von Neumann and Stanislaw Ulam, working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States. Cellular Automata (CA) are dynamic systems which are discrete in space and time, operate on a uniform, regular lattice and are characterised by "local" interactions.
A CA system consists of a regular grid of cells; each can be in one of a finite number updated synchronously in discrete time steps:
Different kind of problems can be approached using cellular structure and
rules: spatially complex systems (e.g., landscape processes),
discrete entity modelling in space and time (e.g., ecological systems,
population dynamics) or emergent phenomena (e.g., evolution, earthquakes)
CA consist of different elements, they are:
As summarised by A.K. Singh (2003), a cellular automata model can be
represented as the following quadruple:
Then the state of a cell at time (t+1) is a function of it state at time t of its neighbourhood and of the set of transition rules: