On the Parity Problem in One-Dimensional Cellular Automata

Heater Betel
(University of Ottawa, Canada)
Pedro P. B. de Oliveira
(Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Brazil)
Paola Flocchini
(University of Ottawa, Canada)

We consider the parity problem in one-dimensional, binary, circular cellular automata: if the initial configuration contains an odd number of 1s, the lattice should converge to all 1s; otherwise, it should converge to all 0s. It is easy to see that the problem is ill-defined for even-sized lattices (which, by definition, would never be able to converge to 1). We then consider only odd lattices.

We are interested in determining the minimal neighbourhood that allows the problem to be solvable for any initial configuration. On the one hand, we show that radius 2 is not sufficient, proving that there exists no radius 2 rule that can possibly solve the parity problem from arbitrary initial configurations. On the other hand, we design a radius 4 rule that converges correctly for any initial configuration and we formally prove its correctness. Whether or not there exists a radius 3 rule that solves the parity problem remains an open problem.

In Enrico Formenti: Proceedings 18th international workshop on Cellular Automata and Discrete Complex Systems and 3rd international symposium Journées Automates Cellulaires (AUTOMATA&JAC 2012), La Marana, Corsica, September 19-21, 2012, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 90, pp. 110–126.
Published: 13th August 2012.

ArXived at: https://dx.doi.org/10.4204/EPTCS.90.9 bibtex PDF
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