Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Computation's New Leaf," by Erica Klarreich. Science News, 21 February 2004,pages 123-124.

Klarreich writes that "Plants may perform what scientists call distributedemergent computation," in which there is no central processor, but instead manysimple units working together to perform complex "calculations." In the case ofplants, the calculations involve problems like how many pores should be openand to what degree. In the article, the behavior of pores is compared to thatof cellular automata.

--- Mike Breen