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.

Negative spaceship

:negative spaceship A type of signal travelling through a periodic agar such as zebra stripes. The leading edge of the signal removes the agar, and the trailing edge rebuilds the agar some time later. The distance between the two edges is sometimes adjustable, as shown in lightspeed bubble. The central part of the "spaceship" may consist of dying sparks or even simple empty space.

Below is a sample period-5 negative spaceship, found by Hartmut Holzwart in March 2007, in a small stabilized section of zebra stripes agar:

Game of Life pattern ’negative_spaceship’

The "spaceship" travels to the left at the speed of light, so it will eventually reach the edge of any finite patch and destroy itself and its supporting 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 <>