CAM 2: A highly-parallel two-dimensional cellular automaton architecture

Takeshi Ikenaga*, Takeshi Ogura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular automaton (CA) is a promising computer paradigm that can break through the von Neumann bottleneck. Two-dimensional CA is especially suitable for application to pixel-level image processing. Although various architectures have been proposed for processing two-dimensional CA, there are no compact, practical computers. So, in spite of its great potential, CA is not widely used. This paper proposes a highly-parallel two-dimensional cellular automaton architecture called CAM 2 and presents some evaluation results. CAM 2 can attain pixel-order parallelism on a single board because it is composed of a CAM, which makes it possible to embed an enormous number processing elements (PEs), corresponding to CA cells, onto one VLSI chip. Multiple-zigzag mapping and dedicated CAM functions enable high-performance CA processing. The performance evaluation results show that 256k CA cells, which correspond to a 512 × 512 picture, can be processed by a CAM 2 on a single board using deep submicron process technology. The processing speed is more than 10 billion CA cell updates per second. This means that more than a thousand CA-based image processing operations can be done on a 512 × 512 pixel image at video rates (33 msec). CAM 2 will widen the potentiality of CA and make a significant contribution to the development of compact and high-performance systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-801
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular automaton
  • Content addressable memory
  • Multiple-zigzag mapping
  • Real-time image processing
  • SIMD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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