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The Game of Scintillae: From Cellular Automata to Computing and Cryptography Systems
Gabriele Di Stefano and Alfredo Navarra

The paper deals with a very simple game called Scintillae. Like in a domino game, Scintillae provides the player with limited basic pieces that can be placed over a chessboard-like area. After the placement, the game starts in a sort of runtime mode, and the player enjoys his creation.

The evolution of the system is based on few basic rules. Despite its simplicity, Scintillae turns out to provide the player with a powerful mean able to achieve high computational power, storage capabilities and many other peculiarities based on the ability of the player to suitably dispose the pieces.

We show some of the potentials of this simple game by providing basic configurations that can be used as “sub-programs” for composing bigger systems. Moreover, the interest in Scintillae also resides in its potentials for educational purposes, as many basic concepts related to the computer science architecture can be approached with fun by means of this game.

Keywords: Cellular automata, computational model, computing systems, visual programming, cryptography, boolean circuit, logic gate

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