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Let there be Life
March 12, 2014 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Use your name as starting seed in Conway's Game of Life.
posted by Chrysostom (35 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh cool, so it's like how I played it when I was 8 except now I don't have to do a bunch of clicking!
posted by phunniemee at 11:00 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Huh, ":::::" in bold, sans-serif makes for some really symmetric patterns and then stabilizes.

"X" in bold makes a cool symmetric repeating pattern, but only in the lower left-hand corner.
posted by griphus at 11:04 AM on March 12


I entered the alphabet as my name. Made interesting patterns.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on March 12


A large string of lowercase z's produces big flashing lines that gradually decay at the edges and turn into a lively chaotic mess.
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on March 12


Awesome! "aubilenon" sends out a couple gliders!
posted by aubilenon at 11:09 AM on March 12


Oh. Looks like the results depend on the size of your browser. :(
posted by aubilenon at 11:10 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed to find that "muad'dib" didn't crash the app.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:12 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


So, life is played on a torus? Mmmm...donuts.
posted by klausman at 11:22 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Does John Conway hate his Game of Life? (YT) Part of numberphile A Brady Haran video.
posted by poe at 11:22 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


You can turn the wrapping feature off in options, klausman.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:22 AM on March 12


I really love the decay that comes from using
[[[[[]]]]]
with default settings.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:27 AM on March 12


Took a while, but "maryr" finally stablized to th is, except that I can't gif it for you.
posted by maryr at 11:37 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


GIFMaker.me
posted by Chrysostom at 11:39 AM on March 12


Is this where I post this video of the Game of Life running on the Game of Life?
posted by thewumpusisdead at 11:41 AM on March 12 [13 favorites]


A part of me wonders if there are cryptographic uses for such a thing. This is what comes out if I enter my name, but change the lowercase m to a lowercase n and instead, this comes out. Squeeze it down to a binary number and, I dunno, a seed that has nothing to do with primes I guess.
posted by kafziel at 1:03 PM on March 12


Interesting, it morphed into "The Messiah"...
posted by mygoditsbob at 1:19 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


A part of me wonders if there are cryptographic uses for such a thing.

This is all subject to review by knowledgeable math people, but:

Computer cryptography ultimately resolves down to solving problems, using the consequences of certain hard-to-work categories of math problems that are easier to set than to solve. Solve the math, you've cracked the code. Thus, the process of decryption is ultimately that mathematical exploration, although all does algorithmically by the machine. So is the process of simulating Life patterns.

However, the process of setting a "Life problem," presumably one that "decodes" a cyphertext initial pattern into a plaintext pattern solution, is difficult to use in an automated way, and that's in large part what makes computer cryptography useful. So, not at this time.
posted by JHarris at 1:21 PM on March 12


The single character + is far for interesting a seed than Clamboat The Destroyer.
posted by plinth at 1:40 PM on March 12


So if you use the same character with a space or two in between, it doesn't give the same results. Slightly different rendering in different parts of the screen. Interesting!
posted by asperity at 1:59 PM on March 12


And I think that means cryptography with it's right out unless you can ensure that the person on the other end has their browser and screen resolution set exactly the same way you do, right?
posted by asperity at 2:00 PM on March 12


Fabulous! another example of how far computing has come - I wrote a version of this in Basic for the HP2000 Mini computer around 1975 or so, one of my first ever independent programming projects. My version grew in an array of 60 x 60 cells, and it took about a minute to calculate and print each iteration on the 110 baud teletype printer :D
posted by Abinadab at 3:37 PM on March 12


Toroidal geometry. When my Wolfdog spawned its first glider heading out to the boundary I thought that I would be guaranteed to live forever.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:56 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Fabulous! another example of how far computing has come

This is, in fact, either very badly programmed or deliberately running at a fairly slow speed for visibility. An implementation like Golly with modern algorithms can run unbelievably fast.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:58 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Echoing how Golly is great. It uses an algorithm called Hashlife that, I think, works by caching certain subpatterns and their results found as it runs, looking for them throughout the universe after that, and it if finds a matching subpattern, substituting its previously-found result instead of calculating each individual cell. Basically, it trades memory and search time for counter time. If my understanding is correct, it would be great for rules, like Life, that tend to produce a lot of cyclical and static areas.
posted by JHarris at 4:06 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Golly is available on iOS and Android. For free!
posted by JHarris at 4:07 PM on March 12


The best part about Life is how when a glider crashes into something, it actually looks like a little explosion.
posted by rifflesby at 5:07 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


it accepts unicode characters if you want to try some other seeds.
I started with the cyrilic charater Ж and its been running for about 45 minutes now and just keeps launching gliders and starting new shit all over the page.
posted by Abinadab at 5:12 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Interesting. My name stabilizes after a few minutes; my wife's name stabilizes except for one glider which goes on (if I'm allowing things to wrap) to restart the whole centre of the process, creating another glider which gets one of the sides going again, which sends out a glider that...runs into another pattern and vanishes, and then everything stabilizes.

Well, I had a moment where I thought the pattern made by my wife was unstable. But just a moment.
posted by nubs at 5:22 PM on March 12


My lengthy full name goes on for ages, and yeah it was down to a single glider multiple times.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:52 PM on March 12


it accepts unicode characters if you want to try some other seeds.
I started with the cyrilic charater Ж and its been running for about 45 minutes now and just keeps launching gliders and starting new shit all over the page.


Huh. Under what settings? It's stabilizing with a couple minutes for me. Part of this might be window size, but still.
posted by kafziel at 6:38 PM on March 12


window size is right. it scales the the character or characters to some proportion of window size, and you can get radically different results with even slightly different window width...
posted by Abinadab at 11:39 PM on March 12


This is, in fact, either very badly programmed or deliberately running at a fairly slow speed for visibility.

It's all in (unminified!) JavaScript, so we can find out! Turns out the default "Fast" setting is running on a 100ms tick. That's fairly slow by computer standards, yeah.
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 11:58 PM on March 12


I've noticed quite a bit of slowdown in Chrome when I set the pixel size down to about 1 or so.
posted by kafziel at 10:23 AM on March 13


HashLife explained
posted by Wolfdog at 10:44 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I understand about half of that Wolfdog, but I'll keep trying. Thanks for the link!
posted by JHarris at 2:27 PM on March 13


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