The Game of Life

July 7, 2009

Just one year ago a friend showed me John Conway’s Game of Life, a game for zero players. It’s an AI pattern generator that imitates micro-life behaviour: self-organitation and emergency. It became widely known when it was mentioned in an article published by Scientific American in 197o, in the “Mathematical games” section. After the “boom” it was considered the best example of a cellular automaton. It is specially interesting for scientists, mathematicians and economists, because it allows them to observe how complex patterns are created from very simple rules.

The Game Rules

For a space that is ‘populated’:
Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by loneliness.
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.

This rules generate some patterns that repeat the same shapes all along its life:


Download GOLLY (free software) and create some funny interactive art with it:





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