An eater is any catalyst that can delete residual patterns produced by certain reactions. A usage of this term can be seen in the name of century eater, which is used to delete centuries. The term may also sometimes specifically refer to eater 1, a very common and well-known glider eater. The block was the first known eater, being found to be capable of eating beehives from a queen bee, allowing the construction of the queen bee shuttle. The animation to the right shows an eater 5 feasting on an incoming stream of gliders.
Glider eaters by recovery time
There are dozens of known glider eaters with varying recovery times. The smallest possible recovery time is 4 generations, attained by eater 1. The following stamp collection, compiled in December 1998 by Dean Hickerson, displays 88 well-known glider eaters arranged by their recovery time. Some of the most notable eaters displayed are eater 2 (leftmost in the "5" row and second from the left in the "6" row), eater 3 (leftmost in the "9" row), and eater 5 (second and third rightmost in the "6" row). Additionally, the leftmost eater in the "10" row and the second rightmost eater in the "11" row are called sparking eater because both produce a useful 1-bit corner dot spark.
|Dean Hickerson's 1998 stamp collection of glider eaters|
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- Eaters (category)
- Nathaniel Johnston, Dave Greene. Conway's Game of Life: Mathematics and Construction (2022), 7.1.
- Nathaniel Johnston, Dave Greene. Conway's Game of Life: Mathematics and Construction (2022), 2.3.
- Macbi (March 14, 2021). Re: Unproven conjectures (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
- Dean Hickerson. "Glider eaters". Dean Hickerson's Game of Life page. Retrieved on August 29, 2022.