Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tweaking Life

This is a thought on the game of life that Lee introduced me to a while back. John Conway has said that he played around with various rules to see which would produce the most interesting results. I took him to mean that he played around with the survival and birth rules. I was wondering if anyone has played around with tiles having different iteration speeds? Consider if every other column iterated at twice the speed. Basically squares could "play" at different speeds. Has anyone seen anything like this? Lee? Ken, I know you said you've played around with cellular automata?


Ken Colangelo said...

I played around with Life and other cellular automata from 7th grade through college but it never occurred to me to vary the speed at which some cells were updated. Locked into that Newtonian absolute time mindset I guess.
I think it would be most interesting to vary the speed of rule evaluation based on something like local population density of cells or perhaps the local delta in cell count. By local I mean at some radius much greater than the 8 'neighbors' that are normally evaluated. You could even use local population density to color the cells.
Always thought 3D life could be a fun project too although it would require a brute force evaluation of all the possible rules to get a pleasing result.

HM said...

Interesting to think the speed of rule evaluation as being dynamic. If you based the speed on local population density, speed would change in the same way surviving/death would. You could have two separate rules though. 3D life would definitely be fun. I imagine scaling the 2D game rules to the 3D would produce interesting results. (Although the probability distributions at least for birth don't scale perfectly.) I found this
nosing around. It is 3D life, but I don't think it is what you're talking about. It seems the layers are independent of each other--just a bunch of 2D games co-visualized.