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2011 May 24

The Return of

Nathaniel Johnston's website,, is now back online, so the forums are accessible once again. Moreover, the homepage is updated with relevant blog entries from his blog, b3s23life, and even LifeNews itself!

Scaled-down screenshot of Nathaniel's refurbished website

2009 August 31

Progress of the Online Soup Search

Over the last couple of months, Nathaniel Johnston's Online Soup Search for Conway's Life has been hunting for 20x20 random "methuselah" patterns, using a modest-sized distributed network -- a good fraction of the spare CPU cycles of perhaps a dozen computers. As of the end of August, the server has tallied the final stabilizations of over 111 million random 20x20 Conway's Life "soups", totaling over three billion Life objects (still-life, oscillator, or spaceship). This is slowly approaching the scale of Achim Flammenkamp's earlier random-ash census project from a decade and a half ago -- which represented an impressive amount of dedicated CPU time for 1994.

Version 1.03 of the soup-search script is now available. It's a Python script that will run on the current version of Golly for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Version 1.03 displays much more detail about the progress of the current search.

Methuselah survival times appear to fit a simple inverse exponential sequence. Lifespans between 1000(N-1) and 1000N are about twice as frequent as lifespans between 1000N and 1000(N+1) -- for a wide range of N. Version 1.03 of the script continuously updates an on-screen table of these frequencies, starting at N=5. It is an open question how far this relationship continues, or whether a larger sample will yield a more precise approximation of the curve.

Continue reading "Progress of the Online Soup Search" More

2006 August 12

Game of Life Turing Machine Website

Paul Rendell has again made available his Game of Life Turing Machine document.

2006 April 09

Website Update

I've updated my Game of Life Info website. I've made quite a few formatting changes, as well as adding some new information. There are now several thousand new Period 2 objects in the database that I've come across in my P2-Oscillator Rotor investigations, as well as a number of new oscillators and spaceships found by others these past few months. I've also started a section on the subject of P2-Rotors, as well as cleaning up and updating the text on Glider Constructions. In the next few months, hope to add to both of these areas.

2006 February 28

Life Lexicon Update Announcement

Life Lexicon Update Announcement
Stephen Silver has made available an update (Version 25) to his Life Lexicon.

2005 October 06

Application Announcement

Tomas Rokicki has announced the release of a new version of Golly, the cross platform Game of Life program written by him and Andrew Trevorrow. From his announcement:

The important changes:

  • Saves patterns (RLE or macrocell formats).
  • Displays comments in pattern files.
  • Windows app can read gzipped pattern files.
  • Simple cell selection and editing.
  • Scrolling via hand cursor.
  • New tool bar buttons.
  • Numerous bug fixes and interface improvements.

The distribution now includes a pattern collection (still under development). Many of the current patterns show off Golly's hashing capabilities.

2005 July 28

Website Announcement

Nick Gotts has put together a new weblog based site, Natural History of Conway's Game of Life, in which he will be presenting some of the results of his investigations into simple starting pattern. The first posting deals with "Patterns with Eventful Histories", patterns which can interact in non-periodic ways and which have been followed for up to 2^36 (over 137 billion) generations.