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  • Adam Goucher
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2011 January 11

Engineered Objects
Swimming with Switch Engines

David Bell has assembled a Cordership-based puffer and period-256 swimmer factory to create a growing swimmer lane. A swimmer, by the way, is a switch engine stabilised by two tracks of boats. Period 256 is the lowest possible period for swimmers to follow each other; it is completely serendipitous that there is a reasonably small gun of this size.

David Bell's extensible swimmer channel

Almost instantaneously afterwards, he designed a new type of breeder based on a fuse. After a while, Dave Greene provided an appropriate fuse, enabling the construction of this gargantuan breeder. Again, this design utilises switch engines, and superficially resembles an earlier breeder by Dean Hickerson.

Specifically, the frontal puffer lays down a fuse, which is reburned at a slower rate to produce a wave of parallel switch engines, positioned such that they partially clean up the debris of adjacent switch engines. The overall principle is similar to the 'frozen MWSS rake' that appeared years ago on LifeNews, but adapted to form a breeder, as opposed to a rake. It is thus not a great leap of imagination to refer to this as a 'frozen breeder'.

Here is a rather large image of the breeder, rotated by pi/2 radians:

David Bell's frozen breeder