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.

Factory

:factory Another word for gun, but not used in the case of glider guns. The term is also used for a pattern that repeatedly manufactures objects other than spaceships or rakes. In this case the new objects do not move out of the way, and therefore must be used up in some way before the next one is made. The following shows an example of a p144 gun which consists of a p144 block factory whose output is converted into gliders by a p72 oscillator.

Game of Life pattern ’factory’

This gun is David Bell's improvement of the one Bill Gosper found in July 1994. The p72 oscillator is by Robert Wainwright in 1990, and the block factory is Achim's p144 minus one of its stabilizing blocks. For a block factory using stable components and triggered by an input Herschel, see also keeper.

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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