Conway’s Game of Life: Mathematics and Construction

Nathaniel Johnston and Dave Greene

This book provides an introduction to Conway’s Game of Life, the
interesting mathematics behind it, and the methods used to construct
many of its most interesting patterns. Lots of small “building
block”-style patterns (especially in the first four or so chapters of
this book) were found via brute-force or other computer searches, and
the book does not go into the details of how these searches were
implemented. However, from that point on it tries to guide the reader
through the thought processes and ideas that are needed to combine
those patterns into more interesting composite ones.

While the book largely follows the history of the Game of Life, that
is not its primary purpose. Rather, it is a by-product of the fact
that most recently discovered patterns build upon patterns and
techniques that were developed earlier. The goal of this book is to
demystify the Game of Life by breaking down the complex patterns that
have been developed in it into bite-size chunks that can be understood

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