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.

Soup

:soup A random initial pattern, either contained within a small area, or alternatively filling the whole Life universe.

Finite soups probably have behaviors very different than infinite soups, but this is obviously unknown. Infinite soups may remain chaotic indefinitely since any reaction, no matter how rare, is bound to happen somewhere.

Soups can have an average density, with results varying based on that. See sparse Life for a discussion of what can happen at a low density.

Finite soups for sizes such as 16×16 (asymmetric) have been examined by the billions by scripts such as apgsearch to find interesting results. Many new oscillators and synthesis recipes have been discovered, as well as previously known rare patterns such as stabilized switch engines. In addition, soups are used to generate statistical census data, and to decide whether specific objects can be considered natural.

Soups can be fully random, or they can be forced to be symmetric. The results for these two types of soups can differ since symmetric soups tend to create large symmetrical objects at a much higher rate. Shown below is an unusual mirror-symmetric soup that produces a pufferfish and nothing else.

Game of Life pattern ’soup’

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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Implemented by Edwin Martin <>