PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2005, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 105-115.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2005.01.012

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Review of the Application of Cellular Models in Landscape Evolution Modeling

HUANG Chong, LIU Gaohuan   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing, 100101, China
  • Received:2004-11-01 Revised:2004-12-01 Online:2005-01-25 Published:2005-01-25


Cellular automata are discrete and dynamical systems that are divided up into small cells with each cell taking a certain state. The basic idea of cellular automata is to reduce a complex system of complex rules into something simpler. The theory of cellular automata was originally conceived by Ulam and Von Neumann in the 1940s to provide a model for investigating the behavior of complex and extended systems. In recent years cellular automata have been increasing in popularity in the study of modeling real phenomena occurring in biology, chemistry, ecology, economy, geology, mechanical engineering, medicine, physics, sociology, public traffic, etc. The extended cellular automata or cellular models have many advantages in landscape evolution modeling. First, cellular models include both spatial and temporal contents which are important factors in landscape evolution. Second, the rules and computation in cellular models are simpler and not so many parameters are required. Third, through the local interactions among cells, cellular models can exhibit a lot of complex phenomena such as emergence, chaos, reproduction, et al. Some disadvantages are also reviewed, which include the uncertainty of influence of cell size and the difficulty in result validation. Despite the deficiencies, cellular models exhibit a good prospect in landscape evolution modeling.

Key words: cellular automata, cellular models, emergence, landscape evolution, modeling