Natural Computing

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 513–543 | Cite as

Stochastic automated search methods in cellular automata: the discovery of tens of thousands of glider guns

  • E. SapinEmail author
  • A. Adamatzky
  • P. Collet
  • L. Bull


This paper deals with the spontaneous emergence of glider guns in cellular automata. An evolutionary search for glider guns with different parameters is described and other search techniques are also presented to provide a benchmark. We demonstrate the spontaneous emergence of an important number of novel glider guns discovered by an evolutionary algorithm. An automatic process to identify guns leads to a classification of glider guns that takes into account the number of emitted gliders of a specific type. We also show it is possible to discover guns for many other types of gliders. Significantly, all the found automata can be candidate to an automatic search for collision-based universal cellular automata simulating Turing machines in their space-time dynamics using gliders and glider guns.


Emergence of complexity Evolutionary algorithm Universality Cellular automata Glider gun Classification 



The work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom, Grant EP/E005241/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Informatique du LittoralUniversité du LittoralCalaisFrance

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