John Conway’s Game of Life originated in the 40s as a way of expressing the idea of cellular automata, aka life. Originally a thought experiment using paper it has since become a very popular tool for young programmers to cut their teeth on, since the rules are very simple and you only need to input the original state after that the ‘game’ proceeds based on the rules.
For a space that is ‘populated’:
Each cell with one or no neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
Each cell with four or more neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
Each cell with two or three neighbours survives.
For a space that is ’empty’ or ‘unpopulated’
Each cell with three neighbours becomes populated.
It is also a way to study how complexity can form from very simple initial states, as in some games you will resolve to a static square, while other times you might meet a fluctuating glider gun or a toad. If you’ve never encountered this program before or are interested in setting it up on an FPGA then head to Hack a Day and see if you can’t get some HD cellular automata to live more than 30 or 40 generations.
"We’re going to have to take [Mike’s] word for it that he built Conway’s Game of Life with high-definition video output. That’s because this screenshot is his only proof and it looks a bit fuzzy to us. But we are interested in the project which used an FPGA to generate a 1080p VGA output of the classic programming challenge."
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