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Polygence Scholar2021
Nir Reiter's profile

Nir Reiter

Homestead High SchoolClass of 2022Sunnyvale, California



  • "Life Like Simulations Using Cellular Automata" with mentor Cameron (Dec. 18, 2021)

Project Portfolio

Life Like Simulations Using Cellular Automata

Started Sept. 8, 2021

Abstract or project description

I am looking to understand some of the ways life is abstracted, simulated, and measured quantitatively. I want to understand some of the math behind computational biology, including measuring properties related to life such as complexity, structure, and entropy. I hope to deliver a research paper, containing information I learned from other papers, as well as a summary of my own research through my simulation. My simulation will be a cellular automata, because it is simple to calculate and manipulate but very flexible. It is also easier to measure quantitatively, because this simulation consists of concentrations of various chemicals as a set of numbers in each cell. I will collect data in these simulations over time (generations), and with different setups: energy sources in one part of the grid and different sets of reactions. Hopefully complex structures are able to emerge from noise under these conditions. Here is the abstract: The Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction is a family of oxidation reactions that exhibit an oscillating pattern. These reactions are of particular interest in studying life because they exhibit life-like properties, such as complexity, growth, and long-term stability. By researching these reactions, science hopes to uncover simple systems that may be similar to early forms of life on Earth. This paper presents a novel method of including energy gradients in the BZ reaction, and measures the resulting complexity of the reaction using local average entropy. The addition of an energy gradient is promising for studying the life-like properties of the BZ reaction, because energy gradients are present throughout nature and especially in living systems.