Self-synthesizing oblique loopship
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|Self-synthesizing oblique loopship|
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|Number of cells||580460|
|Year of discovery||2021|
Like other loopships, the SSOL consists of a signal storage loop that moves by sending out two copies of a glider construction recipe. The first copy of the recipe is used to construct a new signal storage loop some distance from the original. The second copy is then directed into the new signal storage loop to allow the cycle to repeat. The previous loop circuitry self-destructs cleanly after it has emitted two copies of its contents.
The SSOL is the first loopship to use the new crabstretcher-based elbow push mechanism from the Speed Demonoid. It is also the first loopship that travels in an oblique direction. Perhaps most important, it is the first Conway's Life spaceship of any kind that is a non-trivial SMOS (spaceship made of spaceships): several of its phases consist of nothing but gliders, and yet the overall spaceship's velocity is different from the velocities of any of its component gliders. This makes it uniquely 'self-synthesizing' (i.e., producing its own glider recipe) as well as self-constructing.
Changes from previous loopship design
The previous orthogonal loopship was constructed before crabstretcher technology became available, so it used Cordership-based elbow pushes in a glide-reflecting design to allow for re-use of some of the corners of its signal storage loops.
This was necessary because Corderships travel slowly enough to make it more difficult to store a recipe for a simple diamond-shaped memory loop inside that same loop. Too much empty space is needed in the recipe, due to the need to wait until each Cordership gets far enough away before shooting it down to produce a target elbow; with a naive design, no matter how big the loop is made, the required wait times require such large gaps that there's no room left to store the actual construction recipe.
The new SSOL's crabstretcher elbow pushes move at c/4, and therefore requires much shorter gaps which leaves plenty of room for the rest of the recipe.
A script has been written to construct SSOL variants with signal storage loops of different sizes and shapes, and consequently different spaceship velocities. There are two primary degrees of freedom, corresponding to the NW/SE diameter and the NE/SW diameter of the signal storage loop. Many other timing adjustments can also be made, for example by adding or subtracting space between different components of the single-channel recipes, but it's not clear that this would result in any significantly new behavior.