Tag Archives: chemlambda

Play with quines in the chemlambda editor

ishanpm made a wonderful chemlambda editor prototype and I enjoyed playing with the 9_quine. It looks like this (screencast, real speed)



You can do the same, or other stuff! You need a mol file to input, for example I took the mol file of the 9_quine from here.  You can pick from lots of them (not guaranteed all of them work yet in the editor, especially those with “bb” in the name), from the chemlambda collection of molecules.

Is much much better than the animation made by hand


I look forward for a convergence with hapax, it would be nice to make a gamelike “feed the quine” where you have the “tokens” which make the reactions happen and you feed them with the mouse to the quine, etc.

Chemlambda and hapax

I wrote an expository text about chemlambda and hapax (and interaction combinators). You can see clearly there how hapax works differently and, as well, clear exposition of several conventions used, about the type of graphs and the differences in the treatment of rewrites.

Chemlambda and hapax

Please let me know if you have any comments.

Hapax chemlambda

Chemistry is a game with a pair of dices.

You roll two dices and act. The dices are permutohedra.

Which leads to ask what certain chemistries (artificial or real) have so special. The conjecture is that (probabilistically speaking) a sizeable proportion of them are special.

For example, we can evade the lambda calculus by choosing one of the  14400 rewrites for ( β with random right patterns) .

Hapax chemlambda!

Stick-and-ring graphs (I)

Until now the thread on small graph rewrite systems (last post here) was about rewrites on a family of graphs which I call “unoriented stick-and-ring graphs”. The page on small graph rewrite systems contains several formalisms, among them IC2, SH2 and system X are on unoriented stick-and-ring graphs and chemlambda strings is with oriented edges. Emergent algebras and Interaction Combinators are with oriented nodes. Pseudoknots are stick-and-ring graphs with oriented nodes and edges.

In this post I want to make clear what unoriented stick-and-ring graphs are, with the help of some drawings.

Practically an unoriented stick-and-ring graph is a graph with colored nodes, of valence 1, 2 or 3, which admit edges with the ends on the same node. We imagine that the nodes have 1, 2, or 3 ports and any edge between two nodes joins a port of one with a port of another one. Supplementary, we accept loops with no nodes and moreover any 3-valent node has a marked port.


If we split each 3-valent node into two half-nodes, one of them with the one marked port, the other with the remaing two ports, then we are left with a collection of disjoint connected graphs made of 1-valent or 2-valent nodes.


These graphs can be either sticks, i.e. they have 2 ends which are 1-valent nodes, or they can be rings, i.e. they are made entirely of 2-valent nodes.


It follows that we can recover our initial graph by gluing along  the sticks ends on other sticks or rings. We use dotted lines for gluing in the next figure.


A drawing of an unoriented stick-and-ring graph is an embedding of the graph in the plane. Only the combinatorial information matters. Here is another depiction of the same graph.marked-graphs-3



9-quine string animation

I use the chemlambda strings version to show  how the 9-quine works. [What is a quine in chemlambda? See here.]





The 9-quine is the smallest quine in chemlambda which does not have a termination node.  There exist smaller quines if the termination node is admitted. For example  the chemlambda equivalent of a quine from Interaction Combinators  which appears in Lafont’ foundational article.

As you see this version is conservative and there are no enzymes.

I shall come back with a post which explains why and how the 9-quine dies. It is of course due to the conflicts in chemlambda, see the examples from the page on chemlambda v2.

Lambda calculus inspires experiments with chemlambda

In the now deleted chemlambda collection I told several stories about how lambda calculus can bring inspiration for experiments with chemlambda. I select for this post a sequence of such experiments. For previous related posts here see this tag and this post.

Let’s go directly to the visuals.

Already in chemlambda v1 I remarked the interesting behaviour of the graph (or molecule) which is obtained from the lambda term of the predecessor applied to a Church number.  With the deterministic greedy algorithm of reductions, after the first stages of reduction there is a repeating pattern of  reduction, (almost) up to the end. The predecessor applied to the Church number molecule looks almost like a closed loop made of pairs A-FO (because that’s how a Church number appears in chemlambda), except a small region which contains the graph of the predecessor, or what it becomes after few rewrites.

In chemlambda v2 we have two kinds of fanouts: FO and FOE.  The end result of the reduction of the same molecule, under the same algorithm, is different: where in chemlambda v1 we had FO nodes (at the end of the reduction), now we have FOE nodes. Other wise there’s the same phenomenon.

Here is it, with black and white visuals


Made by recording of this live (js) demo.

1. What happens if we start not from the initial graph, but from the graph after a short number of rewrites? We have just to cut the “out” root of the initial graph, and some nodes from it’s neighbourhood and glue back, so that we obtain a repeating pattern walking on a circular train track.

Here is it, this time with the random reduction algorithm:


I previously called this graph an “ouroboros”. Or a walker.

2. That is interesting, it looks like a creature (can keep it’s “presence”) which walks in a single direction in a 1-dimensional world.  What could be the mechanism?

Penrose comes to mind, so in the next animation I also use a short demonstration from a movie by Penrose.



3. Let’s go back to the lambda calculus side and recall that the algorithm for the translation of a lambda term to a chemlambda molecule is the same as the one from GLC, i.e the one from Section 3 here. There is a freedom in this algorithm, namely that trees of FO nodes can be rewired as we wish. From one side this is normal for GLC and chemlambda v1,  which have the CO-COMM and CO-ASSOC rewrites


In chemlambda v2 we don’t have these rewrites at all, which means that in principle two diferent molecules,  obtained from the same lambda term, which differ only by the rewiring of the FO nodes may reduce differently.

In our case it would be interesting to see if the same is true for the FOE nodes as well. For example, remark that the closed loop, excepting the walker, is made by a tree of FOE nodes, a very simple one. What happens if we perturb this tree, say by permuting some of the leaves of the tree, i.e. by rewiring the connections between FOE and A nodes.


The “creature” survives and now it walks in a world which is no longer 1 dimensional.

Let’s play more: two permutations, this time let’s not glue the ends of the loop:


It looks like a signal transduction from the first glob to the second. Can we make it more visible, say by making invisible the old nodes and visible the new ones? Also let’s fade the links by making them very large and almost transparent.


Signal transduction! (recall that we don’t have a proof that indeed two molecules from the same lambda term, but with rewired FO trees reduce to the same molecule, actually this is false! and true only for a class of lambda terms. The math of this is both fascinating and somehow useless, unless we either use chemlambda in practice or we build chemlambda-like molecular computers.)

4.  Another way to rewire the tree of FOE nodes is to transform it into another tree with the same leaves.



5. Wait, if we understand how exactly this works, then we realize that we don’t really need this topology, it should also work for topologies like generalized Petersen graphs, for example for a dodecahedron.



This is a walker creature which walks in a dodecaheral “world”.

6. Can the creature eat? If we put something on it’s track, see if it eats it and if it modifies the track, while keeping it’s shape.


So the creature seems to have a metabolism.

We can use this for remodeling the world of the creature. Look what happens after many passes of the creature:



7. What if we combine the “worlds” of two creatures, identical otherwise. Will they survive the encounter, will they interact or will they pass one through the other like solitons?



Well, they survive. Why?

8. What happens if we shorten the track of the walker, as much as possible? We obtain a graph wit the following property: after one (or a finite give number of) step of the greedy deterministic algorithm we obtain an isomorphic graph. A quine! chemlambda quine.

At first, it looks that we obtained a 28 nodes quine. After some analysis we see that we can reduce this quine to a 20 nodes quine. A 20-quine.

Here is the first observation of the 20-quine under the random algorithm


According to this train of thoughts, a chemlambda quine is a graph which has a periodic evolution under the greedy deterministic algorithm, with the list of priority of rewrites set to DIST rewrites (which add nodes)  with greater priority than beta and FI-FOE rewrites (which subtract ndoes), and which does not have termination nodes (because it leads to some trivial quines).

These quines are interesting under the random reduction algorithm, which transform them into mortal living creatures with a metabolism.


So this is an example of how lambda calculus can inspire chemlambda experiments, as well as interesting mathematical questions.