Pigmentation Patterns in
Biological Systems
Objective :
Develop a Java applet which can generate patterns
similar to biological pigmentation patterns.
Methodology:
The applet is based on 2D cellular automata which
will use the Manhattan distance from the cell and an
associated weight in determining the contents of a
single cell.
Each cell is assigned an associated weight based on
the distance to it. Therefore the system has a certain
radius attached to each weight.
The following image displays one possible
configuration for the system, where 4 different weights
are assigned to cells with distance 0,1,2 and 3 from the
primary cell.
It is also possible to assign the same weight to
cells of different distances, such a scenario is shown
below:

The applet can be improved (as
suggested by Wolfram), by using 2 sets of distance
measurements (vertical and horizontal) with two sets of
weights. This it is hypothesized would make it possible
to generate vertical or horizontal stripes as patterns.
Whether the neighborhood of a a cell
has edges or not is not clear in Wolfram's details
regarding the implementation. One possible improvement
is to allow the user to select the type of neighborhood
from a selected set of patterns such as shown below:
