What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

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GUYTU6J
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What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by GUYTU6J » April 16th, 2022, 2:22 am

Ditto.

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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by pzq_alex » April 16th, 2022, 2:29 am

If "external" means "out of ConwayLIfe.com & Discord", imo we should be tolerate.

There are very few high-quality resources outside this forum (looking at Reddit) though
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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by bprentice » April 16th, 2022, 7:12 am

GUYTU6J,

Please provide references to 'external CA discussion venues' that might be of interest.

Brian Prentice

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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by dvgrn » April 16th, 2022, 7:33 am

Those of us who like to do whatever is reasonable on a case-by-case basis, are very unlikely to admit to having an "attitude" towards "external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc." in general.

What does "external CA people" even mean? In 2010, Andrew D. Wade was an "external CA person", I guess... more of those, please!

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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by GUYTU6J » April 16th, 2022, 9:59 am

The question came to me when I saw the cluster of red links in the 12th entry of Pattern_of_the_Year#2017, that is, the Quest for Tetris challenge completed by multiple people on stackexchange, an external website. I thought some of the reasons behind the apparent reluctance to document the project on LifeWiki had something to do with said attitude.

Andrew is a different case; he has become a domestic enthusiast since he began contributing to GoL on conwaylife.com under the username of mscibing, and obviously his Gemini is well acknowledged, beginning with the quick creation of its LifeWiki article. More or less same for Nicolas, the inventor of 8-bit programmable computer.

Other examples of "exernal" people in my thinking include academic researchers (those doing papers like the one for X-rule) but that have never discussed with us forums dwellers and have been using their own set of language for description.

... Well, yes, I know nothing about other discussion venues like reddit as pzq_alex mentioned. But come on, how possibly is our forums-discord complex the only place for producing valuable CA contents? Is it wild imagination to expect more foreign materials for LifeWiki article or POTY/OCADOTY entry?

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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by dvgrn » April 16th, 2022, 1:59 pm

GUYTU6J wrote:
April 16th, 2022, 9:59 am
The question came to me when I saw the cluster of red links in the 12th entry of Pattern_of_the_Year#2017, that is, the Quest for Tetris challenge completed by multiple people on stackexchange, an external website. I thought some of the reasons behind the apparent reluctance to document the project on LifeWiki had something to do with said attitude.
Sure, I suppose it's a valid question. It's also a very very vague question, so I at least won't attempt any kind of general answer for it.

I really like the Quest for Tetris project -- it's cheerfully unencumbered with any obsessive worries about optimization, which is an attitude very similar to the one that enabled the creation of many of calcyman's megapatterns. The p1 megacell or the Osqrtlogt pattern could have been worked down fairly easily to half of their current diameter. Take a close look at the internals of the Osqrtlogt's "SQ" unit (which we're now calling "B2D"), for example. There are mechanisms in there that have never been used anywhere else, before or since -- and for good reason! They're a little bit wild and crazy.

But optimizing calcyman's megapatterns would have taken a lot more time, and that would have increased the risk that those projects might never have gotten finished. A strong bias toward completion over optimization is clearly a very good idea. The same can be said for the Quest for Tetris: it's very entertaining to see what happens when people get some momentum on a project, refuse to take "No" for an answer, and just keep using the first thing they figure out that works.

I feel like the Quest for Tetris is very adequately documented already, so that maybe a LifeWiki "Quest For Tetris" article should mostly just give some dates and names, and then point to that link.

But I don't believe there's necessarily any general reluctance to mention QFT in a LifeWiki article, beyond the usual reluctance that everyone has for losing several days' worth of spare time doing a deep enough dive into a complex topic, to understand it well enough to write true things about it. The original loopship went without an article for several years, for pretty much the same reason.
GUYTU6J wrote:
April 16th, 2022, 9:59 am
... Well, yes, I know nothing about other discussion venues like reddit as pzq_alex mentioned. But come on, how possibly is our forums-discord complex the only place for producing valuable CA contents? Is it wild imagination to expect more foreign materials for LifeWiki article or POTY/OCADOTY entry?
It seems fairly likely to me that we're going to continue to know about most of the "good stuff", just because someone is likely to see anything interesting that's going on "out there", and bring it back to the forums or Discord to talk about it.

Now, just for example, I'm definitely hoping for more people to show up in the next few years with bright new ideas about search algorithms, SAT-solver based or otherwise. No doubt there are lots of interesting ideas out there that haven't been tried yet -- as hotdogPi has very thoroughly demonstrated in the last year, by writing a fairly simple and unoptimized script that tackles the hunt for oscillators in a clever way that hadn't been systematically attempted before.

Our job would seem to be to keep making the forums and/or Discord sufficiently well-known and welcoming, that anyone who is doing research along these lines, and/or anyone who is looking for a good place to talk about CA stuff, will most likely find one or both of them.

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Re: What is our attitude towards external CA discussion venues, people, patterns, etc?

Post by pcallahan » April 16th, 2022, 7:51 pm

dvgrn wrote:
April 16th, 2022, 7:33 am
What does "external CA people" even mean? In 2010, Andrew D. Wade was an "external CA person", I guess... more of those, please!
I was an "external" person in the early 1990s when I started posting on comp.theory.cell-automata. In fact, that newsgroup wasn't even focused on CGoL. It included discussion of the CAM-6 dedicated CA machine and Harold V. McIntosh's postings about his work using De Bruijn graphs if I'm not mistaken. I began by asking some very naive questions. Eventually I did something (it may have been the "thin rake") that caught the attention of the Life powers that be (or were) and I was invited to the secret cabal that was Rich Schroeppel's email list.

So I was external. Later I was internal. Today, I am mostly a bystander with life-adjacent interests, but I haven't contributed a significant result in many years. Unless anyone is born into CGoL they're going to start out external.

I think results from outside conwaylife should not be dismissed. It would be crazy and counterproductive. That said, there is a cultural difference between committed Life people and dabblers. The dabblers don't bother me at all, though. In fact I'd prefer there were more of them, just as there are many people who play chess but don't study it or work towards a chess rating.

One caveat. I am annoyed at academic researchers who refer to CGoL or similar Moore neighborhood CAs, yet seem unaware of this community and its work. Is this fair? I think so. In this case, there is an expectation of scholarship. I would not publish peer-reviewed work without doing a literature search, and a referee should always point out such a lapse. Unfortunately, most of the interesting work on CGoL is done outside the conventional research community, so the fault may be partly ours for failing to make this work and its significance known to academia.

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