Page Logo Conway's Game of Life

The "Game of Life" was invented by a Cambridge mathematician named John Horton Conway. I first became aware of it through an article in the Mathematical Games section of the October 1970 issue of Scientific American.

Life is played by populating a rectangular, two-dimensional grid of cells with "critters." Then you observe the behavior of the population over succeeding "generations." Each cell has eight neighboring cells, one for each of the four sides, and one for each of the four corners. The population of succeeding generations is determined by the following rules:

  1. Each critter with two or three neighbors survives for the next generation.
  2. Each critter with four or more neighbors dies.
  3. A new critter is born in each empty cell with exactly three neighbors.

A particularly interesting starting population, known as the R-pentomino is pictured below.

If you have Windows 95, and you would like to play the game click here (27KB).



Copyright (c) 1997-1998 by John Saeger