Seeds issue #2

Page 31


Most people know Turing for his work in AI, codebreaking, or for Turing machines, but, as if he didn't contribute to academic imposter syndrome enough, he also produced seminal work in theoretical biology, with a single paper, entitled "On the chemical basis of morphogenesis". Morphogenesis is the biological process of how organisms grow into their specific shape. Turing's contribution to this was a reaction-diffusion model of morphogenesis, describing the diffusion of two different chemicals, one activating growth and one deactivating it, decades before such a thing was actually observed.

When you hear the idea of a mathematical model of morphogenesis you may be lead to the idea of simulating such a system to grow a creature or a plant, but unfortunately this would require a significant leap in our current understanding. Morphogenesis’ immediate interest to procedural generation is instead in some of the patterns it can produce, including different types of stripes, spots, spirals, and hexagons. These 'Turing patterns' can bare a striking resemblance to patterns found in nature and can look quite organic; one of the parallels of most obvious interest to procedural generation being the similarities to animal skins, such as leopard skin, the spots on giraffes, and zebra fish.

The discretized version of the Gray-Scott model for the simulator


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