The Game of Life
John Horton Conway
Brief description of the work:
The Game of Life is a cellular automaton. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on some mathematical rules, live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game.
Materials, dimensions, duration:
Many versions of The Game of Life can be accessed online, most are programmed as Java applets.
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
1970 first mention in Scientific American magazine (see link below), since then increasingly popular.
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
The audience can play The Game of Life online. after selecting the starting pattern, the rules decide on the development of the next generations. Players can observe how the population constantly changes as the generations tick by. Symmetry and asymmetry develop as the patterns spread and contract over the grid.
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Floorplan, scheme:
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Observing systems in action
Further context:

The game demonstrates how complex patterns can emerge from the implementation of very simple rules. These are:

Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by loneliness. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives, unchanged, to the next generation. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours comes to life.