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.
:superstring An infinite orthogonal row of cells stabilized on one side so that it moves at the speed of light, often leaving debris behind. The first examples were found in 1971 by Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Wainwright. Superstrings were studied extensively by Peter Rott during 1992-1994, and he found examples with many different periods. (But no odd periods. In August 1998 Stephen Silver proved that odd-period superstrings are impossible.)
Sometimes a finite section of a superstring can be made to run between two tracks ("waveguides"). This gives a fuse which can be made as wide as desired. The first example was found by Tony Smithurst and uses tubs. (This is shown below. The superstring itself is p4 with a repeating section of width 9 producing one blinker per period and was one of those discovered in 1971. With the track in place, however, the period is 8. This track can also be used with a number of other superstrings.) Shortly after seeing this example, in March 1997 Peter Rott found another superstring track consisting of boats. At present these are the only two waveguides known. Both are destroyed by the superstring as it moves along. It would be interesting to find one that remains intact.
See titanic toroidal traveler for another example of a superstring.
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.
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.
Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.
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).
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.
The Guardian published a nice article about John Conway.
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Implemented by Edwin Martin <email@example.com>