Emulator

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An emulator is one of the three period-4 oscillators that produce sparks similar to those produced by a lightweight spaceship, middleweight spaceship, or heavyweight spaceship. They are the lightweight emulator, middleweight emulator, and heavyweight emulator respectively. It is possible to construct larger emulators, but they require stabilizing objects to suppress their non-sparks and so are of little use (except for the overweight T-nosed p4). The three standard emulators were discovered by Robert Wainwright in June 1980. All of the p4 oscillators can eat gliders with their sparks.

"Emulator" has occasionally been used to refer to higher-period oscillators that produce sparks similar to other spaceships, but "volcano" is more commonly used specifically for period 5, or the generic "sparker" for other periods.

Known emulators at periods below ten
Period Lightweight Middleweight Heavyweight
4 Lightweight emulator Middleweight emulator Heavyweight emulator
5 Toaster Middleweight volcano 148P5, 256P5
6 262P6 98P6 64P6, 80P6, 92P6, 103P6
7 none known 120P7[n 1] 1320P7
8 Kok's galaxy[n 2] 209P8 230P8
9 Worker bee[n 3] none known 104P9

Notes

  1. While 120P7 does produce three cells connected by knights' moves in a certain way, all three of which die by the next generation, one of the cells not in the domino spark has one neighbor instead of zero, that neighbor cells does not die right away, and it contributes to another cell being born in the same general location as the spark by the next generation, so 120P7 can only function as a middleweight emulator in certain contexts.
  2. While Kok's galaxy does produce two cells that are three cells apart orthogonally that die during the next generation from underpopulation, one of those cells has one neighbor instead of zero, and that neighbor cell does not die right away, so Kok's galaxy can only function as a lightweight emulator in certain contexts.
  3. While a worker bee does produce two cells that are three cells apart orthogonally that die during the next generation from underpopulation, each of those cells has one neighbor instead of zero, those neighbor cells do not die right away, and they contribute to other cells being born in the same general location as the spark by the next generation, so a worker bee can only function as a lightweight emulator in certain contexts.

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