Consider a finite but arbitrary number of identical finite state machines (soldiers) arranged in a line.
At time t = 0, each soldier is initialized to the quiescent (idle) state, except for the soldier on the far left (the general). The state of each soldier at each discrete time-step t > 0 is dependent on its state and the state of its two neighbors at time t - 1 (except for the two soldiers at either end, each of whose state depends only on itself and its sole neighbor). In addition, if a soldier and its neighbors are in the quiescent state, then the soldier will remain quiescent at the next time-step. The problem is to define a finite set of states and state transition rules for the soldiers such that all soldiers enter a distinguished state (fire) at the same time and for the very first time.