Game of Life

  • Matthias Ruth
  • Bruce Hannon
Part of the Modeling Dynamic Systems book series (MDS)


In the previous two chapters we modeled physical systems whose structure built over time and then changed drastically in response to some random external force, such as an additional grain of sand falling onto a sandpile, or a random shock in a system, leading to an earthquake. Following drastic change in the structure of the system, the system organized itself to a state at which it was relatively stable again, at least over a short period of time. Analogies. can easily be drawn between such self-organizing physical systems and biological and ecological systems. But rather than pursue analogies in the context of the sandpile and earthquake models, let us set up a new model that focuses on two features of natural systems that are closely related to self-organized criticality, and essential for the maintenance of order in ecological systems.


Cellular Automaton Random Shock Black Neighbor Black Cell Forest Fire Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    E. Schrödinger, What is Life, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1944.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J. von Neumann, Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1966.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    W. Poundstone, The Recursive Universe, Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1985.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    P. Bak, K. Chen, and M. Creutz, Self-Organized Criticality in the “Game of Life,” Nature 342. 780–782, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    M. Ruth, and F. Pieper, Modeling Spatial Dynamics of Sea Level Rise in a Coastal Area, System Dynamics Review 10:375–389, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    P. Bak, K. Chen, and C. Tang, A Forest Fire Model and Some Thoughts on Turbulence, Physics Letters, 147:297–300, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Ruth
    • 1
  • Bruce Hannon
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Energy and Environmental Studies and the Department of GeographyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations