Glossary of basic terms

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This is intended to provide very short definitions of a small set of basic terms used in discussing Life and Life patterns.

Types of patterns

still life 
a pattern that does not change from one generation to the next
oscillator 
a pattern that repeats itself after a fixed number of generations (known as its period)
eater 
any still life that has the ability to interact with certain patterns without suffering any permanent damage
spaceship 
a finite pattern that moves across the grid of cells
puffer 
a pattern that moves like a spaceship, except that it leaves debris behind
rake 
a puffer whose debris consists of spaceships
gun 
a stationary pattern that repeatedly emits spaceships (or rakes) forever