Wonders of Math - The Game of Life
What is the Game of Life? by Paul Callahan Rules of the Game of Life Life is played on a grid of square cells--like a chess board but extending infinitely in every direction. A cell can be live or dead. A live cell is shown by putting a marker on its square. A dead cell is shown by leaving the square empty. To apply one step of the rules, we count the number of live neighbors for each cell. A dead cell with exactly three live neighbors becomes a live cell (birth). Note: The number of live neighbors is always based on the cells before the rule was applied. In Life, as in nature, we observe many fascinating phenomena. The rules described above are all that's needed to discover anything there is to know about Life, and we'll see that this includes a great deal. Life Patterns A good way to get started in Life is to try out different patterns and see what happens. The R-pentomino is the first pattern Conway found that defied his attempts to simulate by hand. How Complex Can Life Get?