It's Life, Jim, but not as we know it
January 4, 2005 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Beyond Life [Java]. Mirek's Cellebration is an beautiful applet for exploring all sorts of cellular automata. Source code and standalone version also available.
posted by Wolfdog (7 comments total)
Related topic covered earlier.
posted by Gyan at 7:47 AM on January 4, 2005

Another Java Application for this is Cafun. A bit slow, but also very user-friendly for the beginner.

On the complex side, this project emulates a basic computer using the Wireworld CA rules.
posted by skyline at 10:01 AM on January 4, 2005

Cool stuff! To quote taz in the earlier post on cellular automata,

"These were fun blinky lights that moved across the screen."

My favorite pattern is "Larger than Life". Mmmm... patterns... When John Conway first introduced this idea (called "Game of Life") in 1970, it was to be done using pencil and paper, or small counters and a Go board. Since then, of course, it's become a fun programming project. See the Mathworld page for more background on cellular automata. For example, there used to be a $50 prize offered to anyone who could find a finite pattern that produced infinitely many cells. (Sorry, the contest expired 35 years ago, and yes, such patterns do exist).
posted by math at 1:42 PM on January 4, 2005

Would that be the first glider gun?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2005

Cool. I used to do 1DCA's on giant pieces of graph paper years ago, and have actually planned on starting this week to translate some to canvas, using the rule set as the painting's title.

I don't wish to spend too much time with that software as I want to work on finding beautiful rule sets.
posted by sourwookie at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2005

Wow, note you can make your own rules from a bunch of different types of CA with that applet. Really cool, thanks!
posted by freebird at 8:00 PM on January 4, 2005

To sonofsamiam: yes, I'm pretty sure the glider gun was the first example of a finite pattern producing infinitely many cells; my link to MathWorld above also has a neat animation of a puffer train. Check out
this interior page on puffers for a larger animation (and a discussion on c, the "speed of life").

These were discovered around 1970-1971; I'm not sure which came first. Perhaps Martin Gardner's books give the correct chronology.
posted by math at 8:04 AM on January 10, 2005

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