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Caterer is a period-3 oscillator found by Dean Hickerson on August 4, 1989. Its rotor is similar to that of jam. In terms of its minimum population of 12 cells this is the smallest period 3 oscillator, and tied with fox as the smallest wholly asymmetric oscillator.
More generally, any oscillator which serves up a bit in the same manner, such as T-nosed p4 and T-nosed p6, may be referred to as a caterer.
- Main article: List of common oscillators
Caterer is about the forty-second most common naturally-occurring oscillator in Achim Flammenkamp's census, being about as frequent as beehive on griddle. On Catagolue, it is the fourth most common period 3 oscillator, being less common than trans-block on candlefrobra but more common than cis-block on candlefrobra.
An 11-glider synthesis of the caterer was discovered by Tim Coe; Tanner Jacobi and Chris Cain later found a 7-glider synthesis. Several additional edgy recipes for caterers at different orientations were discovered from asymmetric soups and summarized by GUYTU6J. In September 2022, a 5-glider synthesis was found by iNoMed based on a partial synthesis found by the Open Science Grid in the moog_stdin symmetry.