Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

For general discussion about Conway's Game of Life.
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dvgrn
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Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by dvgrn » September 23rd, 2021, 6:17 pm

It seems that our security precautions for the Conway's Life textbook project have worn a little thin. At least one forum member has already gotten through our extraordinarily minimal security-by-obscurity precautions. In any case, it's now time to open up the beta-reader group to a wider pool of volunteers.

The current draft of the book can always be downloaded at https://conwaylife.com/book . This has been true for the last couple of years, actually, for anyone that knew to look there. (!)
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The 90-megabyte-plus PDF that's now available for download is a "beta" version of the textbook, intended for readers to review and comment on. It's not yet time to download it and print out all 450+ pages on your color printer at home: there are no doubt plenty of small revisions yet to come. The idea is that the PDF version of the book will always be freely available at this location. In many ways the PDF is a significant improvement over a printed version, since it's easier to search -- and you can click on almost all of the pattern illustrations in Acrobat Reader and get the RLE of the pattern as a text file. It's still an open question whether and how things might be set up, after the beta-reader period is over, so that people can order printed copies if they want them.

Upcoming Revisions
There are several items that came back from reviewer feedback during a discussion with a publisher, which will be incorporated into the book relatively soon. And beta feedback has been starting to trickle in from various sources, and no doubt that will continue. A new post will be added to this thread whenever a new revision of the book has been re-compiled and is ready for download from the above link.

That being said, we believe that all twelve chapters are substantially complete at this point, so it's time to get this thread rolling! Comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism are welcome. Posts here may be edited to add notes like EDIT by dvgrn: checked in fix 9/23/2021, just so we can track which comments have been cleaned up and what is still on the To-Do list.

Sarp
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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Sarp » September 23rd, 2021, 8:02 pm

Maybe the pdf should have a title that is not "Title" EDIT by Nathaniel: checked in fix 9/24/2021
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10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
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iNoMed
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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by iNoMed » September 23rd, 2021, 8:09 pm

There is also this slightly-questionable typo in the solution for Exercise 5.29a:

EDIT by dvgrn: checked in fix 9/23/2021

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
Attachments
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B38E0508-209D-4F45-A52E-4FC7A3510B3F.jpeg (124.69 KiB) Viewed 1121 times

Code: Select all

x = 35, y = 5, rule = B3/S23
4b2o3b2o3bo3b2ob2o3b2ob2o$2o2bobo3bo2bobobobobobobobobobo$obobo2bo2bob
o2bobo2bo2bobo3bobo$2bobo3bobobobo2bo5bobo3bobob2o$b2ob2o3b2ob2o3b2o3b
2ob2o3b2ob2o!

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by hkoenig » September 23rd, 2021, 8:18 pm

Packaging up the RLE files into something that can be downloaded all at once (or by chapter) would be nice. EDIT by Nathaniel 9/25/2021: done, except for Chapter 12 (the pattern files there are just too big -- the zip file would be several hundred Mb)

Appendices documenting the most common encodings (rle, Macrocell, LifeHistory, apgcode) might be useful.

Is the opening of RLE files something specific to Adobe Acrobat? It appears that clicking on the illustrations on a Mac using Preview to read the book doesn't work, or I've not set things up correctly. [NJ Sept. 30: Yep, specific to Adobe Acrobat unfortunately -- I don't know of a way to get it to work in all PDF viewers. Once the book "stabilizes" a bit, I'll look into adding figure numbers on the website so that it's easier to find RLE files for each figure.]

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by dvgrn » September 23rd, 2021, 8:48 pm

hkoenig wrote:
September 23rd, 2021, 8:18 pm
Packaging up the RLE files into something that can be downloaded all at once (or by chapter) would be nice.
At the moment we have https://conwaylife.com/book/#rle_files -- RLEs could be extracted from the various sub-pages without too much work. Or I think that anyone can access and clone the GitHub repository, in which case it should be possible to get all of the collections at once as a ZIP file, under https://github.com/nathanieljohnston/ga ... r/patterns . Might be simple enough to add a ZIP-file link under the first link above, but maybe that will wait until any other last-minute adjustments are done.
hkoenig wrote:
September 23rd, 2021, 8:18 pm
Appendices documenting the most common encodings (rle, Macrocell, LifeHistory, apgcode) might be useful.
Let's see, there's a start on that in Golly's Help > File Formats, but nothing specific for LifeHistory states or apgcode format there, those are in the LifeWiki under LifeHistory and Apgcode. RLE is there also, and Macrocell as a stub with a link to Golly documentation. That doesn't seem too bad, all in all.

There's a huge class of information that could perfectly well go into the appendices, but in the interest of not ballooning this book up to a thousand pages instead of going-on-500, we've more or less made the executive decision to refer to LifeWiki reference material wherever possible in the book, instead of adding more appendices. I'll see about adding a LifeWiki footnote to the introduction in the preface to the various pattern formats.
hkoenig wrote:
September 23rd, 2021, 8:18 pm
Is the opening of RLE files something specific to Adobe Acrobat? It appears that clicking on the illustrations on a Mac using Preview to read the book doesn't work, or I've not set things up correctly.
From "How to Use" in the Preface (and this is really all I know about text-file link support in PDFs, so if you figure out anything more specific to Macs, please post details!):
Note that clicking on figures may not work in certain PDF viewers (such as the viewers built into web browsers), so we recommend using Adobe Acrobat Reader (get.adobe.com/reader) to read this book digitally.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Macbi » September 24th, 2021, 7:29 am

In the GoE section, there's the statement
it is currently unknown whether or not there exists a Garden of Eden that does not contain an orphan.
This is false because it has been proven that every GoE contains an orphan. For example I give a proof here. This proof is not original to me, I simply decoded into elementary terms the proof that a postgraduate course would reduce to the two words 'by compactness'. [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix.]

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by hotdogPi » September 24th, 2021, 8:25 am

From the Discord:

Problem 1.1: the soups are labeled as 20×20 but are actually 16×16 [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix.]

List of small period guns excludes p21 and p42 [NJ Sept. 27: Checked in a fix. These guns are now in the table, but not in the main text. They are instead introduced in the new Exercise 8.14, which is referenced both in the table and in the main text.]

Appendix B "For example, the rule B3/S2ac3 is exactly the same as the rule B3/S2-eik3: they both mean that a cell will be born and survive if it has 3 live neighbors (regardless of orientation), and a cell will survive if it has 2 live neighbors in one of the “a” or “c” configurations, but not in one of the “e”, “i”, or “k” configurations." is missing 2n [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix.]

no-name oscillators should be unnamed oscillators, as well as "Beluchenko's p7" (38P7.2) and "Bullet's p10" (55P10) [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix. re: "no-named" -> "unnamed". Naming the previously unnamed oscillators "Beluchenko's p7" and "Bullet's p10" was on purpose.]

In the chapter 1 RLE supplement, the "Exercise Random 1-4" RLEs are in the wrong order: [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix.]
1a corresponds to RLE #3 and solution 1a
1b corresponds to RLE #1 and solution 1c
1c corresponds to RLE #4 and solution 1b
1d corresponds to RLE #2 and solution 1d
Also, [NJ Sept. 30: Checked in a fix.]
7a corresponds to RLE #1
7b corresponds to RLE #4
7c corresponds to RLE #2
7d corresponds to RLE #3 (the solutions are correct for this one)
also chapter 3 exercises 13 and 16 [NJ Sept. 30: Checked in a fix.]

"Something seems wrong with the description of figure 4.3
Some of the gliders have opposite colors from the other DG 25 Sep: Double checked this -- they're all the same color.
The solution to exercise 4.1 should be same, opposite, opposite instead of opposite, same, same DG 25 Sep: Double checked this -- current answers are correct.
The solution to exercise 4.4a should have an additional orange cell highlighted [NJ Sept. 30: Checked in a fix.]
The position of exercise 4.19 in the solutions section is odd" [NJ Sept. 30: Checked in a fix.]

page 108 in the pdf contains the typo "...we see that the spaceship must be one(on) and below the diagonal line..." DG 25 Sep: fixed

figure 3.29 seems to be missing the primary output glider for the Silver reflector [NJ Sept. 30: This is intentional. The repeat time is too high, and an output glider wouldn't be "honest" unless it was extremely far away. The output lanes are shown instead.]

The solution given to exercise 5.2c gives a glider destruction that cannot come from infinity [NJ Sept. 30: Checked in a fix.]

page 367 there's the phrase "a spaceships made of spaceships" DG 25 Sep: fixed

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
User:HotdogPi/My discoveries

Periods discovered: 6,8,10-16,18,20,21G,22,24,25,27-31,32SG,35,36,40,42,45,48,50,54G,55G,57G,60,63-66,70,74S,75,76S,84,96S,100,117G,120,126,128S,138,147,156,196S,217,486,576

S: SKOP
G: gun

HartmutHolzwart
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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by HartmutHolzwart » September 24th, 2021, 9:04 am

Under paragraph 2.5, density of oscillators, it might be worth to mention the (almost) trivial pre 1992 upper bound of 8/13 for the average density of infinite oscilators (large enough patches of them). I didn't see any progress on this bound since then, although it is only slightly better than the 3/4 maximum density. [NJ Oct 1: Checked in a fix. I found the proof, and I thought about adding it in, but it became a bit long and uses techniques somewhat different than ones already used in that chapter. And since it's about oscillators instead of still lifes, I didn't want to dwell on it too much, so I just ended up adding a mention (rather than the proof) of the 8/13 bound.]

If need be, I could dig up the simple proof from the lifelist archives.

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by HartmutHolzwart » September 24th, 2021, 11:34 am

First of all: Great job! even just browsing through the chapters is so much fun! Hopefully this book will inspire others to join our community and actively particpate as "winning ways" did in my generation.

Question: Would there be a place to explain RCT as well? Or is this rather a case for volume 2?

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by dvgrn » September 24th, 2021, 12:27 pm

HartmutHolzwart wrote:
September 24th, 2021, 11:34 am
First of all: Great job! even just browsing through the chapters is so much fun! Hopefully this book will inspire others to join our community and actively particpate as "winning ways" did in my generation.

Question: Would there be a place to explain RCT as well? Or is this rather a case for volume 2?
I was thinking it should sneak into Chapter 5's Notes and Historical Remarks, with a relevant LifeWiki link in the footnotes. It turns out that the mention is already there, but no link or footnote, and not named so it's not in the index. I'll add something. DG 25 Sep: done. A full explanation will have to wait until somebody writes Volume 2.

Here's something that I wrote up early in the project, partly just for its entertainment value, and certainly not because there are any current plans to start work on Volumes 2 through 6. It just gives some idea of how many Conway's Life topics are not covered in any detail in the current textbook. And this was written in 2018, so a whole lot more things could be added to this list now (and it could be expanded far beyond my particular obsessions with signal converters and self-constructing circuitry). I see that the original RCT did make this list:
Generally what I'm attempting here is a Survey of Big Complicated Hard-to-Understand Patterns That Need Explaining. I'm sure I've left some good stuff off, but this seems like plenty enough for now --

Volume II: Life signal circuitry
  • Jason Summers' lightspeed telegraph
  • Adam P. Goucher's periodic lightspeed telegraph
    URL: http://calcyman.awardspace.co.uk/life-m ... legraph.mc
  • J.F. Handfield's high-bandwidth lightspeed telegraph
  • APG's glider-to-Cordership converter
  • later glider-to-spaceship converters
    (and the idea of interchangeability between dozens of different types of signals)
  • Heisenburps and pseudo-Heisenburps
  • glider gun collection
    (representatives of a wide variety of signal-processing mechanisms)
  • triller's Pulsar Pixel Display
    (not sure where to put this exactly)
Volume III: Engineered Spaceships
  • Caterpillar
  • Gemini
  • Centipede
  • half-baked knightship
  • waterbear
  • Caterloopillars
  • Orthogonoid
  • 10hd Demonoid
  • 0hd Demonoid
  • single-channel Demonoid
  • Hashlife-friendly Demonoid
  • Self-constructing spaceship (consists only of gliders at some point in its cycle -- not built yet, but now [2018] buildable)
Volume IV: Computation
  • Paul Rendell's Turing Machine
  • Paul Chapman's URM
  • Adam P. Goucher's Osqrtlogt (counts in binary)
    APG's 13395-digit prime oscillator, and later larger ones
    URL: http://calcyman.awardspace.co.uk/life-m ... icprime.mc
    ("calculates" a very large prime number, at least in a very simple sense)
  • APG's decimal counter (counts in base 10)
    [Alan Hensel's decimal counter was a predecessor, but it was strictly a display device]
  • APG's pi and phi calculators
    http://www.conwaylife.com/forums/viewto ... 9901#p9908
  • "fine structure constant calculator"? (April Fool)
  • APG's universal programmable constructor
    (has to go in as "prior art" in both the Computation and Construction sections)
  • Michael Simkin's Turing Machine simulator
  • David Bell's unit cell
  • Deep Cell
  • Brice Due's metapixel
    [Brice's movie-display tiles, used in his hexadecimal counter, are more along the lines of display devices than computers]
  • APG's P1 megacell
  • Quest-for-Tetris metapixel computer
  • APG's mystery pattern
    URL: http://calcyman.awardspace.co.uk/life-m ... mystery.mc
    encodes 12 bits into 24 (a "greedily generated lexicode with a Hamming distance of 8")
  • Hashlife-friendly metapixel from Quest for Tetris Round Two (nearly complete)
  • Quadratic-growth replicator (not built yet, but hopefully on the to-do list for 2018)
Volume V: Construction
  • Paul Chapman's prototype programmable constructor
  • APG's universal programmable constructor
  • Gemini gun
  • HBK gun
  • 0hd Demonoid gun
  • 9hd UC for spiral growth
  • 9hd UC for linear propagator
  • 10hd UC for 10hd Demonoid
  • 0hd UC for 0hd Demonoid
  • single-channel UCs
    • single-channel spiral growth
    • triple-Snark-wick-extruder
    • single-channel Demonoid
    • Orthogonoid
    • Hydra / QGC1
    • Cordership-spewing Herschel loop
    • reverse caber tosser / Fo[r]michev Universal Constructor
    • 0E0P megapixel
Volume VI: Searching
  • lifesrc/WLS/JLS
  • Catalyst / catfind / ptbsearch
  • gencols
  • CatForce
  • CollisionsSearch
  • dr (drifter searcher)
  • gfind
  • gsearch
  • Hersrch
  • Random Agar/RandAgar.
  • Seeds of Destruction Game
  • simeks' GoL-destroy
  • SAT solvers

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Freywa » September 24th, 2021, 12:42 pm

And what about glider synthesis which seems to be all the rave these days? After all, I made Shinjuku into a catalog of about 1.5 million components.
Princess of Science, Parcly Taxel

Code: Select all

x = 31, y = 5, rule = B2-a/S12
3bo23bo$2obo4bo13bo4bob2o$3bo4bo13bo4bo$2bo4bobo11bobo4bo$2bo25bo!

hkoenig
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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by hkoenig » September 24th, 2021, 12:45 pm

You might want to include a glossary explaining a lot of the jargon that has accumulated over the years. I don't recognize "RCT" and a search of the wiki returns one less than useful entry. [NJ Oct. 1: The book does have an index, which will hopefully serve this purpose. RCT wasn't in the index, since it wasn't really in the book. It's in there now though.]

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by creeperman7002 » September 24th, 2021, 2:43 pm

Error in Exercise 1.1: The text says that you should evolve some 20x20 soups, but there are 16x16 soups in the pictures. [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix.]

EDIT: There's also a grammatical error in page 34. It currently says "a pseudo still lifes", but it should say "a pseudo still life". [NJ Oct. 3: Fixed.]

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
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Last edited by creeperman7002 on September 24th, 2021, 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
B2n3-jn/S1c23-y is an interesting rule. It has a replicator, a fake glider, an OMOS and SMOS, a wide variety of oscillators, and some signals. Also this rule is omniperiodic.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4856

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by dvgrn » September 24th, 2021, 3:06 pm

Freywa wrote:
September 24th, 2021, 12:42 pm
And what about glider synthesis which seems to be all the rave these days? After all, I made Shinjuku into a catalog of about 1.5 million components.
Heh, glider synthesis got its own chapter all to itself in Volume 1 (Chapter 5), which is more than a whole lot of other perfectly good topics can say.

I'll be very happy to add a whole pile of more advanced glider-synth topics to the completely hypothetical list above, and even renumber everything so that Glider Synthesis is Volume 2 -- as long as someone else will do all the writing and research for the next volume.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Kazyan » September 24th, 2021, 10:02 pm

On page 187, the replacement for an eater 1 in the color-preserving semi-snark is described as a conduit. The object is a catalyst, not a conduit.
[NJ Oct. 4: Fixed. We added a new subsection 7.1.1 ("conduit naming") that actually introduces catalysts now as well.]

10/4 All reports in this post have been addressed.
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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by hotdogPi » September 25th, 2021, 7:08 am

More from the Discord:
page 82: the back end of the glider only serves to overpopulate the front end of the tagalong (no, it actually pulls it) dvgrn 10/3: fixed
page 193: "whether or not a a signal" [NJ Oct. 3: Fixed.]
page 10: "The queen bee shuttle is our first example on an engineered object" (on should be of) dvgrn 10/3: fixed
page 19: "recall that the clock has only six cells and period 2, yet appears less frequently than some much larger objects like the period 3 pulsar or the period 15 pentadecathlon"; its rarity isn't mentioned earlier, so it can't be recalled dvgrn 10/3: reworded slightly[/color]
chapter 8, footnote 46: "This collection of small glider guns is now being maintained by Chris Cain and Dave Greene. Links to the up-to-date version of the collection can be found at conwaylife.com/wiki/Dieter_and_Peter's_glider_gun_collection." dvgrn 10/3: fixed
The image at the beginning of Chapter 1 is an actual Go game, not CGOL dvgrn 10/3: That's okay, I think. Maybe it's a picture of a three-state rule that just happens to resemble Go at the moment.
page 138: says we've stopped looking for larger still lifes after finishing those with 20 cells dvgrn 10/3: fixed
page 54: Buckingham's p13 is described as being unnamed dvgrn 10/3: fixed
page 57: the smallest p96 no longer uses a caterer dvgrn 10/3: fixed
Chapter 4, footnote 33: "This is the same reason that computer searches have been so effective at finding oscillators with period below 19, but not above." What have I been doing? dvgrn 10/3: lowered the mentioned period to 8, at Sokwe's suggestion
Figure 5.8b: It only works with even periods. (I tried it with the new p55 gun, and it took a while to realize why it didn't work.) dvgrn 10/3: turned out this was really figure 8.4b, and 8.4a had the same limitation -- fixed.
Page 14: "In fact, puffers based on switch engines are the only infinitely-growing patterns that have ever formed as a result of randomly filling some portion of the Life plane and then evolving it". Only applies to asymmetric soups. dvgrn 10/3: I'd say that making a symmetrical pattern of any kind is not "randomly filling", so this seems okay to me as it stands.

EDIT: Chapter 11, footnote 45: Not an error, but just a suggestion: camelship sends you to the LifeWiki. We don't expect readers to click every single footnote link, so it should be explained that "camel" = (3,1) in addition to the link. dvgrn 10/3: the paragraph containing the footnote mentions the (3,1) offset.
Page 101: there's a smaller 3c/7 now (not an error, but can save some space) dvgrn 10/3: fixed[/b]
Page 290 is entirely blank except for the page number line that appears on every page [NJ Sept. 25: This is a byproduct of how textbooks are laid out in print -- every new chapter starts on an odd page number, so that they start on the same side (left or right, I forget which, when opening the print book).]
p57 gun: "smallest known (Figure 8.32(b)) was constructed in
October 2018 by Luka Okanishi" no longer smallest known dvgrn 10/3: fixed in table (only)

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
Last edited by hotdogPi on September 25th, 2021, 12:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User:HotdogPi/My discoveries

Periods discovered: 6,8,10-16,18,20,21G,22,24,25,27-31,32SG,35,36,40,42,45,48,50,54G,55G,57G,60,63-66,70,74S,75,76S,84,96S,100,117G,120,126,128S,138,147,156,196S,217,486,576

S: SKOP
G: gun

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Freywa » September 25th, 2021, 8:30 am

dvgrn wrote:
September 24th, 2021, 3:06 pm
Heh, glider synthesis got its own chapter all to itself in Volume 1 (Chapter 5), which is more than a whole lot of other perfectly good topics can say.
Specifically there needs to be a mention of all the tools that made all the patterns featured in this book possible. For example, without my Shinjuku the large collaborative effort to synthesise all still lifes to increasing numbers of bits would not have been possible.

I'll also be happy to provide, if needed,
* a description of the Shinjuku format
* other tools that don't find patterns but help in visualising them or serve as a database for kinds of patterns (Nakano, Skopje)
* the smallest known oscillators for periods above 43
* a section on how sparse oscillators can get as the period goes to infinity
* a section on Raucci's recent oscillators
* a section on pattern naming
* a section on symmetries of objects
Princess of Science, Parcly Taxel

Code: Select all

x = 31, y = 5, rule = B2-a/S12
3bo23bo$2obo4bo13bo4bob2o$3bo4bo13bo4bo$2bo4bobo11bobo4bo$2bo25bo!

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Sokwe » September 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm

hotdogPi wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 7:08 am
Chapter 4, footnote 33: "This is the same reason that computer searches have been so effective at finding oscillators with period below 19, but not above." What have I been doing?
It should read "with period below 8" (maybe should be "with periods"). DG 25 Sep: fixed. Pretty much all spaceship search programs cover the entire search space, and when we try to find oscillators that way (e.g., with WLS, JLS, LLS, or ofind) we can only reliably search up to periods 6 or 7. We really don't have many oscillators at periods higher than 10, at least when compared to oscillators of period 7 or lower.
hotdogPi wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 7:08 am
p57 gun: "smallest known (Figure 8.32(b)) was constructed in
October 2018 by Luka Okanishi" no longer smallest known.
The current smallest p57 gun was constructed by myself using an engine by David Raucci, and was reduced slightly by Adam P. Goucher. dvgrn 10/3: fixed in table 8.1
Freywa wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 8:30 am
Specifically there needs to be a mention of all the tools that made all the patterns featured in this book possible.
I don't mean to speak for the authors, but it seems to me they've avoided talking much about particular Life software in favor of discussing the concepts on which the software would be based. For example, the ideas behind Jason Summers' and David Raucci's spark-assisted oscillator searches are essentially covered by section 3.4. A comprehensive account of how each pattern was found or how each result was achieved would likely expand the length of the book more than they're comfortable with, and would probably be a little too advanced for people new to Conway's Game of Life.
Freywa wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 8:30 am
* a section on how sparse oscillators can get as the period goes to infinity
* a section on Raucci's recent oscillators
* a section on pattern naming
* a section on symmetries of objects
I think these topics might be more appropriately covered by articles written on the wiki than in a beginner textbook.

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
-Matthias Merzenich

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by hkoenig » September 25th, 2021, 4:11 pm

sokwe wrote:I think these topics might be more appropriately covered by articles written on the wiki than in a beginner textbook.
Or in a Volume 2, which could consist of various chapters written by various authors detailing their favorite projects, or expanding upon subjects not covered in the Volume 1.

That could include discussion of the software used to make the discoveries. For example, discussions of the algorithms used to generate Life patterns, from brute force Assembly bit twiddling and TinyBasic array iterating of fifty years ago to what's used currently.

I find this volume to be general enough that it is a good introduction, yet also, in the areas covered, detailed enough that someone like me who is quite familiar with the subject in general can learn new things and gain understanding of how it all works.

Back to the book---

How detailed do you want the Bibliography? I noticed Poundstone's book isn't listed. Is that deliberate or an oversight? And for completeness, you might want to include Gardner's "Wheels, Life..." as it includes a third chapter which did not appear as a column in Scientific American. I might suggest a few other articles, like Niemiec's Byte article, which while hard to find, were most welcome in the early days.

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Nathaniel » September 25th, 2021, 4:34 pm

Sokwe wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm
I don't mean to speak for the authors, but it seems to me they've avoided talking much about particular Life software in favor of discussing the concepts on which the software would be based. For example, the ideas behind Jason Summers' and David Raucci's spark-assisted oscillator searches are essentially covered by section 3.4. A comprehensive account of how each pattern was found or how each result was achieved would likely expand the length of the book more than they're comfortable with, and would probably be a little too advanced for people new to Conway's Game of Life.
This is correct. The book is purposely as software-agnostic as possible -- even Golly is barely mentioned outside of the Preface.

That said, Shinjuku definitely deserves at least a mention (software like JLS, hersch, and slsparse got similar mentions), probably in Chapter 5's history/notes section. The todo list got very long very quickly, so this might take me a bit though.

Edit: I should mention this at some point, so I'll put it here: if we have not credited someone how they would like in the book, please let us know. We defaulted to using real names when they are known, and forum names otherwise, but the choice is yours (i.e., the person being credited). If you want us to change your forum name in the book to your real name, or vice-versa, just ask.

[NJ Oct. 5: Done.]

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by dvgrn » September 25th, 2021, 4:58 pm

hkoenig wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 4:11 pm
Or in a Volume 2, which could consist of various chapters written by various authors detailing their favorite projects, or expanding upon subjects not covered in ... Volume 1.

That could include discussion of the software used to make the discoveries. For example, discussions of the algorithms used to generate Life patterns, from brute force Assembly bit twiddling and TinyBasic array iterating of fifty years ago to what's used currently.
There's definitely enough potential subject matter for several additional volumes the size of this one. I think Nathaniel and I would be very happy if the textbook ended up being the beginning of a series. However, the two of us may not have Donald Knuth's stamina -- so once this book is out the door, other people will probably have to take over the writing for a while, and let us get back to our day jobs and other projects.

I'd suggest that the new LifeWiki Articles subspace would be a reasonable place to start collecting full-length articles that could become chapters of hypothetical Volume N. Each article could be marked at the top with something like "{contributions welcome}" if it's supposed to be a collaborative project, or "{work in progress, please do not edit}" if the writer would prefer that nobody else should change anything. LifeViewer can be used for illustrations -- including animated illustrations if the article is intended primarily for online viewing, but of course those might not translate very well into PDF or book form!

Translating illustrations into the right format is one of the trickiest pieces of this business. I'll just mention here that Nathaniel did 100% of the work of TeXifying the book's illustrations, and made almost all of the other TeX-related decisions as well. My role was more in the proofreading line, along with supplying a lot of raw material for the later chapters. Our general support for the idea of future volumes does not imply that either of us is volunteering to do any of the writing, proofreading or illustrations for those hypothetical volumes.

Honestly, I think that it makes a lot more sense to aim mostly for online, LifeViewer-enabled articles, with live links to reference materials like the LifeWiki and so on. I want to see this textbook in actual book form at some point, but that's more just for the principle of the thing I guess -- the PDF version will be much easier to use for most purposes. And the more advanced the topic, the more that these kinds of live links and simulations will tend to be important.
hkoenig wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 4:11 pm
How detailed do you want the Bibliography? I noticed Poundstone's book isn't listed. Is that deliberate or an oversight? And for completeness, you might want to include Gardner's "Wheels, Life..." as it includes a third chapter which did not appear as a column in Scientific American. I might suggest a few other articles, like Niemiec's Byte article, which while hard to find, were most welcome in the early days.
The three items you mention seem like good additions to the bibliography. I have copies of the first two, but haven't gotten hold of Niemiec's article yet.

10/8: All reports in this post have been addressed.

(Couldn't find a place to reference the _Byte_ article -- we just don't talk about the details of Life simulation software anywhere. I think that's another book.)

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Ian07 » September 25th, 2021, 5:33 pm

The "small still lifes table" pattern in the pattern collection contains examples up to 24 cells, while the table in the book (on pg. 33) only goes up to 23. [NJ Sept. 25: Checked in a fix. Now both only go up to 23 cells.]

Code: Select all

x = 83, y = 198, rule = B3/S23
8bo$2o5bobo$2o6bo6$bo$obo$2o6$10b2o6b2o6b2o8bo$ob2o5bobo5bo2bo5bo2bo5b
obo$2obo5b2o7b2o8b2o6bobo$37bo6$bo9bo6b2o8b2o$obo7bobo5bobobo5bobo$o2b
o5bobo9b2o7bo$b2o6b2o19b2o6$b2o7bo8b2o7b2o9bo30b2ob2o$o2bo5bobo7bobo6b
obo7bobo29b2ob2o$o2bo6bobo7bobo8bo7bobo$b2o9bo8b2o9bo7bobo$12b2o17b2o
8bo6$2bo8bo11b2o5b2o42bo$bobo6bobo10bo6bobo37b2obobo$bobo6b2obo7bobo8b
o37b2ob2o$2ob2o8bo6bobo9bobo$13b2o5b2o11b2o6$2ob2o6b2o12b2o6b2o$2obo6b
o2bo8bo2bo6bo2bo35bo3bo$3bo7b2obo6bobobo7bobo34bobobobo$3b2o9bo7bobo7b
2ob2o34b2ob2o$14b2o7bo5$15bo7bo7b2o$4b2o8bobo5bobo6bobob2o$bo2bo9b2o6b
2obo7bobo38bo$obobo7b2o11bo7bobo34b2obobo$o2bo7bobo8b3o9bo35b2obo2bo$b
2o8b2o9bo51b2o7$o2bo5bo2bo7b2ob2o6b2o3bo37b2o$4o5b4o7b2obobo6bo2bobo
32b2obo2bo$23bobo6bobo2bo32b2obo2bo$4o7b4o8b2o8bo3b2o35b2o$o2bo7bo2bo
5$2ob2o7bo4bo7b2obo8b2ob2o29b2ob2o$bobobo5bobo2bobo5bo2b2o9bobobobo25b
obobobo$o2bobo6b2o3bo6b2o3b2o7bo4b2o26bo3bobo$2o2bo9b3o12bobo5b2o37b2o
$14bo15bo4$b2o7b2o66b2o$o2bo5bo2bo9b2o46b2o6bo$b3o6b3o8bob3o6b2ob2ob2o
30bobobobobo$21bo4bo5bob2ob2o2bo31b2ob2o$b3o8b3o7b3obo13b2o$o2bo8bo2bo
8b2o$b2o10b2o5$2o2b2ob2o6b2o3bo3b2o5bob2ob2obo31bo6b2o$o2bob2o2bo5bobo
bobobobo5b2obobob2o30bobob2obobo$b2o5b2o8b2ob2o11bo36b2ob2ob2o$34b2o4$
70b2o$70bo5b2ob2o$b2ob2o6b2ob2ob2o6b2o3b2o39bobo2b2obo$obobobo6bob2obo
6bo2bobo2bo37b2ob2o$obobobo6bo4bo7bobobobo$b2ob2o6b2o4b2o7b2ob2o4$73bo
b2o$71b3ob2o$70bo$2bo3bo7b2obo8b2obobo39b3ob2o$bobobobo6bob4o7bob2obo
40bob2o$bobobobo12bo5bo5bo$2obobob2o5bob4o6bob2obo$4bo9b2obo9bob2o2$
71b2obo$72bob3o$71bo5bo$70bo5bo$27b2o42b3obo$2o3b2o6b2obo9bo2bob2o40bo
b2o$obobobo5bobob3o6bobobob2o$2bobo7bo6bo5bobobo$obobobo6b3obobo6bo2bo
$2o3b2o8bob2o8b2o3$73bobo$b2ob2o9bo13b2ob2o3b2o32b3ob3o$obobobo7bobob
2o9b2obo5bo31bo7bo$o3bo2bo6bobobobob2o8bo4bo33b3ob2obo$b3obobo5b2obobo
b2obo8bobobo36bobobo$3bob2o10bo13b2ob2o4$2obob2o5bo2bo2bo5bo2b2o41b2o$
ob3obo5b7o5b4obob2o37bobob2ob2ob2o$29bobo39b2ob2ob2obobo$ob3obo5b7o7b
2obobo49b2o$2obob2o5bo2bo2bo7b2ob2o4$73bobob2o$2obob2o9b2ob2o13bobo34b
3ob2obo$bob2obo8bobobobo10b3ob3o31bo$bo4bob2o6bo2bobo2b2o5bo7bo31b3ob
2obo$2b3obo2bo9bobobobo5bob2ob2obo33bobob2o$4bob2o12b2ob2o7bobobobo$
35bo4$70b2obob2o$bo3bo10b2ob2o8b2o3b2o34bob2ob2o$obobobob2o6b2obo2bo5b
o2bobo2bo$obobobobobo8bob2o5b2obobob2o34b3ob2o$b2obobobobo5b2obo11bobo
36bo2bobobo$5bo3bo6bo2bob2o8bobo37b2o3bo$18b2ob2o7b2ob2o5$73bo$4b2o11b
2ob2o9b2o3bo35bobo$3bo2bob2o6bobobobo7bo2bobobo34bobo3bo$3b2obobobo5bo
5bo7b2obob2o34b2ob2obobo$2obo2bobobo6b5o9bobo44bo$2obobo3bo18b3o2bo36b
ob2ob3o$4bo12b2ob2o6bo4bobo34b2obobo$17b2ob2o12b2o4$74b2ob2o$70b2obobo
bobob2o$o2bob2o5b2ob2o11bo41b2obobobobob2o$4obo6b2obo8b2obobo44b2ob2o$
5bo9bo2bo5b2obob3o$2o3b2o5b3ob3o8bo4bo$bo10bo2bo8b2obob3o$bob4o8bob2o
5b2obobo$2obo2bo7b2ob2o9bo!
#C [[ GRID THEME BOOK ]]
10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
Wiki: http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/User:Ian07
Discord: Ian07#6028

xs24_69bobjob96

(Disclaimer: not involved in the creation or trading of NFTs via Catagolue)

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by wwei47 » September 26th, 2021, 12:35 am

Sokwe wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm
It should read "with period below 8"
You mean 10. JLS can find 104P9 all on its own in between a few days and a few weeks.
Self-proclaimed synthesis "expert"

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by Sokwe » September 26th, 2021, 1:06 am

wwei47 wrote:
September 26th, 2021, 12:35 am
Sokwe wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm
It should read "with period below 8"
You mean 10. JLS can find 104P9 all on its own in between a few days and a few weeks.
No, I mean 8. While we can find some oscillators with periods above 7, we cannot reliably search at that period. Even period 7 is difficult to search at, but if we really want a specific p7, we can almost always find it.
hotdogPi wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 7:08 am
page 57: the smallest p96 no longer uses a caterer
But the smallest p93 does use a caterer, so replace 96 with 93.

10/3 All reports in this post have been addressed.
-Matthias Merzenich

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Re: Beta Reader Thread for Game of Life Textbook

Post by wwei47 » September 26th, 2021, 1:43 am

Sokwe wrote:
September 26th, 2021, 1:06 am
wwei47 wrote:
September 26th, 2021, 12:35 am
Sokwe wrote:
September 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm
It should read "with period below 8"
You mean 10. JLS can find 104P9 all on its own in between a few days and a few weeks.
No, I mean 8. While we can find some oscillators with periods above 7, we cannot reliably search at that period. Even period 7 is difficult to search at, but if we really want a specific p7, we can almost always find it.
Alright. 8 it is. But maybe mention that there are exceptions to the rule.
Self-proclaimed synthesis "expert"

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