Undecidable Properties of Limit Set Dynamics of Cellular Automata

Authors Pietro Di Lena, Luciano Margara

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Pietro Di Lena
Luciano Margara

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Pietro Di Lena and Luciano Margara. Undecidable Properties of Limit Set Dynamics of Cellular Automata. In 26th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 3, pp. 337-348, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2009)


Cellular Automata (CA) are discrete dynamical systems and an abstract model of parallel computation. The limit set of a cellular automaton is its maximal topological attractor. A well know result, due to Kari, says that all nontrivial properties of limit sets are undecidable. In this paper we consider properties of limit set dynamics, i.e. properties of the dynamics of Cellular Automata restricted to their limit sets. There can be no equivalent of Kari's Theorem for limit set dynamics. Anyway we show that there is a large class of undecidable properties of limit set dynamics, namely all properties of limit set dynamics which imply stability or the existence of a unique subshift attractor. As a consequence we have that it is undecidable whether the cellular automaton map restricted to the limit set is the identity, closing, injective, expansive, positively expansive, transitive.
  • Cellular automata
  • Undecidability
  • Symbolic dynamics


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