Conway's Game of Life

In this learning project we explore Conway's Game of Life. The game involves an (infinite) two-dimensional grid with black and white squares, which may be represented as 1 and 0. One may think of them as "live cells" or "dead cells". The grid evolves. The evolution rule is as follows:

  • All cells evolve simultaneously
  • Each cell has eight neighbours
  • An alive cell with two or three neighbours continues to live. Otherwise it dies.
  • A dead cell with exactly three neighbours will become alive.
Conway's Game of Life
DesignerJohn Horton Conway
TopicCellular automata
Time5 minutes
No. of roles/players1, viewer
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Conway's Game of Life
Glider Gun

From these simple forms it is possible to create stable and recursive patterns, such as the Gosper Glider Gun (illustrated).

The Game of Life is a prototypical example of a cellular automaton, an automatic machine of cells. It has attracted the interest of researchers in diverse fields. Patterns in Conway's Game of Life have been shown to be capable of emulating a universal Turing machine.

For more details and context, see w:Conway's Game of Life.

Try your hand edit

You may try your hand on the following (finite!) 10x10 toroidal model of the Game of Life by:

  • pressing the "edit this page" button on the top of the page and
  • then the "Save page" button below the editing window.

(If it doesn't seem to work, there may be a cache problem. Try [http:// title=Conway's_Game_of_Life&action=purge purging it] or editing it again. )

Sandbox edit

See also edit