A continuous version of Conway's Life, using floating point values instead of integers:

supports many interesting phenomena such as gliders that can travel in any direction, rotating pairs of gliders, wickstretchers and the appearance of elastic tension in the 'cords' that join the blobs.

Slides showing how the rule works. Paper describing SmoothLife and SmoothLifeL.


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21 Responses:

  1. Patrick says:

    sigh And I just finished my AVR-driven LED matrix project that plays Life. rips out code, starts over

  2. Edouard says:

    Stephen Wolfram is very angry.

    • Jaba says:

      Floating point numbers are still discrete. I.e. you still have only 32 or 64 or whatever bits.

      • M@ says:

        So in order to make truly continuous version of Conway's Life we would have to use.... life?

        • leeb says:

          Planck constant says that won't work either.

        • Nyu-san says:

          I haven't read the paper yet, but it looks like using constructive real arithmetic may yield a solution that would allow you to descretize only for rendering (ie the discretization isn't involved when building the next state).

          Obviously, this doesn't solve the problem of time discretization, but I'm not a fan of ODEs and PDEs.

  3. This needs to be in XScreenSaver

  4. Pablo says:

    Great! But slides as video? Where is this going?

  5. Kevin Lyda says:

    Next step, make multiple kinds of units that have different rules.

    • Do you mean a collection of cells when you say unit, so the cells in each collection would share the same rules? What happens when the units collide, mixing the cells with the different rules!? That sounds pretty interesting!

  6. infinity says:

    Very nice! I have always liked the Game of Life, there are so many surprising things about it. Thank you for sharing the link to the article.

  7. Rezmason says:

    It'd be cool if someone wrote a webcrawler that found simple OpenGL projects with few dependencies and automatically ported them to WebGL.

    Has anyone managed to run this under Wine?

  8. gcb says:

    wasn't smoothlife 3D all the rave last year?

  9. amars says:

    Can you make it colorful - I mean, include a color-changing logic into this? I had seen a paper a long time back in an IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications issue about including color into Conway's Game of Life.

  10. T says:

    Wow! You could make a nice 3D print using every frame as slice for your 3D model :)

  11. If so, I hope the constants are (optionally) randomized for each instantiation.

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