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Purpose Exploring the Game of Life and other cellular automata
Created by Andrew Trevorrow and Tomas Rokicki
Platform Cross-platform

Golly, first released July, 2005, is a free, open-source, cross-platform tool for simulating Conway's Game of Life that was written by Andrew Trevorrow and Tomas Rokicki, with contributions by Dave Greene, Jason Summers, Tim Hutton, Maks Verver, Robert Munafo, Chris Rowett and Dongook Lee, collectively known as the Golly Gang. It contains support for many different types of cellular automaton rules and provides implementations of many different algorithms for evolving those rules. It is fast enough to implement many small patterns via unit cells quickly on current hardware.

In addition to simulating cellular automata, Golly contains libraries that allows it to interact with Lua and Python scripts, allowing it to perform various other tasks as well. For example, some of the scripts included with it allow for the production of simple animated GIFs of patterns, display population graphs, calculate the density of the current pattern, and even run search programs such as apgsearch.

Golly is also one of the few Life simulation programs that supports a visual HashLife mode, allowing for the simulation of huge patterns in very little time. As a result, it is one of the only programs (if not the only program) capable of simulating meta-patterns via the OTCA metapixel efficiently. Several such meta-patterns come packaged with Golly.

Golly's logo is Kok's galaxy. Golly 4.0 is dedicated to the memory of John Horton Conway, the creator of Life, who passed away in 2020.

There are still some families of cellular automata which Golly does not support natively. For example, Margolus rules and partitioned cellular automata are supported by LifeViewer but require ruletables for Golly.

Golly also contains a state-of-the-art collection of patterns covering many rules.

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