Glider (Conway's Game of Life)

Moving pattern of five live cells in Conway's Game of Life / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The glider is a pattern that travels across the board in Conway's Game of Life. It was first discovered by Richard K. Guy in 1969, while John Conway's group was attempting to track the evolution of the R-pentomino. Gliders are the smallest spaceships, and they travel diagonally at a speed of one cell every four generations, or . The glider is often produced from randomly generated starting configurations.[1]

The mutation and movement of a "glider".
A three-dimensional view of a glider, with previous generations visible going down the z-axis. The c/4 period is clearly visible as "stacks" of cells that remain alive for successive generations.

The name comes from the fact that, after two steps, the glider pattern repeats its configuration with a glide reflection symmetry. After four steps and two glide reflections, it returns to its original orientation.[2] John Conway remarked that he wished he hadn't called it the glider. The game was developed before the widespread use of interactive computers, and after seeing it animated, he feels the glider looks more like an ant walking across the plane.[3]