A spark is a pattern that dies. The term is typically used to describe a collection of cells periodically thrown off by an oscillator or spaceship, but other dying patterns, particulary those consisting of only one or two cells (such as those produced by certain glider collisions, for example), are also described as sparks. For examples of small sparks see unix and heavyweight spaceship. For examples of much larger sparks, see Schick engine and phi spark.
A sparker is an oscillator or spaceship that produces sparks.
Strength of sparkers
A sparker oscillator can be considered "strong", "moderate" or "weak" depending on its relation to the rest of the oscillator. This does not necessarily correlate to how accessible the spark is, because examples like 101 which have very inaccessible sparks are still considered "strong" under this classification scheme.
- "Strong": the oscillator creates a spark that is a separate island, and the oscillator is not affected if the spark is removed, e.g. Unix, Kok's galaxy and middleweight volcano.
- "Moderate": the oscillator creates a spark that is a separate island, but the spark is still required for the oscillator to survive, e.g. mold, fumarole and figure eight.
- "Weak": the oscillator includes one or more cells at its edge that remain connected to the oscillator, but can still be used to catalyze other nearby patterns, e.g. caterer, T-nosed p4 and thumb 1.
Smoke is debris that is fairly long-lived but eventually dies out completely. Thus, it is basically a large spark, but the term is used especially when talking about the output from a spaceship (as in a smoking ship).
A tail spark is a spark that appears at the back of a spaceship. For example, there is a one-bit tail spark at the back of a lightweight spaceship, middleweight spaceship, and heavyweight spaceship in their less dense phases.
- "Sparker". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on May 24, 2009.
- "Smoke". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on June 10, 2009.
- "Tail spark". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
- "Spark". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on May 14, 2016.
- Spark at Wikipedia