This week's featured article
| A spaceship (much less commonly referred to as a glider or a fish) is a finite pattern that returns to its initial state after a number of generations (known as its period) but in a different location. The speed of a spaceship is the number of cells that the pattern moves during its period. This is expressed in terms of c (the metaphorical "speed of light") which is one cell per generation; thus, a spaceship with a period of five that moves two cells to the left during its period travels at the speed of 2c/5. Most known spaceships in Life travel either orthogonally (only horizontal or vertical displacement) or diagonally (equal horizontal and vertical displacement). However, several large Conway's Life spaceships have been engineered that travel in various oblique directions, and it is known that Life has spaceships that travel in all rational directions at arbitrarily slow speeds.
| The LifeWiki contains one of the most comprehensive catalogues of patterns available on the internet. Within it you will find:
Did you know...
- ... that the largest interesting pattern constructed, the caterpillar, contains over 11 million cells?
- ... that the Gosper glider gun was the first pattern to be discovered that exhibits infinite growth?
- ... that the block-laying switch engine and the glider-producing switch engine (and various combinations of two switch engines) are the only two infinitely-growing patterns that are known to have ever occurred naturally from a nonsymmetric random starting configuration?
- ... that oscillators are known that oscillate at all periods other than 19, 23, 34, 38 and 41?
- ... that the pentadecathlon and the blinker are the only known oscillators that are polyominos in more than one phase?
- ... that it is impossible for a period 3 oscillator to be a phoenix?
- ... that the methuselah with the longest known lifespan, 40514M, lasts for over 40,000 generations before stabilizing? The second-place holder, Fred, runs for over 35,000 ticks.
- ... that replicators with quadratic population growth are known to exist in Conway's Game of Life, but none have yet been found?
- ... that the first known period 37 and 51 oscillators were found in 2009?
- ... that a pattern whose population grows without bound but does not tend to infinity is known as a sawtooth?