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Langton’s ant is a two-dimensional universal Turing machine that can demonstrate complex emergent behavior based on a very simple set of rules. First created by Chris Langton in 1986, Langton’s ant runs on a square lattice of black and white cells. In this coursework, you will implement a generalisation of Langton’s ant in C.
The original Langton’s ant progresses by colouring squares on a plane either black or white. One square is first determined to be the “ant” arbitrarily. This ant can then travel in any of the four cardinal directions at each iteration (step) of the game. The movement of the ant is controlled by the following simple rules:
* When at a white square, turn 90° clockwise, flip the color of the square to black and then move forward one unit.
* When at a black square, turn 90° counter-clockwise, flip the color of the square to white and then move forward one unit.
Following these rules, the ant will move in simple symmetric patterns for the first few hundred iterations of the game, after which chaotic irregular patterns of black and white squares appear. Towards the end, the ant will start steadily moving away from the starting location in a diagonal corridor about 10 cells wide. The ant can then be conceptually moving away infinitely.
An extension to Langton’s Ant involves more general n-state ants. This is also known as the multi-colour version of Langton’s Ant. The squares can be in states 1 through n and for each state (sometimes demonstrated with different colours), “L” or “R” is used to indicate whether a left or right turn is taken by the ant. For instance, in LRRRRRLLR, the ant will turn left on visiting squares in states 1, 7 and 8 and will turn right on squares in states 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9.
When the ant arrives at an “L” square, it turns left and when it arrives at an “R” square, it turns right. After the ant has left a square at state i, the square’s state changes to i+1.
Further details of this can be found in the corresponding paper (https://arxiv.org/pdf/math/9501233.pdf). You do not need this paper to solve the coursework, but you may find it interesting. In order to understand the problem, you may also want to view an online demonstration of Langton’s ant at http://www.langtonant.com/
As part of this assignment, you will have to construct a dynamically-linked library libant.so which implements Langton’s ant, and a program ant that calls the library for all its key functionality.
* Your code should run on Linux. In particular, you should compile & test it on Mira. * You may not use any external libraries aside from ncurses.
Your code should use the existing files and data structures already contained in the repository. You may add additional folder structure if you want, but it is not necessary. If you do ensure that the CI and Makefile continue to work or you will lose marks.
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