Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Game of Life

The Game of Life is a computer simulation devised in the 1960's by the British mathematician John Horton Conway. It's a very good example of how a few simple rules can quickly create order out of chaos. The simulation takes place on a 2-dimensional grid divided into cells. Each cell has eight neighbouring cells and can be either "alive" or "dead". The rules which determine it's fate are very simple:

  • If a cell has one or no living neighbours, it will die of loneliness.
  • If it has too many neighbours - four or more - it will die from overcrowding.
  • New cells are "born" whenever an empty square has exactly three living neighbours.

This clip shows a Game of Life Grid in action:

You can create your own grid by going to the website here

In this interview, John Conway gives his thoughts about the Game of Life:

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