Show me a random blog post


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


Show me a random blog post
▼ show ▼

Making names in Life

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


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 "meroeht" backwards in the box below (case sensitive):
© Matthew Scroggs 2019