My wife and I leaving for China in the very near future. We're both really excited, I've never been to the eastern hemisphere before and I'm looking forward to experiencing a different culture. The trip will also give Vanessa plenty of opportunities to practice her Chinese.
I'll have a vast array of experiences to share with you, gentle reader, upon our return. So for now I'll leave you with some half finished thoughts. I started no less than three blog posts over the past two weeks, but they are all sitting as unfinished drafts. Here's a brief summary of one of the things I started to talk about. (In the end it turned out to be not quite so brief.)
I've been looking into Cellular Automata recently as a source for complex data interactions. There has been some discussion among cryptographers about the use of cellular automata as possible pseudo random number generators. The best known example of a cellular automata is John Conway's Game of Life and I think it illustrates the kind of complex interactions which can occur within a cellular automaton, even though it is a "universe" with very few rules.
I started to look at the behaviors in Wolfram's rule 30 and rule 110 cellular automata because those have been selected as possible candidates for cryptographic systems. I wrote a program to evaluate patterns produced by these rules in a finite two dimensional field which wraps on both ends. I think I may have found other rules which may also prove promising for cryptographic use, but I need to do more evaluating. I'd ultimately like to use a three, four, or five dimensional system to see if I could build a useful PRNG but I will need to spend considerably more time ensuring that the patterns created by the rules remain complex. In the 2D system I evaluated, the vast majority of rules produces very predictable patterns.
See you when I get back.