Conway's Game of Life

Welcome to! Here you can both read about John Conway's game of life and try it in the simulator below. Feel free to edit the pattern by clicking on the board before you press the run button to start it. The simulator is written with GWT (Google Web Toolkit) which is a Java to Javascript compiler and library. Bookmark and Share

What is the Game of life?

Conway's Game of life was created in 1970 by a British mathematician called John Conway. John Conway extended the work of John von Neumann who had created a machine that operated on a board that could create copies of itself. The rules that Neumann's machine operated under were much more complicated than the rules in Conway's Game of Life.

The game of life become very famous soon after it's creation. Many become fascinated by the fact that the very simple rules that the cells operate under could create order out of chaos and that so complicated patterns could evolve. When home computers become popular soon after the game was published, a lot of implementations become available and the game become a popular screen server.

Conway's game of life is however not only fascinating to look at but is of theoretic interest for mathematics physics, philosophy, economy and many other scientific fields. E.g. it is one of the most famous examples of cellular automata which has become a popular topic to study in computability theory. See Wikipedia for a more in depth article about Conway's game of life,

How does it work?

Wikipedia image showing a famous game of life pattern called the gospers glider gun. This image is published under the GNU Free Documentation License

The following description is taken from Wikipedia.

The universe of the Game of Life is an infinite two-dimensional orthogonal grid of square cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, live or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight neighbors, which are the cells that are directly horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. At each step in time, the following transitions occur:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by underpopulation.
  2. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
  3. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell.

The initial pattern constitutes the seed of the system. The first generation is created by applying the above rules simultaneously to every cell in the seed?births and deaths happen simultaneously, and the discrete moment at which this happens is sometimes called a tick (in other words, each generation is a pure function of the one before). The rules continue to be applied repeatedly to create further generations.


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1. Articles
The fantastic combinations of John Conway's new solitaire game "life" (
An article by Martin Gardner published in Scientific American 223 (October 1970). The article describes how John Conway thought when he created the game and discuss interesting patterns.
Conway's Game of Life - Experiment Garden (
An introduction article to Game of Life. It is illustrated with videos. A very good article to start with.
Life (
Well written article that discusses Game of Life and it's properties as a universal computer. Wonders of Math (
Very interesting and well put article that gives an introduction to Game of Life and describes why it is so interesting from a mathematics perspective.
Game of Life on Wikipedia ('s_Game_of_Life)
A very well formulated article about Game of life. Describes the history of Game of Life and discusses philosophical aspects. Wikipedia is also a very good source for information about cellular automata in general.
2. Web Sites
A Turing Machine in Conway's Game of Life (
This web site is created by Paul Rendell who has created a game of life pattern that simulates a Turing machine. The site describes the pattern and what is needed to extend the pattern so it simulates an universal Turing machine.
Syntience Inc. logo (
Syntience Inc. uses a pair of colliding gliders as an intro to all their movies. Our logo is a solution to the 8-queens problem that can be computed arithmetically. See The movie intro artfully conflates the two phenomena.
Game of Life FAQ (
This website present Game of Life with the frequently asked questions format. The questions are in deed very well formulated as well as the answers.
3. Personal Web Sites (
Blog of the creator of the life wiki The blog contains a lot of interseting posts about Game of Life.
4. Web Browser Implementations
jQuery Life (
This is a javascript/jQuery implementation for modern browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox). Some features include drag and drop patterns, "rainbow" grid, and the ability to store/load a given board as a string.
Conway's Game of Life - 4umi useful Javascript (
Conway's Game of Life as implemented in clear and straight-forward Javascript, featuring step-by-step and continuous generations of life cells and some repeating shapes such as spaceships, the dart and the butterfly.
Conway's Game of Life Pop-up Java applet (
A web site that contains a fast implementation of Game of Life as a Java pop-up applet. The site also contains links to other implementations as well as source code for the applet.
Conway's Game of Life (
A Java applet simulator of the Game of Life that runs in the browser. The source code for the Java Applet is available on the web site as well.
5. Implementations
MorkaLork (
A webbased JQuery implementation of Conways Game Of Life. Configurable and working!
Life32 (
A popular game of life program for windows. It is future rich. Alan Hensel's famous Java applet has been the basis for the generation generating algorithm.
Golly (
Maybe the best Game of Life program available. It is open source and run on all major operating systems (Windows, Linux and Mac OS). It has a lot if interesting patterns in it's pattern archives. It implements fast Game of Life algorithms such as HashLife.
6. Pattern Archives
Otis Arron Schmakel's Very First GoL on the WEB (
George Maydwell's Author, which I used to create my LIFEPAGES, is an HTML-generating JAVA applet (you should have a link to it as well: George Maydwell's WebSite, Modern Cellular Automata: As far as I know, I have the ONLY archive of HTML pages made with George Maydwell's Author.
Game of Life Information (
A really informative site. It has a big pattern archive with animated GIF images as illustrations. This site has a news section where the author writes about newly discovered game of life patterns etc.
7. Other
go fuck ur self (
my country is banned from opening this page but surprise! cuz i can see this page , so, go fuck YOURSELF
Webmonkey - Game of Life in Javascript ( writes about this site in an article.
Conway's Game of Life Spaceship Gun on (
A video that shows a big and very beautiful space ship gun pattern. The video really gives the feeling that life exists in Conway's Game of Life.
Game of Life Wiki (
A wiki dedicated to Conway's Game of Life. The wiki contains a lot of patterns as well as historic information and all other Game of Life related things.
Open Dictionary Project Game of Life (
A lot of Game of Life links.

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