Glossary (Game of Life)

Common terms used within Conway's Game of Life.

  • Ash: The debris left behind by a random pattern. Commonly composed of still life and simple oscillators.
  • Breeder: any pattern that exhibits unbounded quadratic growth. The first and most famous example is Gosper's Glider Gun.
  • C: The 'speed of light', one cell per generation. This is the fastest possible speed that any pattern's effects can propagate. Movement in Cellular Automata is measured relative to C. (e.g. C/7 means 1 cell for every 7 generations.)
  • Eater: Still life that can interact with other patterns without suffering any permanent damage.
  • Generation: each iteration of the rules in a cellular automata is called a generation.
  • Glider: The simplest spaceship.
  • Glider construction: the construction of an object by means of glider collisions. There is something special about seeing any empty field, with gliders coming in, colliding and resolving into a specific shape. Reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg device.
  • Gun: a stationery pattern that emits spaceships.
  • Methuselah: a pattern that grows much larger than its starting pattern and lasts many generations.
  • Oscillator: a pattern that repeats itself after a fixed number of generations (known as its period)
  • Pattern: any arrangement or subset of arrangement of live tiles, irrespective of location and orientation.
  • Puffer: A spaceship that leaves behind ash.
  • Rake: A spaceship that leaves behind breeders.
  • Spaceship: a pattern that appears to travel across the board, by performing oscillations that recreate the same pattern, displaced in some direction. They have a period, and a speed.
  • Still Life: any pattern that does not change from one generation to the next.

External Links


Game of Life implementation via nomatteus.