Large prime oscillator

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A large prime oscillator is any oscillator with a relatively small bounding box whose period is a very large prime. (If the bounding-box restriction is removed, then eight gliders travelling in a four-Snark loop would provide a trivial example for any chosen prime.) The first such oscillator was built by Gabriel Nivasch in 2003. The record holder for many years was an oscillator constructed by Adam P. Goucher in 2009 with a period that is a Mersenne prime with 13,395 digits (244497-1).[note 1]

The current record-holding oscillator is the next higher Mersenne-prime period, 286243-1. It was constructed with quadri-Snarks and semi-Snarks in November 2018. The pattern was posted by a unknown author in a comment on an unrelated Catagolue page. A copy can be found here.


  1. This oscillator can be found in Golly's Very Large Patterns collections, accessible via Help › Online Archives › Very Large Patterns › Mersenne-44497.

External links