Random Art
May 15, 2013 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Turing Drawings is a simple web app that uses Turing Machines to draw randomly generated compositions on a digital canvas. The results vary from stuff like striking static designs, organic forms that slowly devolve in to chaos, repeating animations, and systems with complex interactions. If you find a combination that you like, you can copy and paste the URL in the lower right hand corner of the site to share it. The creator, Darius Bacon, has some other cool stuff that mixes computer science with the humanities on his blog.
posted by codacorolla (71 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's sort of a 'ghost in the shell' element to this that I'm really digging. I love the organic chaos throughout.

How perfect would this be in tandem with the new Daft Punk album? Maybe I'll finally understand what happened to my head when I listened to 'Motherboard' and 'Contact'.
posted by mysticreferee at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2013


Neat!
posted by phatboy at 6:22 PM on May 15, 2013


I got a cool one!
posted by capricorn at 6:24 PM on May 15, 2013


Oh and the Unknown Pleasures cover! (Although it's possible that when you stare at a monitor long enough, everything becomes Unknown Pleasures.)
posted by capricorn at 6:26 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This one is pleasingly minimal.
This one is hypnotic, like bubbles rising in a glass of beer.
posted by Stove at 6:31 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


A circle racer
posted by srt19170 at 6:42 PM on May 15, 2013


Some that I like
posted by treepour at 6:45 PM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


The circle racers seem to be a feature of (5,5). Check this one out. It's been running for about ten minutes in my browser doing all sorts of fascinating things.
posted by srt19170 at 6:46 PM on May 15, 2013


you guys i drew a tree
posted by louche mustachio at 6:53 PM on May 15, 2013


If you want to understand what this thing is really doing, press the 'Slower' button as many times as it will go. Then you can watch the head of the Turing machine walk along the two-dimensional "tape", marking symbols as it moves.

This looks basically like a generalization of Langton's ant. Are there any cellular automata experts around that could give their opinion?
posted by narain at 6:55 PM on May 15, 2013


the power is out and the roof is leaking
posted by louche mustachio at 6:57 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


mmmm, randomy.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


i can't quite bring myself to conclude my broadcasting day
posted by louche mustachio at 7:03 PM on May 15, 2013


Huh, this one's rather appealing, don't you thi
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:04 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


It washes over the lines.
posted by merocet at 7:05 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I made a broken LCD panel.
posted by ZaphodB at 7:14 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


i left this one running when i went to the kitchen and when i came back something had grown
posted by louche mustachio at 7:20 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd fork that.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 7:26 PM on May 15, 2013


A good number of these made my brain Snowcrash.

But this one reminds me of stock market listings in a newspaper.
posted by hanoixan at 7:29 PM on May 15, 2013


prickle waves
posted by louche mustachio at 7:29 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Perhaps the Turing-machine equivalent of the blue-screen of death.
posted by superelastic at 7:44 PM on May 15, 2013


This has the read/write head bouncing around a lane in the middle, slowly eating away at the edges, arkanoid style.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


These would be the best possible loading screens / transition screens for a cyberpunk game or movie.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:51 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isometric hell melts

Isometric canyon emerges.

Molecular typewriter. Looks a little bit like proto Game Of Life. By far the most cellular automaton-looking I've seen, it keeps evolving.

Never ending escalators in an escalator factory. Stairs on stairs. Very very cool.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:03 PM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Something like rain falling on a window.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:09 PM on May 15, 2013


Sometimes it looks like "It's growing!".
posted by benito.strauss at 8:26 PM on May 15, 2013


I am concerned that mine might say something about my personality.
posted by Graygorey at 8:31 PM on May 15, 2013


A walking pyramid sea, of sorts.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:40 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Might want a "holy shit don't look at this thing if you're prone to seizures" warning on that "repeating animations" link. I've never had a seizure before but damn that thing made my head swim.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nobody show this to Stephen Wolfram.
posted by symbioid at 9:59 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, Boards of Canada has a new album coming out in June, yeah? And I was thinking of eating some umm, natural and organic "food" while listening to them, and I think these might be some very interesting things to watch while listening and humming along to that food.
posted by symbioid at 10:00 PM on May 15, 2013


This looks basically like a generalization of Langton's ant. Are there any cellular automata experts around that could give their opinion?

This is more general than Langton's ant. Langton's ant works as follows: given a sequence of colors, and turning instructions for each color, start with a grid of cells of one color. The ant starts on some cell with a given orientation. Each step, it (1) changes that cell to the next color in the sequence, (2) changes its orientation either left or right based on the instruction for that color, then (3) moves one space forward according to its orientation.

For instance: red (L), blue (R), yellow (L) means that when the ant gets to a red cell, it will change that cell to blue, then turn left and step. It will hit another cell, blue maybe, change it yellow, and turn right. The sequence of colors is cyclical - if the ant gets to a yellow cell, that cell will become red.

These 2D Turing machines can have an arbitrary number of states as well as symbols. The state can be thought of as a current mode of operation for the machine. What happens each step is determined by two things: current state of the machine, and color of current cell. Like Langton's ant, each step the color changes and the location changes, but in this case, the state also changes each step. The rules for determining what happens isn't just a list that's cycled over; instead, the Turing machine has a lookup table for state and color. For each combination of state and color, there is a next state, next color, and direction to move. (Actually the state, color, and location don't have to change each time, and some of them could stay the same.)

Essentially, the difference is that Turing machines have this behind the scenes thing going on with the state: for each state the Turing machine can be in, there is a distinct set of rules governing where to move and how to change colors.
posted by gnidan at 10:03 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of this makes me think of weaving a bit, and then I start to think of Jacquard looms and ... I don't know where I'm going with this, but...
posted by symbioid at 10:14 PM on May 15, 2013


The pedant in me read this post and thought, oh - images created using a computer? Thanks. But now I see that it is specific to Turing Machines as the image is a 2D representation of the Turing Machine's 1D data tape. Interesting, thanks.
posted by iotic at 11:12 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, cool. Pink and black! Pretty slow, goes on for quite a while before devolving into static.

This one is just hypnotizing. (Oh, wait, I had it on slow - seizure warning on fast mode!) And completely stable, I think.

Trying to find the longest-lived moving complex patterns. This one's still going strong after half an hour.

And this one goes downhill quickly in comparison, but man is it pretty - just slow it down. :)

This is too much fun!
posted by po at 11:55 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


as someone who has recently been taking slit-scan photos of TV static, thanks for this...i will be having the fun with this.

aww...a doodlebug!

god bless a good random button.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:44 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of this makes me think of weaving a bit, and then I start to think of Jacquard looms and ... I don't know where I'm going with this, but...

were you thinking maybe of this? ~^
posted by sexyrobot at 1:03 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The real art here isn't the drawing. It's the troll/tease of putting a computer online but only letting people press a "random" button to program it.
posted by DU at 4:25 AM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


X marks the rot
posted by louche mustachio at 5:15 AM on May 16, 2013


it falls up.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:18 AM on May 16, 2013


Punctuated equilibrium. Frequent local catastrophes, occasional global ones, never seems to quite settle down.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:30 AM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


oooh, I like this... Also I like this drawing.
posted by jonbro at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2013


po: "Okay, cool. Pink and black! Pretty slow, goes on for quite a while before devolving into static."

Totally EGA colors! Awesome :)
posted by symbioid at 8:54 AM on May 16, 2013


Kind of a creepy one
posted by burnmp3s at 10:21 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glitch city
Staircase fight
Conveyor belt
Weird quadrants
posted by burnmp3s at 2:19 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


my friend created a fork where you can cross breed programs
posted by jonbro at 3:10 PM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


While Darius Bacon* added some improvements, it's actually by Maxime Chevalier, who has a nice follow-up post. Credit where credit is due and all.

* Who has plenty of cool stuff of his own :)
posted by silentbicycle at 8:50 PM on May 16, 2013


city blocks
posted by louche mustachio at 10:01 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Michael, row your pinwheel boat quilt, ashore...
posted by symbioid at 10:37 PM on May 16, 2013


you suck at pong
posted by louche mustachio at 1:29 AM on May 17, 2013


The Sinking of the Bismuth
posted by louche mustachio at 1:34 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


ghosts of electric trees tidy up
posted by louche mustachio at 1:42 AM on May 17, 2013


Gothy-ass Sierpiński triangle
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:02 AM on May 17, 2013


paused VCR
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:16 AM on May 17, 2013


look on my works, ye mighty, and despair
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:19 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


and oh shit you know that thing where you play tetris too long and you start seeing falling blocks behind your closed eyelids? I think I'm starting to get that. time to go outside!
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:33 AM on May 17, 2013


jonbro, that fork is exactly what I had wished for. Some of these patterns are begging to be tweaked or bred with one another.

Speed it up and wait. This one gets interesting. I got it from repeatedly mutating the thing that louche mustachio grew upthread. Which, by the way, I have left running for days. Animated gifs of its evolution to come!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:22 AM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


This variant is interesting too. It's interesting how the bright segments here grow easily in ordered areas, but die out in chaos. I feel like there's a lesson in here about entropy and life, or something.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:07 AM on May 17, 2013


A guy running really, really slowly
posted by Nossidge at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2013


I really could watch this all day.
posted by Nossidge at 7:21 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think someone has a message for me, but I can't read it
posted by louche mustachio at 9:01 PM on May 17, 2013


nibbling scavengers keep your skin clean
posted by louche mustachio at 9:14 PM on May 17, 2013


lair of the hypnotoad
posted by louche mustachio at 9:22 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


viscous tide
posted by louche mustachio at 9:40 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


rift
posted by louche mustachio at 9:52 PM on May 17, 2013


mountain weather
posted by louche mustachio at 9:52 PM on May 17, 2013


son of a birch

you still suck at pong

snow poem

defective shampoo

eroding pyramids

green machine

cyan factory

cities rise and fall

our instruments indicate that we need new instruments

snake tapestry (long)

Aaaaaaand I officially have a headache now.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:49 AM on May 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I ported these over to python to make a screen-saver type thing and wow I did not realize how much faster canvas is at pixel-level changes than pygame/SDL. I did a a few performance optimizations and I'm still not able to get it nearly as fast as the canvas version. I did find this cool fractal one when I was working on it though (run it slow because it gets covered up quickly).
posted by burnmp3s at 4:04 PM on May 18, 2013


That fractal one rules. I'd love to see it in a larger space.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2013


louche mustachio: "lair of the hypnotoad"

That's very very accurately named!
posted by symbioid at 10:40 PM on May 19, 2013


Mountain goes to Mohammed.

(best at just a touch over slow speed... the level where you no longer see the "pen")
posted by symbioid at 11:03 PM on May 19, 2013


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