Glossary of basic terms

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This page provides very short definitions of a small set of basic terms used in discussing Life and Life patterns.

Types of patterns

still life
a non-empty pattern that does not change from one generation to the next
oscillator
a pattern that repeats itself after a fixed number of generations (known as its period)
spaceship
a finite pattern that moves across the grid of cells and repeats itself after a fixed number of generations
eater
any still life or oscillator that can delete junk produced by some reactions without suffering any permanent damage
catalyst
any still life or oscillator that has the ability to interact with certain patterns without suffering any permanent damage
puffer
a pattern that moves like a spaceship, except that it leaves debris behind
rake
a puffer whose debris consists of spaceships
gun
a stationary pattern that repeatedly emits spaceships (or rakes) forever
breeder
a pattern that exhibits unbounded quadratic growth
conduit
an arrangement of still lifes and/or oscillators that move an active object to another location without suffering any permanent damage
methuselah
a pattern that takes a large number of generations to stabilize (known as its lifespan) and becomes much larger than its initial configuration at some point during its evolution
soup
a pattern made by randomly putting cells in an area.
synthesis
a way to make another pattern by crashing spaceships into each other.