Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Preprint ims95-1

D. Gale, J. Propp, S. Sutherland, and S. Troubetzkoy
Further Travels with my Ant

Abstract: We discuss some properties of a class of cellular automata sometimes called a "generalized ant". This system is perhaps most easily understood by thinking of an ant which moves about a lattice in the plane. At each vertex (or "cell"), the ant turns right or left, depending on the the state of the cell, and then changes the state of the cell according to certain prescribed rule strings. (This system has been the subject of several Mathematical Entertainments columns in the Mathematical Intelligencer; this article will be a future such column). At various times, the distributions of the states of the cells for certain ants is bilaterally symmetric; we categorize a class of ants for which this is the case and give a proof using Truchet tiles.
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