To tame a dirty reaction is to perturb it using other patterns such as gliders and catalysts so as to make it clean and hopefully useful. Alternatively, the reaction may not work at all without the taming due to unwanted debris that interferes with the reaction. An example is the AK47 reaction, which was independently tamed into three separate glider guns.
In addition to reactions, taming is applied to explosive/expansive rules. To tame a rule is to modify the rule's birth and survival conditions so that the resulting rule is less explosive, while keeping certain desirable properties of the original rule, such as the existence of certain patterns or reactions. Rule-taming is usually done using isotropic non-totalistic rules.
- Request a Rule to be "Tamed" (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums