Conway’s Game of Life is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. It is a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, needing no input from human players. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves.
The Game of Life is implemented on a grid of cells, each of which can be in one of two states: alive or dead. The rules of the game are as follows:
- A live cell with fewer than two live neighbors dies, as if by loneliness.
- A live cell with more than three live neighbors dies, as if by overcrowding.
- A live cell with two or three live neighbors lives, unchanged, to the next generation.
- A dead cell with exactly three live neighbors comes to life.
The game is played by starting with a random or predetermined configuration of live cells on the grid. The game then proceeds in steps, with each cell’s state in the next step being determined by the states of its neighbors in the current step. This process continues indefinitely, or until all of the cells are dead.
The Game of Life is a Turing complete system, meaning that it can be used to simulate any other Turing machine. This has led to a number of interesting applications of the Game of Life, such as the creation of artificial life forms and the simulation of complex systems.
The Game of Life is a fascinating and complex system that has been studied by mathematicians, computer scientists, and biologists for decades. It is a testament to Conway’s genius that a simple game with such few rules can produce such complex and interesting patterns.