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Purpose Search for oscillators and spaceships
Created by David Bell
Platform Platform-independent C

lifesrc is David Bell's Life search program for finding new oscillators and spaceships. It is a C implementation of an algorithm developed by Dean Hickerson in 6502 assembler. Many of the well-known oscillators and non-standard spaceships in Life were found either by lifesrc or Hickerson's original program.

The lifesrc algorithm is only useful for very small periods, as the amount of computing power required rises rapidly with increasing period. For most purposes, period 7 is the practical limit with current hardware.


Although lifesrc itself is a command-line program, each of these has a graphical interface.


Beginning on August 6, 2012, Jason Summers made a version for Windows called WinLifeSearch, or "WLS".


In 2012-13, Karel Suhajda developed a platform-independent Java version called JavaLifeSearch, or "JLS".[1] JLS and the latest version of WLS include some new search options, notably the ability to prune the search space in the middle of a search by tracking the list of cells that have always been assigned the same state, either ON or OFF, in every previously-discovered solution.


Main article: Tutorials/RLifeSrc

Beginning on May 17, 2019, AlephAlpha developed rlifesrc, written in Rust and with a web interface.


  1. Karel Suhajda (November 9, 2012). JavaLifeSearch (discussion thread) at the forums

External links