muzik wrote:Looks like I don't know anything about anything at this point. How, exactly, do I use wls?
Some stuff goes from left to right when I start the search, and then it recedes back eventually and gives no results. I'm hopeless.
No, actually that's just what happens to everybody on their first WLS search.
The problem is that it's very easy to set up a search problem with too many unknown cells, and then search with a cell ordering that makes it unlikely that a solution will be found. WLS theoretically does an exhaustive search, but if you start on the left side of a big blank area and work toward the right, that often has the effect of making WLS go through trillions of left-edge combinations that don't work before it finds the first configuration that happens to work with... whatever it might eventually find in the middle.
It's much better to come up with a likely candidate for the middle, first. That constrains what the edge can look like, so that WLS can quickly throw away a lot more unworkable options and get to a solution quicker. There are settings in WLS for symmetry, and also for where to start the search and how to expand from there (diamond shaped, circular, etc.)
If you have trillions of useless combinations of edge cells to wade through, all of them theoretically potentially workable, WLS will never get amywhere. "Trillions" is probably an underestimate in many cases, especially at high periods. In practice you have to constrain the search space, probably until there are _no_ solutions, and then gradually widen it out until you find one solution, or just a few.
To bring the topic vaguely back toward the subject of this thread: it would be interesting to see if WLS can be set up to find a copperhead spaceship. Make an area that's about 12x16 by 10 ticks; fill in around the edges in every generation with a double layer of OFF cells; put a block in at T=0 (and maybe a few nearby generations); set up WLS so that generation 0 follows generation 9 at a 1-cell offset -- there's a setting for that, so make sure to go and find it.
Before you do that, maybe search for something easy like an HWSS first, or even a glider -- if you just leave WLS a *WSS or glider-sized area, it should be able to find a solution pretty much instantly, to give you some confidence that you know how to set all the settings correctly.
muzik wrote:My computer is windows 10 (bought as windows 8 ), bought in December 2013, and has ~1TB of memory, so will it have a compiler?
No, Windows is uniquely lousy about having any kind of useful programming language pre-installed. A good place to start might be to download Cygwin
, though that opens a new can of worms for you by kind of pretending to be Linux, so there are some new conventions that are subtly different if you're used to working from a DOS command prompt.
If you don't know anything about DOS command prompts either, though, then maybe Cygwin is a good place for a fresh start! I _think_, even though you have a 64-bit system, you'll probably be happier with the 32-bit version of Cygwin, in terms of getting simple old C code like gfind to compile. EDIT:
Or if you take Apple Bottom's advice, below, get the 64-bit version of cygwin and then make sure you use the latest gfind
source code (updated to work with 64-bit compilers a few years ago).
Another likely option is the free version of Microsoft's Visual Studio, which has a C/C++ compiler included, and gives you a "Visual Studio Command Prompt" shortcut to start from. Not sure I can recommend that option in good conscience, though, so I'm not including a link...!
Again, any further experimentation or questions along code-compiling lines should probably go in a separate thread (new or existing
), so that people who are interested in the copperhead specifically can talk about that here.