STARS article on UMSL Daily

UMSL Daily recently published an article STARS program caps another successful year summarizing the STARS program this year.

STARS-2012: Final presentation and final reports

The slides of the final presentation of my students in STARS-2012 program can be accessed below. Unfortunately, the animated GIFs in the simulations do now show properly through the slideshare, so to get the full experience, I’d suggest to download the actual powerpoint file (available on slideshare).

The final reports of Yoni and David can be downloaded below:

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate my students, they both have done an excellent job. With no prior background in programming, in only about 6 weeks they managed to learn to program in C++, study the background on cellular automata, produce all of the results, and prepare a great presentation and final reports with only little help on my side. I’m happy I participated in the Students and Teachers As Research Scientists (STARS) program, working with high school students was inspiring and a lot of fun.

Attending presentation sessions of STARS-2012

I’m just attending the presentation sessions of STARS-2012, waiting for the presentation of my students on the game of life and its variants, which looks at population dynamics of various rule sets for Conway’s game of life. I will put online the presentation slides and hopefully also the corresponding papers shortly.

Finishing up the projects, preparing presentations

The projects are getting close to the completion. Looking forward to put the final reports and presentation slides here.

More on game of life

I prepared a small modification to the code that is able to track the percentage of cells that changed their state from the previous time step (shown as the last column). The modifications are not significant, you should look at “num_changed” throughout the code to track them. A link:

I’d like to see some variants of the code with rule modifications by Monday morning. The most challenging but also interesting one would involve more types of living cells, e.g. 2. This would create an opportunity for all kinds of new rules and behaviors, but would also require you to modify the code to track not only the number of living and dead cells, but also the number of cells of each type (or percentage in terms of the number of living cells). The code modification will also require the neighbors to be not only counted, but the system needs to make a count of the different neighbor types.

Example worksheet with the results

Here’s the second program for doing simulations of the game of life:

This version is capable of executing multiple runs, and averaging the results. We will go through the details of the changes, and then show how we can visualize the results in Excel. An example worksheet is shown below (download this and view it). A similar thing can be done in OpenOffice.

Pages about game of life and its variants

Wikipedia page on the basic game of life:’s_Game_of_Life

Here’re a few pages about variations of Conway’s game of life:

Assignment 5

This assignment is due by the next learning session on Monday, June 25, 2012. Please complete the programs on, and send me the links to your programs via email at

Program A10:
Solve problem 7 from Submit the solution directly on the site so that you get it verified, and send me the link to the program you used to compute the solution (just like for previous problems).

Program A11:
Solve problem 9 from Submit the solution directly on the site so that you get it verified, and send me the link to the program you used to compute the solution (just like for previous problems).

Code from learning session 6

Here’s a link to the code from learning session 6:

Code from learning session 5

Here’re the codes from today’s learning session: