am 21. September 1998
This is a nice collection of wolframs work on cellular automata (which first appeared as a number of papers in various physics journals). It is a nice coverage of cellular automata, but it would have been nice to give more credit to von Neuman for his pioneering work in cellular automata theory.
There is also an annoying habit for all of his work to concentrate on deterministic cellular automata, and the mathematics is constrained to this. Recent work has indicated that the origin of complexity in our universe is from random sources that are preserved.. not that the complexity all came from the initial conditions.
It is especially interesting to note in his book how the different rules of cellular automata play out to create varying degrees of complexity. It takes a very specific rule set indeed to allow for interesting complex behaviors to show up, as evinced by the long search Conway undertook to discover "life".
Hopefully Wolfram will comment on the recent research that indicates that complexity is introduced into our universe through nondeterministic phenomena. He also should have presented Fredkins ideas about reversible computation to more fully flush out the relationship between cellular automata, computability and reversibility.