John Conway's Game of Life
The Game of Life was invented by John Conway (as you might have
gathered). The game is played on a field of cells, each of which has
eight neighbors (adjacent cells). A cell is either occupied (by an
organism) or not. The rules for deriving a generation from the
previous one are these:
If an occupied cell has 0, 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 occupied neighbors, the
organism dies (0, 1: of loneliness; 4 thru 8: of overcrowding).
If an occupied cell has two or three neighbors, the organism
survives to the next generation.
If an unoccupied cell has three occupied neighbors, it becomes
Where You Can Find More
The original article describing the game can be found in the April 1970
issue of Scientific American, page 120.
implementation, of all things. Very cool!
Here's a handy Google query.