8-bit programmable computer

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8-bit programmable computer
8-bit programmable computer image
Pattern type Miscellaneous
Number of cells 1571767
Bounding box 311607 × 303995
Discovered by Nicolas Loizeau
Year of discovery 2016

8-bit programmable computer is an implementation of an 8-bit computer in Conway's Game of Life designed and built in 2016 by Nicolas Loizeau.[1] An improved scalable version of the design with optimized circuitry, a 32x32 pixel display, and instructions to handle arrays was created in 2021.[2]


The computer supports eight variables and 13 instructions -- write, goto, move, jumpif, print, add, or, and, xor, not, flat, sign, and increment. The computer is programmed by changing the arrangement of structures in its Program area.

The improved version possesses two more instructions, shift and rotate, as well as a display that uses disp and erase instructions.

Comparison with other computer patterns

  • The 8-bit programmable computer is considerably simpler than the Spartan universal computer-constructor, in large part because it does not contain a universal construction component.
  • It is easy to program with the help of the associated Python utility script, assembly.py, and associated resources which can be found in the project's GitHub repository.
  • It is capable of performing standard 8-bit AND, OR, XOR, and NOT operations using any of its eight variables. The improved version can process up to 128 variables, which can be 8-bit, 16-bit, or 32-bit. Additionally, the improved version can use its variables as addresses that can be read from or written to.


  1. Nicolas Loizeau (November 19, 2016). Programmable computer (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
  2. Nicolas Loizeau (October 12, 2021). New scalable programmable computer (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums

External links