Play John Conway’s Game of Life

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Life Lexicon

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

This Life lexicon is compiled by Stephen A. Silver from various sources and may be copied, modified and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence. See the original credit page for all credits and the original download location. The styling has been adjusted to fit this website.

Fast Forward Force Field

:Fast Forward Force Field The following reaction found by Dieter Leithner in May 1994. In the absence of the incoming LWSS the gliders would simply annihilate one another, but as shown they allow the LWSS to advance 11 spaces in the course of the next 6 generations.

Game of Life pattern ’Fast_Forward_Force_Field’

The illusion of super-light-speed travel is caused by an LWSS that is always created, but is then destroyed in some cases, by a signal catching up to it from behind that necessarily never travels faster than the speed of light. It is not possible to make any use of the apparent super-light-speed signal. The front end of an output LWSS can't be distinguished from the alternative dying spark output until several more ticks have passed. Not surprisingly, this extra time is enough to drop the average speed of information transmission safely below c.

Leithner named the Fast Forward Force Field in honour of his favourite science fiction writer, the physicist Robert L. Forward. See also star gate and speed booster.

John Conway’s Game of Life

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 collection 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.

The Controls

Choose a pattern from the lexicon or make one yourself by clicking on the cells. The 'Start' button advances the game by several generations (each new generation corresponding to one iteration of the rules).

More information

In the first video, from Stephen Hawkings’ documentary The Meaning of Life, the rules are explained, in the second, John Conway himself talks about the Game of Life.

Stephen Hawkings The Meaning of Life (John Conway's Game of Life segment) Inventing Game of Life (John Conway) - Numberphile

The Guardian published a nice article about John Conway.

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Implemented by Edwin Martin <>