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.

Against the grain

:against the grain A term used for negative spaceships travelling in zebra stripes agar, perpendicular to the stripes, and also for against-the-grain grey ships.

Below is a sample signal, found by Hartmut Holzwart in April 2006, that travels against the grain at 2c/3. This "negative spaceship" travels upward and will quickly reach the edge of the finite patch of stabilized agar shown here.

Game of Life pattern ’against_the_grain’

Holzwart proved in 2006 that 2c/3 is the maximum speed at which signals can move non-destructively against the grain through zebra stripes agar.

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.

Rules

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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The Game of Life is also supported by Dotcom-Tools, Load View Testing, Driven Coffee Roasters, and Web Hosting Buddy.

Implemented by Edwin Martin <>