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2011 January 26

New c/5 diagonal technology

In September 2010, Matthias Merzenich found a new c/5 diagonal spaceship, with a minimum population of 58 cells. By this metric, it is the smallest known c/5 spaceship. This spaceship is wide and shallow, by contrast with Nicolay Beluchenko's long, thin c/5 spaceship (the previous smallest).

Matthias' 58-cell spaceship (left) and Nicolay's 67-cell spaceship (right).

More importantly, it has an arrangement of accessible sparks, which can be used to perturb objects. Specifically, it can interact with a glider chasing from behind, and a further ship can modify the resulting prominence to produce another forward-directed glider. Another pair of spaceships in a reflected arrangement can repeat the reaction, restoring the glider to its original lane and timing. This facilitates a dirty puffer with period 1450.

An elegant puffer comprising four copies of Matthias' new spaceship.

Based on this design, Matthias proceeded to engineer a clean c/5 rake, with period 1585 (View image | Download file). It contains two equidistant gliders circulating in a p3170 base loop. The gliders are replicated and positioned to destroy the debris created by the puffer engine.

UPDATE: Matthias has, the day after this article was published, found a c/5 tubstretcher and tubeater!

Matthias' c/5 tubstretcher, based on his (relatively) new spaceship.

2007 September 15

New Period 36 c/3 Puffers

P36 c/3 Puffers David Bell found a new type of Period 36 c/3 puffer engine, and gave some examples that produced a Block, Boat, Beehive and backward rake Glider. Nicolay Beluchenko then showed how the Beehive and Glider rakes could be combined to produce a forward Glider rake.

P36 c/3 backward Glider rake

2006 May 26

Block Puffer

P8 Block puffer Hartmut Holzwart has found a new type of Period 8 Block Puffer.

2006 May 12

Wicks & Fuses
More Puffer Orbits

Here's another batch of puffer orbits found by Jason Summers.

In the following tables, the percentages are approximate, intended to illustrate how common or rare a particular puffer might be. The bit patterns are not the actual puffer, but a simpler pattern which will eventually evolve into the puffer.

c/3 puffers The first puffer presented here is a based on a large Period 3 which moves at a speed of c/3. It also has a slightly smaller Period 12 variation.


P28 puffers The next set of puffers are based on a Period 28 Spaceship.


P2 puffers Another pair of puffers are based on a Period 2 Spaceship previously used to create a Period 8 Glider rake, both of which are shown also.


Tub puffers The final set includes a previously known B Heptomino based Tub puffer.


2006 April 20

Puffer Orbits

Jason Summers has investigated puffer train variants and found some new ones. The strategy was to take a known puffer and add random bits behind it. He calls them "orbits", a term from Chaos Theory where oscillating systems stabilize into a predictable state. The puffers here are referred to by their period and the number of bits added per cycle.

Switch Engine
P288+32 8 Block 71%
P384+59 Forward Glider 29%

He also investigated a number of other puffers. For a single Switch Engine, only the two known variants appeared. Several other puffers, including the Schick Engine, the P16 Coe Ship, and others, produced no new variations.

In the following tables, the percentages are approximate, intended to illustrate how common or rare a particular puffer might be. The bit patterns are not the actual puffer, but a simpler pattern which will eventually evolve into the puffer.

Single B puffers The first puffer presented here is a single B Heptomino supported by a pair of Lightweight Spaceships. This was the first variety of puffer train discovered by William Gosper in 1971 (P140+440). It was only during this survey that Summers discovered a simple spaceship version, featured in a previous posting, was found.


Twin B puffers The next set of puffers are based on the Twin-B Heptomino puffers. The most common one produces the 14 bit Bookends stable object, and was also discovered by William Gosper.


59P4 puffers 59P4H2V0.1 Another set of puffers are based on the 59P4H2V0 Spaceship discovered by Hartmut Holzwart.


2005 June 18

New Compact Corderships

New 5-engine Cordership  David Bell  5 June 2005 David Bell has constructed a new, compact 5-engine Cordership that contains a releasable sideways glider, and has compiled a series of related results. The pattern at the far right shows a number of ways for the Cordership's northeast edge blocks to be suppressed, allowing the sideways glider to escape.

Paul Tooke's 3-engine Cordership turning an LWSS These new results build on other new Cordership constructions recently -- in particular, a small 3-engine Cordership discovered by Paul Tooke (with the help of Paul Callahan's handy 'gencols' utility) on January 12 of last year. David Bell discovered that it can turn an LWSS 90 degrees, as shown here.

Bell has also produced a series of related Cordership-rake patterns: A Cordership-based glider-to-backward-LWSS reaction
A 'beehive-puller' Cordership
A p96 forward glider rake
A new smaller p384 'Freeze-Tag' spaceship
A reaction converting two forward gliders to an HWSS
p192 backward HWSS rake
A p96 backward HWSS rake
A p768 backward HWSS rake
A p96 forward LWSS rake
A p96 forward MWSS rake
An alternate p96 forward MWSS rake
A p768 forward LWSS rake
A high-period Cordership-based feedback loop
A wide thin p96 backward rake
A p288 'litterbug' spaceship
A p96 backward LWSS rake
An alternate p96 backward LWSS rake
A p96 backward MWSS rake based on a loaf puffer
A backward LWSS puffer based on an eater/tub-with-tail puffer

Related to this last pattern, he notes that a line of tub-with-tails "can support one side of a switch engine without being modified. Two diagonal lines of them can support one or more switch engines at the ends, and one line can support a 3-engine wing component."

Update: 24 June 2005 2:20p

A diagonal c/12 p96 glide-symmetric double backward rake
A p96 three-stage tail producing a double-backward-rake spaceship
A p96 block-staircase puffer tail for the double backward rake
A p96 diagonal c/12 period 96 sideways glider-inserter rake
... And an updated version of Jason Summers' c/12 p96 diagonal lineship: see the new posting on this subject.

2005 January 07

New Blinker Puffer

Blinker puffers Harmut Holzwart has found a smaller version (on the left) of a c/2 Period 8 Blinker pair puffer first reported by Chris Lu in August of 2002 (on the right).