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Each pixel of a cellular automaton can be either white or black, corresponding to 0 or 1 as in the binary math used by digital computers. Applying simple rules can result in complex patterns. Cellular automata may offer the algorithmic power to mimic the laws of physics and the evolution of life.

ON A ROLL  Square wheels roll with ease on a geometrically designed track at the National Museum of Mathematics.

Of 61 physicians, hospital staff and medical students asked, "If a test to detect a disease whose prevalence is 1 out of 1,000 has a false positive rate of 5 percent, what is the chance that a person found to have a positive result actually has the disease?" only 14 gave the correct answer — 2 percent.

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