Creative Automata. The two words that make up this blog's name and the research lab at the University of Texas at Dallas. I tend to name things that have the potential to be confusing, and ambiguous. The idea is that the ambiguity and tensions that exist in names can give rise to reflection on how words can shape our thoughts. So, as for the word "creative," this word was chosen to emphasize the importance of the process of creation on representation. If I represent computer code, data, or a mathematical formula with hexagonal columns of basalt as elements, it is because I choose to do so as part of my creative output -- not because I believe that this representational mapping might become a universal "visualization" for the masses, or for expedited communication. Think of this as a puzzle, a form of entertainment. There is much to be learned from the creative act in learning. As for the second word "automata," the goal is to take the best features from two connotations of this word: 1) make it so that any machine in the systems-sense can be viewed as an automaton (a view from the theory of automata), and 2) make it so that automata can be both imaginary and physical (a view from mixing the two-millennia old history of automata with the modern mathematical theory). Automata should be a broadly conceived notion.