Self-similarity of Cellular Automata on Abelian Groups
Johannes Gütschow, Vincent Nesme, and Reinhard F. Werner
It is well known that the spacetime diagrams of some cellular automata have a self-similar fractal structure: for instance Wolfram’s rule 90 generates a Sierpinski triangle. Explaining the self-similarity of the spacetime diagrams of cellular automata is a well-explored topic, but virtually all of the results revolve around a special class of automata, whose typical features include irreversibility, an alphabet with a ring structure, a global evolution that is a ring homomorphism, and a property known as (weakly) p-Fermat. The class of automata that we study in this article has none of these properties. Their cell structure is weaker, as it does not come with a multiplication, and they are far from being p-Fermat, even weakly. However, they do produce self-similar spacetime diagrams, and we explain why and how.
Keywords: fractal, abelian group, linear cellular automaton, substitution system, self-similarity