General Musings: My Life Story

For general discussion about Conway's Game of Life.
Post Reply
User avatar
ddyer
Posts: 2
Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 6:09 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

General Musings: My Life Story

Post by ddyer » June 25th, 2010, 1:23 pm

In 1970, when "LIfe" came out in Scientific American, I was in High School; and I spent the next two weeks with a box of map tacks and a piece of cardboard covered with graph paper. No one had computers back then.

Around 1974, I started working for a little company called Information International; there, they had built an amazing piece of custom hardware called a BIP (binary image processor) which was intended for OCR applications, but if you had tried to design a computer to run life, it would have been the design. Neighborhood operations were part of its basic order code. Triple-I also made graphic displays (rare in those days) so we could actually run life and watch the patterns evolve in real time. This was the era when glider guns and puffer trains were discovered. I decorated my office wall with a 20 foot long puffer train trail.

In the 80's I worked for Symbolics, and encountered Bill Gosper from time to time, in the era when he developed hashlife.

LIke some others, I discovered this board as a result of the recent "Gemini" article in New Scientist. I'm shocked that there are only 126 members of this board - It ought to be huge.
visit my games web site; real time play against real opponents
http://www.boardspace.net/

User avatar
Extrementhusiast
Posts: 1833
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 11:24 pm
Location: USA

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Extrementhusiast » June 25th, 2010, 3:15 pm

Welcome to the board! :mrgreen:

One reason why there aren't many members on this board is that this board opened just last year. (uncertain)

I'm actually surprisingly young. I started Life on the Math.com applet when I was age seven, and I've been much more actively pursuing Life (and its variants) since I downloaded Golly 1.4. I now have version 2.1, which has support for Generations-type rules, which has pleased me a lot. And that's about where I am today.
I Like My Heisenburps! (and others)

Batmanifestdestiny
Posts: 54
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:53 pm

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Batmanifestdestiny » June 25th, 2010, 4:26 pm

I first learned about Life (I think) when I found a wikipedia article on hackers and it showed the hacker symbol, the glider. After hearing that it was from "conway's game of life" and knowing that it couldn't have been the boardgame "Life" I went out and used some web applets. I then got bored and left for a while, until I found WireWorld, which is to this day one of my favorite CAs (I even made a programmable LED display for it!). After downloading Golly for Wireworld, I again found Conway's Game of Life, and I played with that for a good while, until I realized how isolated from the world it was, since when I looked up "cellular automata forums" nothing relevant came up. I then (somehow) found the forums here, and now with Gemini being found and all that, I've resumed playing around with good ol' fashioned Life.


From time to time, when I can't get my hands on my computer, I pull out my Go board and play around in Life using the stones (even though Scientific American said that Go stones aren't usable. :P).

User avatar
Nathaniel
Site Admin
Posts: 617
Joined: December 10th, 2008, 3:48 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Nathaniel » June 25th, 2010, 5:38 pm

Extrementhusiast wrote:One reason why there aren't many members on this board is that this board opened just last year. (uncertain)
Yep, the board opened in January 2009, though honestly the reason it was opened was because I had more or less the exact same thought as the original poster -- I couldn't believe that there wasn't really an online (public) Conway's Game of Life community (or at least the community seemed a bit difficult to get to). Hopefully the recent discoveries like Gemini will continue to spark interest in a wider audience.

doccolinni
Posts: 25
Joined: May 18th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by doccolinni » June 26th, 2010, 3:34 am

Nathaniel wrote:
Extrementhusiast wrote:One reason why there aren't many members on this board is that this board opened just last year. (uncertain)
Yep, the board opened in January 2009, though honestly the reason it was opened was because I had more or less the exact same thought as the original poster -- I couldn't believe that there wasn't really an online (public) Conway's Game of Life community (or at least the community seemed a bit difficult to get to). Hopefully the recent discoveries like Gemini will continue to spark interest in a wider audience.
It would also be a good idea to spread the word about the board around in Life circles because if it's so young certainly there are a lot of Life enthusiasts out there who are oblivious to its existence.

Awesomeness
Posts: 126
Joined: April 5th, 2009, 7:30 am

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Awesomeness » July 8th, 2010, 10:42 am

Batmanifestdestiny wrote:I realized how isolated from the world it was, since when I looked up "cellular automata forums" nothing relevant came up.
This is why our forum is so empty.

I discovered Life at the age of nine or so when I had gotten interested in games simulating life, as in bacteria and evolving and such. I Googled "game of life", but I saw loads of results on Conway's game of life. A sat fascinated as little black specks sparkled like fireworks before my eyes. I saw amazing patterns made by epic geniuses like breeders and giant spaceships... It was amazing. At first I simply squiggled lines all over the place and looked at what they made, but everyhing changed when I found Golly. I started to make ships, then puffers, then rakes, until I started making glider syntheses, their respective guns, and breeders. That's where I am today and my story of getting there. I'm fourteen right now.

User avatar
Extrementhusiast
Posts: 1833
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 11:24 pm
Location: USA

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Extrementhusiast » July 8th, 2010, 10:53 am

Hmm, same here, except I discovered Life two years earlier.
I Like My Heisenburps! (and others)

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 152
Joined: March 26th, 2009, 11:18 am

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by PM 2Ring » July 8th, 2010, 12:36 pm

I, too, started playing with Life in the early 70s. In those days, I used modeling clay on the bathroom floor tiles. When I got access to computers, I wrote a few simple programs using very naive algorithms, but it was faster than doing it by hand. :) But I still like doing it by hand from time to time. I believe that doing it by hand helps to train my mind's ability to predict what patterns will do.

I go through phases with Life, alternating between being obsessed with it and then having a break for a few months or so. I'm currently in an "off" phase, so I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm totally blown away by the new Gemini pattern, of course. :)

I should upload some of my more recent constructions, I guess. The last things I was working on relate to the stargate accelerator: I've made a more compact variation, and some stargate "rakes".

Last Christmas, I introduced Life to two of my young nephews. Of course, they enjoyed making collisions of glider & LWSS streams, but I was most pleased to see them discovering their own patterns over a period of several days. I showed them this forum, but I don't think they've registered.

doccolinni
Posts: 25
Joined: May 18th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by doccolinni » July 8th, 2010, 5:43 pm

PM 2Ring wrote:But I still like doing it by hand from time to time.
(...)
I'm totally blown away by the new Gemini pattern, of course. :)
You gotta simulate it by hand! :D :D :D

Also...




PM 2Ring wrote:But I still like doing it by hand from time to time.
That's what she said. :|

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 152
Joined: March 26th, 2009, 11:18 am

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by PM 2Ring » July 10th, 2010, 12:23 pm

doccolinni wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:I'm totally blown away by the new Gemini pattern, of course. :)
You gotta simulate it by hand! :D :D :D
Um, maybe not. That one'd take a small army! But on a related note, I think it'd be very cool to get a huge crowd to do a living Life display. I guess it'd be hard to get the numbers to display anything complex, but you could do a glider gun or two.
doccolinni wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:But I still like doing it by hand from time to time.
That's what she said. :|
* giggles * I wonder if anybody's used my Ticker scripts to make Life porn... :mrgreen:

User avatar
calcyman
Posts: 2200
Joined: June 1st, 2009, 4:32 pm

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by calcyman » July 10th, 2010, 12:37 pm

In response to your last comment, my O(sqrt(log(t))) pattern displays every possible bitmap image, given sufficient time.
What do you do with ill crystallographers? Take them to the mono-clinic!

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 152
Joined: March 26th, 2009, 11:18 am

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by PM 2Ring » July 10th, 2010, 2:36 pm

calcyman wrote:In response to your last comment, my O(sqrt(log(t))) pattern displays every possible bitmap image, given sufficient time.
Ah, ok. That's pretty amazing. But I guess I've come to expect amazingness from you, calcyman. :)

Awesomeness
Posts: 126
Joined: April 5th, 2009, 7:30 am

Re: General Musings: My Life Story

Post by Awesomeness » July 10th, 2010, 10:02 pm

PM 2Ring wrote:But on a related note, I think it'd be very cool to get a huge crowd to do a living Life display. I guess it'd be hard to get the numbers to display anything complex, but you could do a glider gun or two.
It wouldn't be that hard to organize stuff like that:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9iq9gdeIE4
Just imagine groups of people moving periodically as a glider, and all of the freaked out people moving in a circle around them...

Post Reply