This week's featured article
A sawtooth is a finite pattern whose population grows without bound but does not tend to infinity. In other words, it is a pattern with population that reaches new heights infinitely often, but also infinitely often drops below some fixed value. Their name comes from the fact that their plot of population versus generation number looks roughly like an ever-increasing sawtooth graph.
The first sawtooth was constructed by Dean Hickerson in April 1991 by using a loaf tractor beam (a technique that was also used in the construction of sawtooth 633). The least infinitely repeating population of any known sawtooth is 177, attained by Sawtooth 177; the smallest bounding box of any known sawtooth is 62x56, attained by a variant of the same pattern, Sawtooth 195
| The LifeWiki contains one of the most comprehensive catalogues of patterns available on the internet. Within it you will find:
Did you know...
- ... that Adam P. Goucher's distributed Catagolue soup-search project, started in February 2015, has already tested more random soups than any previous such project, and has contributed to the reduction of many glider construction recipes?
- ... that any glider-constructible Life pattern can be constructed with a fixed maximum number of gliders N, probably less than 1000? It is only necessary to construct a sliding-block decoder, which self-destructs after converting the position of a far-distant block into a slow-salvo recipe that constructs the required pattern.
- ... that Copperhead is not only the first c/10 orthogonal spaceship ever found, but also remarkably compact for a pattern not discovered until 2016?
- ... that loafer is the fifth smallest non-flotilla spaceship, but was discovered 43 years after the four spaceships smaller than it?
- ... that despite being the fourth smallest non-flotilla orthogonal spaceship, loafer has never appeared from a single randomly generated soup?
- ... that all known glider eaters take at least four ticks to recover to their original state after eating a glider?
- ... that the smallest 31c/240 spaceship does not make use of the 31c/240 reaction?
- ... that there is roughly one chance in 10^(N/3) that a still life appearing out of random soup will have a population of exactly N cells?
- ... that the number of still lifes with N+1 bits is roughly 2.48 times larger than the number of N-bit still lifes?
- ... that the odds of a randomly-chosen 20x20 soup pattern being a methuselah that lasts between 1000N and 1000(N+1) ticks, is roughly the same as the odds that it will last any amount of time longer than 1000x(N+1) ticks?