“We have noticed in nature that the behavior of a fluid depends very little on the nature of the individual particles in that fluid. For example, the flow of sand is very similar to the flow of water or the flow of a pile of ball bearings. We have therefore taken advantage of this fact to invent a type of imaginary particle that is especially simple for us to simulate. This particle is a perfect ball bearing that can move at a single speed in one of six directions. The flow of these particles on a large enough scale is very similar to the flow of natural fluids.”—Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman’s explanation of why cellular automata can be used to model fluid flow. From an article by W. Daniel Hillis, via daringfireball. I had no idea that Feynman worked for Thinking Machines. Most of the really clever people I have worked with have this ability to describe a process or problem in simple terms.

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