A search program is a computer program or script that automates the search for objects having certain desired properties. These are used because the difficulty of finding previously unknown objects, especially in Life, now commonly exceeds the patience, speed, and accuracy of humans. Various types of search programs are used for finding objects such as spaceships, oscillators, drifters, catalysts, soups, Gardens of Eden, and slow salvos.
Some search programs generate partial results as they are running, so even if they don't complete successfully, something of use might still be salvaged from the run.
A list of search programs is maintained on a separate page.
There are other types of programs which don't perform searches as such, but instead perform large constructions. These are used to correctly complete very complicated objects such as the Caterpillar, Gemini, Caterloopillar, and universal constructor-based spaceships such as the Demonoids and Orthogonoids.
Programs that search multiple rules for causing a pattern to exhibit certain properties also exist, such as rulesrc.