Conway’s Game of Life

Game_of_life_pulsarThe “game” is a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves, or, for advanced “players”, by creating patterns with particular properties.

The universe of the Game of Life is an infinite two-dimensional orthogonal grid of square cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, alive or dead, or “populated” or “unpopulated”. Every cell interacts with its eight neighbours, which are the cells that are horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. At each step in time, the following transitions occur:

  • Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by underpopulation.
  • Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  • Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
  • Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

The initial pattern constitutes the seed of the system. The first generation is created by applying the above rules simultaneously to every cell in the seed—births and deaths occur simultaneously, and the discrete moment at which this happens is sometimes called a tick (in other words, each generation is a pure function of the preceding one). The rules continue to be applied repeatedly to create further generations.

You can read more about Conway’s Game of Life on wikipedia.

Python Implementation


Our Python implementation of Conway’s Game of Life lets you try different starting configurations as follows:

  • Option 1: Random configuration using a randomly generated 15×15 grid.
  • Option 2: The Glider Configuration.Glider
  • Option 3: The Toad Configuration.Toad
  • Option 4: The Beacon Configuration.Beacon
  • Option 5: The Pulsar configuration.Pulsar

Your Challenge


Compete the code provided in the trinket above to add some additional configurations such as:

  • The BlinkerBlinker
  • The PentadecathlonPentadecathlon
  • The Lightweight SpaceshipLightweight Spaceship
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Posted in Computer Science, Python - Advanced, Python Challenges

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