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Where do I start?

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Where do I start?

Postby Mandelbrot » March 15th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Hello. My name is Mandelbrot and I really want to be a helpful part of the CGOL community, but I've never really done something like this before, and I really wanna help find cool patterns, particularly oscillators. However, I don't really know how... and I really don't wanna feel like dead weight, so I think that I could use some help. Personally, I think a good starting point for me would be putting a bubble inside of a grayship, but I don't know if that's too hard or easy or what, so I'd like some help/feedback.
P. S. Sorry if my wording is a bit off, i'm pretty nervous right now.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby AforAmpere » March 15th, 2018, 6:28 pm

Mandelbrot wrote:Hello. My name is Mandelbrot and I really want to be a helpful part of the CGOL community, but I've never really done something like this before, and I really wanna help find cool patterns, particularly oscillators. However, I don't really know how... and I really don't wanna feel like dead weight, so I think that I could use some help.

Welcome to the forums! I guess a good thing to start off with is to understand how the rules work in Golly, that is essential to a large part of the community, as well as learning the basics of speed. Terminology is helpful to know as well, and the Life Lexicon is pretty useful for that. Contributing really depends on what interests you. I find Other Cellular Automata really fascinating, and spend most of my time here working with other rules than Life, with a few contributions. Some others seem to be pretty focused on Life, but it really depends on what you think is interesting to explore.
Mandelbrot wrote:Personally, I think a good starting point for me would be putting a bubble inside of a grayship, but I don't know if that's too hard or easy or what, so I'd like some help/feedback.

Unfortunately, unless there is some C/2 Against-the-grain bubble, the bubble inside a greyship is impossible, as bubbles travel only at C with-the-grain.
Things to work on:
- Find a (7,1)c/8 ship in a Non-totalistic rule (someone please search the rules)
- Find a C/10 in JustFriends
- Find a C/10 in Day and Night
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby 77topaz » March 15th, 2018, 6:42 pm

AforAmpere wrote:Unfortunately, unless there is some C/2 Against-the-grain bubble, the bubble inside a greyship is impossible, as bubbles travel only at C with-the-grain.


A 2c/3 against-the-grain bubble is known to exist, at any rate, so your final statement is incorrect.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby dvgrn » March 15th, 2018, 6:58 pm

Mandelbrot wrote:Personally, I think a good starting point for me would be putting a bubble inside of a grayship, but I don't know if that's too hard or easy or what, so I'd like some help/feedback.

As AforAmpere says, "unless there is some C/2 Against-the-grain bubble", you might run into some trouble with that one.

I mean, you can put a pattern like that together with no problem at all... but at the moment negative spaceships in zebra stripes are only known to move at 2c/3 or light speed, and greyships can't move faster than c/2 though they may be slower.

If ship and bubble speed don't match, the construction isn't going to last very long (though that could be fun to watch, too, of course.)

To match the bubble speed to the greyship speed, you'd have to use an against-the-grain grayship and invent a new slower kind of negative spaceship (it's been discussed before).

Mandelbrot wrote:Hello. My name is Mandelbrot and I really want to be a helpful part of the CGOL community, but I've never really done something like this before, and I really wanna help find cool patterns, particularly oscillators. However, I don't really know how...

I kind of think my previous attempts to answer questions like this tend to scare people off, but maybe I can learn from my mistakes.

The link in the previous paragraph was basically a pointer to a recent open problems list, with the usual difficulty that open problems are the ones that are so difficult that not even the experts know how to solve them (!).

If we try to stick with the "searching for oscillators" idea, well, it looks like nobody has tackled writing a tutorial for the relevant search software yet (LifeWiki Tutorials page). We should really fix that. There's a link for "WLS", but it's red, and maybe JLS (JavaLifeSearch) would be the version of lifesrc that's accessible to the largest number of people, anyway.

Maybe a set of about half a dozen problems, with increasing difficulty, would be a good way to put together a tutorial. We've had a few cases covered recently that could be borrowed for that purpose, like

On Discord, Blinkerspawn wrote:I'm trying to find a specific p4 using WLS. How can I make it so if it's oriented like / in gen 0 it's the same pattern oriented like \ in gen 2?

Start with a few problems like "complete this p3 billiard table", showing what all the JLS settings look like.

Then maybe work up to showing how to find a diagonally-symmetric period-8 oscillator that makes a nice from-the-side domino spark and fits in a 10x10 bounding box... basically to get the idea across that whatever weird spark you might want an oscillator to have, you can certainly search for it, and you might even find it.

------------------------------------

... Of course, speaking now for the "me" part of the CGoL community, I can think of all kinds of ways that someone could be helpful. It's just that it's mostly a lot of rather tedious maintenance work that I don't want to do (all of) myself -- like reviewing huge piles of LifeWiki articles and seeing if anything new from the Life Lexicon needs to be added, or building templates for the 64 remaining glider guns in LifeHistory format to finish the automatic p14-p999 gun-builder script.

That's certainly very honorable work, though -- and for sure anyone who works on a project like that will know a lot more about CGoL by the time they're done!
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Mandelbrot » March 16th, 2018, 4:20 pm

Wow, thanks for the help and suggestions to help me get started! I just have one question. While I was browsing the tutorial pages on LifeWiki, I found this sentence...
Tutorials/Glider syntheses wrote:It is one of the few areas in the Game of Life that many discoveries can still be made without using scripts.

So... does this mean that other categories don't have many more discoveries or something? I hope not!

Anyway, thanks guys.

Edit: Sorry that my posts are pretty short even though i'm replying to long, detailed and helpful answers.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Mandelbrot » March 16th, 2018, 4:58 pm

Okay, so I downloaded a CGOL search tool, WLS. I was trying to test the waters with what I could do, so I took a lightweight spaceship, removed the upper left dot, and hit 'Start', expecting just a LWSS to come out. I instead got a big p2 oscillator. (No problems with this, i'm sure there's a setting to change what the output is, no big deal.) So, I loaded it in Golly and it just does that thing where the resulting pattern is just the shape of the text. How do I fix this so I can run it in Golly? Here's the pattern file WLS gave me:
V 56
35 15 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
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O 1 4 16 73
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O 1 5 16 150
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O 1 6 15 117
O 1 6 16 208
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O 1 7 15 73
O 1 7 16 81
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O 1 8 13 2
O 1 8 14 2
O 1 8 15 150
O 1 8 16 158
O 1 8 17 1
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O 1 9 7 2
O 1 9 8 2
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O 1 9 10 2
O 1 9 11 2
O 1 9 12 2
O 1 9 13 2
O 1 9 14 2
O 1 9 15 81
O 1 9 16 0
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O 1 10 13 2
O 1 10 14 2
O 1 10 15 208
O 1 10 16 14
O 1 10 17 0
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O 1 11 14 2
O 1 11 15 158
O 1 11 16 0
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O 1 11 34 0
O 1 12 0 2
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O 1 12 8 2
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O 1 12 13 2
O 1 12 14 2
O 1 12 15 0
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O 1 13 0 2
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O 1 13 12 2
O 1 13 13 2
O 1 13 14 2
O 1 13 15 8
O 1 13 16 0
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O 1 14 0 2
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O 1 14 14 2
O 1 14 15 2
O 1 14 16 0
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O 1 14 32 0
O 1 14 33 0
O 1 14 34 0
T 0 1050
E
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby dvgrn » March 16th, 2018, 6:27 pm

Mandelbrot wrote:So, I loaded it in Golly and it just does that thing where the resulting pattern is just the shape of the text. How do I fix this so I can run it in Golly? Here's the pattern file WLS gave me...

That looks more like a WLS save file than a Golly-compatible pattern -- though I haven't looked at a WLS save file for a long time, so don't quote me on that.

I know how it works in JLS, anyway. In WLS, if you select your p2 oscillator and copy it -- Edit > Copy or Ctrl-C? -- you should get standard-looking RLE out, which you can paste into Golly.

Some other basic questions about WLS got answered a while back when muzik was asking them.

---------------------------------------

On the making-discoveries-without-scripts question: there are actually lots of places where you can make discoveries, or build new things, without having to run a search program or write a script. A good example might be finding new ways to pack existing conduits and logic circuits into a smaller space, or build something with new functionality, like (recent examples) a Toffoli gate or a new gun period.

That said... once you know what you're looking for, instead of looking at a lot of things by hand, the odds are good that a little script-writing could get a computer to help you sort through the possibilities a lot quicker.

Case in point: the 2-engine Cordership _might_ have been found manually, but it was a lot quicker to run a search.

Even a lot of glider syntheses these days get help at least from lookup scripts like chris_c's, that check lots of 3- and 4-glider collisions to find the ones that make (let's say) a small spark or active reaction that looks like the piece you're missing, from a soup result found in Catagolue.

So that tutorial quote is kind of right and kind of wrong, and in any case it definitely doesn't imply that there are no more discoveries to be made. It's just that the odds are getting pretty low that someone sitting down at Golly for the first time will just scribble out something manually, and run the pattern, and see some amazing new discovery that everybody gets really excited about. Better results will come, eventually, if you take your time and figure out what corner of Life you're most interested in.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Majestas32 » March 16th, 2018, 10:53 pm

of course you could go my way too and just explore random OCA rules
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby KittyTac » March 19th, 2018, 9:15 am

Non-totalistic CA are fun. http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/Isotropi ... _automaton There are some that I call "observatory" CA, like B2cek3i/S12-ak. Seed it on a 1500x1500 torus and just watch.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby dvgrn » March 19th, 2018, 10:12 am

KittyTac wrote:Non-totalistic CA are fun. http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/Isotropi ... _automaton

I've been hoping people would stop calling isotropic CA rules "non-totalistic". They definitely are non-totalistic, but the isotropic non-totalistic rules are only one out of (2^512/2^102). Less than one non-totalistic rule in a googol is a good symmetrical one that you can write in Hensel neighbors2 notation.

I think I lost that battle a long time ago, though.

Most of the rest of non-totalistic space seems to be kind of unpredictable and not too interesting, unfortunately -- has anyone come up with a MAP rule that supports anything interesting like signal circuitry yet? That would be pretty weird -- might need different signal types for different directions of travel, and so on.

... Anyway, hey, stop trying to steal all the new people interested in Conway's Life! I need to train up more replacements for the "old guard", who seem to have mostly gone into retirement sometime in the last decade.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby blah » March 19th, 2018, 11:44 am

If you would like to work on a small machine (maybe 2000*2000 at most) that counts to an incredibly large but provably finite number, like Graham's Number or something, before reducing itself to 1 cell, I would then (presumably) be able to use this idea to create a 1-cell predecessor to that machine, which would then shrink down to 1 cell, which would create a new machine and so on.

It would be a 1-cell c/(some huge number) spaceship. Hopefully 1c/x. What I've been unable to do is imagine how that machine would even work, on a basic level; coming up with an idea for how it would work doesn't really require all that much knowledge of Golly. But maybe this is all too intimidating.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby KittyTac » March 19th, 2018, 9:20 pm

dvgrn wrote:... Anyway, hey, stop trying to steal all the new people interested in Conway's Life! I need to train up more replacements for the "old guard", who seem to have mostly gone into retirement sometime in the last decade.


They might not have the dedication for it. Remember, a spaceship (I don't remember, maybe the spaghetti monster?) was found by running a search for a month straight.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Apple Bottom » March 20th, 2018, 5:47 am

KittyTac wrote:They might not have the dedication for it. Remember, a spaceship (I don't remember, maybe the spaghetti monster?) was found by running a search for a month straight.


Yes, Tim Coe indicated that he'd invested "one or two months" of CPU time to find that one. But most searches don't take THAT long... or do they?

That said I think focussing on just Life, or other specific (well-known) CAs, is more interesting for a different reason: once you move beyond Life and into outer-totalistic, or isotropic non-totalistic, Life-like CAs in general, you're also putting the cart before the horse, in a way. You're not taking a rule and looking for interesting patterns anymore; you're taking a pattern (generally a *class* of pattern) and then trying to identify a CA where that pattern exists.

But there's a large number of CAs out there. So it's perhaps not altogether unsurprising you can find one where your desired pattern can exist. (The converse -- the pattern in question being provably impossible in any CA of the class considered -- never seems to be discussed much on the forums. I don't even think this is due to publication bias, it's just that such proofs are generally hard, and require more than just the ability and willingness to run search programs.)

What's more, even if you find a specific CA where your pattern works, that doesn't necessarily tell you a lot. Why does it work in that one? What others does it work in, what others can't it work in? Charting the map of CAs would be a worthwhile endeavor, but that's rarely done either.

TL;DR --- I think there's a choice to be made between depth of exploration -- focussing on one CA, such as Life -- and breadth of exploration -- considering many different CAs at once and trying to isolate common features, traits, and characteristics. Searching for *specific* patterns in *any* OT / INT Life-like CA is neither.

So my suggestion is to stick to Life, or other well-known, well-investigated, interesting CAs. Such as Day & Night, that one really needs more love. :)
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby KittyTac » March 20th, 2018, 10:48 am

Or Snowflakes. There's lots of research going on there.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Majestas32 » March 20th, 2018, 12:22 pm

turro
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby danny » March 20th, 2018, 3:24 pm

Personally it's best to let them decide which area they want to contribute, rather than plugging rules just because.

I would suggest familiarizing yourself with basic Life terms, as well as some discoveries, before tackling OCA, since Life has pretty much every type of growth. You may want to check the Life lexicon, as well as LifeWiki.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Majestas32 » March 20th, 2018, 4:42 pm

^^ this
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby 77topaz » March 20th, 2018, 4:53 pm

danny wrote:Personally it's best to let them decide which area they want to contribute, rather than plugging rules just because.


Well, the whole point of this thread was Mandelbrot asking the other users how they could contribute. :P But, "helpful part of the CGOL community" does suggest they are most interested in CGoL itself as opposed to OCA.
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Gainey » March 23rd, 2018, 11:53 am

You're making a lot of sense, Danny. Did you start that way yourself btw?
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Majestas32 » March 23rd, 2018, 12:15 pm

I did at least while I was a littler for about a month
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby danny » March 24th, 2018, 10:17 pm

Gainey wrote:You're making a lot of sense, Danny. Did you start that way yourself btw?

Well, kind of. I have always been one to get really deep into OCA, I think my first experience was with a bit of a boring rule (B34/S35), and it spiraled from there. But I would definitely have been better off now had I started off by looking at simple machines in CGOL
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Re: Where do I start?

Postby Majestas32 » March 25th, 2018, 12:47 am

Basically me
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