This week's featured article
| A polyomino (or simply omino) is a finite collection of orthogonally connected cells. Conway's early investigations of Life and other cellular automata involved tracking the histories of small polyominoes, this being a reasonable way to ascertain the typical behaviour of different cellular automata when the patterns had to be evolved by hand rather than by computer. Polyominoes have no special significance in Life, but their extensive study during the early years lead to a number of important discoveries and has influenced the terminology of Life.
It is possible for a polyomino to be an oscillator. In fact, there are infinitely many examples of such polyominoes, including the cross and its larger analogues. The only other known examples are the block (which has period 1), the blinker, the toad, the star and (in two different phases) the pentadecathlon.
A polyomino can also be a spaceship, though the only known examples are the lightweight spaceship, the middleweight spaceship, and the heavyweight spaceship.
| 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 fastest 90° stable reflector is over four times slower than its 180° counterpart?
- ...that sixteen spaceship velocities have been constructed, and an infinite number have been proven to be possible?
- ...that there are 71 distinct ways for two gliders to collide, but it is unknown how many distinct 3-glider collisions there are?
- ...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 are the only two infinitely-growing patterns that are known to have ever occurred naturally from a random starting configuration?
- ...that oscillators are known that oscillate at all periods other than 19, 23, 34, 38, 41, 43 and 53?
- ...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, Fred, lasts for over 35,000 generations before stabilizing?