mscroggs.co.uk
mscroggs.co.uk

subscribe

Blog

Making names in Life

 2016-06-05 
The Game of Life is a cellular automaton invented by John Conway in 1970, and popularised by Martin Gardner.
In Life, cells on a square grid are either alive or dead. It begins at generation 0 with some cells alive and some dead. The cells' aliveness in the following generations are defined by the following rules:
Starting positions can be found which lead to all kinds of behaviour: from making gliders to generating prime numbers. The following starting position is one of my favourites:
It looks boring enough, but in the next generation, it will look like this:
If you want to confirm that I'm not lying, I recommend the free Game of Life Software Golly.

Going backwards

You may be wondering how I designed the starting pattern above. A first, it looks like a difficult task: each cell can be dead or alive, so I need to check every possible combination until I find one. The number of combinations will be \(2^\text{number of cells}\). This will be a very large number.
There are simplifications that can be made, however. Each of the letters above (ignoring the gs) is in a 3×3 block, surrounded by dead cells. Only the cells in the 5×5 block around this can affect the letter. These 5×5 blocks do no overlap, so can be calculated seperately. I doesn't take too long to try all the possibilities for these 5×5 blocks. The gs were then made by starting with an o and trying adding cells below.

Can I make my name?

Yes, you can make your name.
I continued the search and found a 5×5 block for each letter. Simply Enter your name in the box below and these will be combined to make a pattern leading to your name!
Enter your name:

Similar posts

Building MENACEs for other games
MENACE at Manchester Science Festival
The Mathematical Games of Martin Gardner
MENACE

Comments

Comments in green were written by me. Comments in blue were not written by me.
 Add a Comment 


I will only use your email address to reply to your comment (if a reply is needed).

Allowed HTML tags: <br> <a> <small> <b> <i> <s> <sup> <sub> <u> <spoiler> <ul> <ol> <li>
To prove you are not a spam bot, please type "sixa-y" backwards in the box below (case sensitive):

Archive

Show me a random blog post
 2019 

Jul 2019

Big Internet Math-Off stickers

Jun 2019

Proving a conjecture

Apr 2019

Harriss and other spirals

Mar 2019

realhats

Jan 2019

Christmas (2018) is over
 2018 
▼ show ▼
 2017 
▼ show ▼
 2016 
▼ show ▼
 2015 
▼ show ▼
 2014 
▼ show ▼
 2013 
▼ show ▼
 2012 
▼ show ▼

Tags

golden spiral reuleaux polygons chess game of life data noughts and crosses graph theory folding paper light electromagnetic field latex asteroids error bars logic speed world cup dataset dates interpolation palindromes game show probability hexapawn golden ratio christmas card rhombicuboctahedron chalkdust magazine hats countdown london underground sorting pythagoras statistics mathsteroids mathslogicbot people maths christmas nine men's morris bodmas pizza cutting coins matt parker captain scarlet bubble bobble stickers manchester weather station map projections martin gardner ternary menace games craft go arithmetic raspberry pi sport reddit video games frobel trigonometry cross stitch fractals gerry anderson binary final fantasy probability football folding tube maps sound harriss spiral chebyshev tennis rugby news plastic ratio big internet math-off books london royal baby pac-man machine learning national lottery propositional calculus estimation braiding draughts inline code wool geometry twitter radio 4 flexagons manchester science festival polynomials mathsjam the aperiodical realhats puzzles a gamut of games oeis programming approximation misleading statistics php platonic solids triangles javascript curvature dragon curves european cup python accuracy

Archive

Show me a random blog post
▼ show ▼
© Matthew Scroggs 2019