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Purpose Search for oscillators and spaceships
Created by David Bell
Platform Platform-independent C

Lifesrc is David Bell's Life search program for finding new oscillators and spaceships. It is a C implementation of an algorithm developed by Dean Hickerson in 6502 assembler. Many of the well-known oscillators and non-standard spaceships in Life were found either by lifesrc or Hickerson's original program.

Although lifesrc itself is a command-line program, Jason Summers has made a graphical version called for Windows called WinLifeSearch, or "WLS".

More recently, in 2012-13, Karel Suhajda developed a platform-independent Java version called JavaLifeSearch, or "JLS".[1] JLS and the latest version of WLS include some new search options, notably the ability to prune the search space in the middle of a search by tracking the list of cells that have always been assigned the same state, either ON or OFF, in every previously-discovered solution.

The lifesrc algorithm is only useful for very small periods, as the amount of computing power required rises rapidly with increasing period. For most purposes, period 7 is the practical limit with current hardware.


  1. Karel Suhajda (November 9, 2012). "JavaLifeSearch". Retrieved on September 21, 2015.

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