Monday, August 29, 2011

Wonders of Mathematics: Game of Life

Game of Life or simply Life is a mathematical game (cellular automaton) created by John Conway in 1970.

Conway created the game because he was interested in a problem presented in the 1940s by mathematician John von Neumann, who attempted to find a hypothetical machine that could build copies of itself and succeeded when he found a mathematical model for such a machine with very complicated rules on a rectangular grid. The Game of Life emerged as Conway's successful attempt to drastically simplify von Neumann's ideas.

It's interesting that the game is called "Life" as scientists also believe that life on our planet started and developed from very primitive and simple organisms.

So how do you play this game? The idea is simple - you choose a number of blocks (cells) and arrange them in a chosen way. Then you can just start the program and see how the system evolves. Cells evolve according to these rules:

1) Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population.
2) Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
3) Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
4) Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

 Different initial configurations can create amazing results, for example:


So if you want to try this game you can find it in the given links:
Link 1
Link 2 (this one's quite cool as it is in 3D)

Thanks for reading!


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