1. Read "Incredibly Useful Advice for Physics Students Writing a Senior Thesis." This is a perfect application for the netbook. Kinda the whole reason you bought it.
2. Use the blog to collect your thoughts and codify your effort. Conceive, Believe, Achieve are more than just words. It has worked before and it will work again. Particularly for a goal that lends itself to being split into "doable chunks."
3. Collect references for the bibliography and comment on them.
4. Construct an outline and or table of contents for (Working Title) "Cellular Automata Using Optically Routed NOR Gates."
a. Purpose - Demonstrate a technology for implementing sequential and combinatorial logic circuits from novel components that are comprehensible to an early engineering education audience. Including how to construct a simulation program.
b. Survey of previous work by others
c. My work to present date
d. How it works in hardware.
e. Example circuits leading to and including CA
f. Utilizing MIT open course resources to suggest a curriculum for a hands on digital logic and elementary computer science class for pre college students.
5. Overcome reticence in taking next steps. The secret to edge triggering sequential circuits was in your previous research from 1995. What you did and can do takes precedence over what you read and what people tell you is possible. (I am generalizing something that happened to me in second person voice, hmmmmm). Oh, well.
6. Query the SPIE conference representatives? I think that was how I got started last time. A mentor or collaborator would be nice.
7. Build the the 51 NOR gate board.
8. Simulate 1D CA in Cedar.
9. Work on simulator in Scheme.