A Computer built in Conway’s Game of Life

Abstraction ad absurdum

I like nothing more than the idea of Abstraction. It’s not just one of the core concepts of Computer Science, it’s probably the most important one. Pioneers like Dijkstra scorned high-level languages because they had megabrains that could simultaneously understand multiple levels of abstraction in complex programs coded in low-level code.

But this is next-level abstraction. I’ve been fascinated by Conway’s Game of Life since reading about it in the 80s, and have coded it many times on machines like the BBC Micro and Color Genie (yes, it was me, I bought one). But it never occurred to me that the GOL could act as a programmable system, using glider guns and glider reflectors to simulate digital processing.

Here is the blog post with embedded video. A Von-Neumann machine encoded on top of Cellular Automata is a thing of beauty.

A Computer In The Game Of Life | Hackaday


By mraharrisoncs

Freelance consultant, teacher and author, professional development lead for the NCCE, CAS Master Teacher, Computer Science lecturer.

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