Somewhere between ecology and computer science a nascent science struggles to be born. Cellular automata provide a simple, yet flexible platform for simulating a large variety of phenomena, some of which resemble ecological processes, at least in a wider sense. One thinks of chemical oscillators, seashell patterns, and epidemics, among other things.

Whether one is discussing lively chemical solutions, seashell patterns, or epidemics, the question inevitably arises as to what degree cellular automata model ecological processes in a useful (i.e., predictive) manner. This crucial point is discussed in the final section of this article.

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