The Game of Life

The Game of Life is a ‘cellular automaton’, which was invented by John Conway in 1970.

It consists of a collection of cells which is in one of two possible states, alive or dead. These cells are based on a few mathematical rules as below.


The Rules

"For a space that is ‘populated’ (live cell)"

Each live cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by under-population.

Each live cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if caused by overcrowding.

Each live cell with two or three neighbors survives.


"For a space that is ‘empty’ or ‘unpopulated’ (dead cell)"

Each dead cell with three live neighbors becomes populated, as if by reproduction.


Advantages of CA

Intuitive to visualize (2D/3D) spatially

Easy to communicate

Simple to create/ theory is simple

Can model random variation perhaps better than equation


Disadvantages of CA

Difficult to analyse

Difficult to apply to real world

Utility of simulation is limited

Cannot make specific predictions


CA is...

・Good for understanding mechanisms

Simple system which can give highly variable outcomes

Complex global behavior from local interaction

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