Conway's game of LIFE

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Stephen Marsh

May 16, 1986, 11:21:15 AM5/16/86

Here's an enquiry about John Conway's game of LIFE,
a simulation of the birth, life and death of cells placed on
a grid. It was devised about 1970 and was based on the theory
of cellular automata. It became of great interest to a large
number of people after it was discussed by Martin Gardner
in Scientific American (Oct 1970-Mar 1971).

I would like to know if anyone has done or knows of
any investigation into aspects of the LIFE simulation since
the outburst of interest in 1970. If they have, or know of
any book that contains a (not too theoretical) run-down of
cellular automata, perhaps with reference to LIFE, could they let
me know.

Many thanks
Steve Marsh
Steve Marsh,
Department of Computer Science,
PO BOX 220,
University of Reading,

Matthew P. Wiener

May 19, 1986, 5:05:16 AM5/19/86
I'm directing followups to only.

A good reference to LIFE:

Berlekamp, Elwyn R ; Conway, John H ; Guy, Richard K
Winning Ways II: Games in Particular
Academic Press 1982

The last chapter is devoted to the proof that LIFE is universal.
The rest of the book is worth reading anyway. You will learn why
E R Berlekamp is the world's greatest Dots-and-Box player, for

A good reference to cellular automata:

Farmer, Doyne ; Toffoli, Tommaso ; Wolfram, Stephen ; (editors)
Cellular Automata: Proceedings
North-Holland 1984

The latter is a reprint of Physica D Volume 10D (1984) Nos 1&2.
Mostly technical, with interest in physical applications, but the
article by Gosper on how to high speed compute LIFE is quite
intriguing and readable.

Also, Martin Gardner occasionally had an update after his original
article. His newest book, "Life, Wheels, and other Mathematical
Amusements" (???), reprints the latest.

ucbvax!brahms!weemba Matthew P Wiener/UCB Math Dept/Berkeley CA 94720

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