Conway’s Game of Life

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Game of Life Explanation

The Game of Life is not your typical computer game. It is a cellular automaton, and was invented by Cambridge mathematician John Conway.

This game became widely known when it was mentioned in an article published by Scientific American in 1970. It consists of a grid of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game.


For a space that is populated:

Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by solitude.

Each cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if by overpopulation.

Each cell with two or three neighbors survives.

For a space that is empty or unpopulated:

Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.

More information

Video’s about the Game of Life

Stephen Hawkings The Meaning of Life (John Conway's Game of Life segment)
The rules are explained in Stephen Hawkings’ documentary The Meaning of Life
Inventing Game of Life (John Conway) - Numberphile
John Conway himself talks about the Game of Life

Interesting articles about John Conway

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