Tick Tock

Notices and disclaimers


Tick Tock and this website are © 2004 Tony Smith, all rights reserved.

It is intended that the content and the specific software used to generate it will be placed in the public domain in due course under appropriate licences, but for the immediate future the project is expected to remain under the control of the author.

For now, the most appropriate place for public comment is the announcement thread at NKS Forum. NKS Forum is also probably the best place to leave private messages for the author which should at least avoid any problems with junk mail filtering.

Under construction

The April 2004 prerelease of this site is as far as I am happy to go before refactoring the Tick Tock database and the programs which generate it and extract data from it. The upgrade is required to enable the database to handle 7-simplex seeds and above, as well as to implement a better defined categorisation of the local topology of nodes produced within joining units during the inflation of 6-simplex and above.

In contrast to the many primarily data-based pages, commentary pages will continue to be added as opportunity arises, although no doubt in fits and starts as is the nature of independent research.

Software considerations

Many of the pages of the Tick Tock site include 3D models to assist visualitation. They are rendered via a quite old Java applet, ChemRote, by John N. Huffman who is still listed as Senior Technology Coordinator, Advanced Visualization Lab, Indiana University. ChemRote was originally developed for use with data maintained by the Indiana University Molecular Structure Center and appears to have been long superceded for that purpose by various flavours of JaMM. However ChemRote remains without peer for visualising wire frame polyhedra and simple graphs.

Valid HTML 4.01!

This is in some ways unfortunate as I have been unable to get ChemRote to work nicely with the standard HTML object tag which is intended to supercede the proprietary applet tag, and is thus the main reason the Tick Tock site only meets transitional rather than strict Web standards. I would very much welcome a more current solution.

The Tick Tock web site uses Unicode characters routinely, so if your system or browser does not properly support Unicode, some parts of the site are likely to be worse than difficult to read.

For those who need to know, the Tick Tock generation data is maintained in and extracted from a MySQL database using Perl programs, all of which are intended to be made available once they have stabilised. Selected data will also be output in Mathematica Graphics3D primitive input form and other relevant Mathematica forms in due course.

It is intended to make much greater use of SVG as the site develops. For now the best way to view the little bit there is is the Adobe viewer, especially seeing the current SVG breaks when using an SVG capable browser which is still the way I plan to go longer term.

Also is the medium term, this site is intended to be served by a content management system based on the new version of my aged TransForum technology.

Related sites

Tick Tock is just the latest of several simple mechanisms I have studied in depth over the years, none since Pattern Breeder from the mid '80s quite to the point of being publication ready, although two others are intended to reach that point sooner rather than later. Tick Tock and Pattern Breeder are both basically Class 2 systems, while the others are more to do with the search for Class 4 which addresses what I see as the importance of Class 4.

Things may not have progressed this far without the motivation provided by the successful publication of A New Kind of Science [Wolfram, 2002].