Alan Hensel

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Alan Hensel
Born 1967-11-03
Residence United States
Nationality Unknown
Institutions Unknown
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University

Alan Hensel is a Life enthusiast who is most widely known for his homepage devoted to the Game of Life. His hobby was Life pattern collecting from about 1987-2002.

His first published Life program was a 3-line Basic program that won a contest and was published in the May, 1986 issue of 80micro magazine. He went on to rewrite the algorithm in Miles Bader's life program at Carnegie Mellon University, which influenced Jon Bennett's implementation of Xlife. After college, having a pattern collection on a floppy disk but no decent Life program on his PC, he took it upon himself to write a highly optimized Life program in C and 8086 Assembly for MS-DOS, which came to be known by its last two release numbers, Life 1.05 and Life 1.06. The lessons learned in the design of this program were applied to his first Java applet in 1996, which is still available on his site. The published algorithm used in this applet inspired similar implementations in Life32 and Golly.

In the process of collecting patterns, Alan made a few discoveries. Line puffers were discovered by accident while playing with Hartmut Holzwart's orthogonal c/2 spaceships. Also while playing with Hartmut Holzwart's spaceships, Alan came up with the idea of what was to become known as spacefillers. Alan also made numerous other refinements, always seeking to include interesting variations in his collections.

Other minor pattern discoveries include the asymmetric pre-pulsar spaceship and (along with Hartmut Holzwart) the first orthogonal c/2 period 28 spaceship.

Patterns found by Alan Hensel

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References

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