Friday, April 30, 2004

I got an E-mail saying that everything I wrote about Conway's Life was wrong. Here we gooo...

... What's more, there's no finite algorithm to determine if an arbitrary Life pattern will die out or keep the thing running forever. Conway sketched out a proof of the latter assertion by showing that you could build a Turing machine out of Life components, and then showing that the undecidability of Life patterns was a corollary of Goedel's Theorem. ...

Okay, I'm going to assume that you are a very smart man, you graduated from Cambridge with honors and that you know absolutely what you are talking about.

That said, I just played the damn Linux applet. Every time I ran the game, the pixel-lings dwindled to a standstill (or an odd equilibrium in which they flipped back and forth with no progress to speak of). It kind of reminded me how a perfect balance between creation and destruction was actually complete silence; creation must always be winning, but never win. I am positive that you are right, that no algorithm could possibly determine the outcome of a game of Life. I did not hear Conway speak at my university, I have no university, I have not graduated from high school and have a much, much shorter penis.

Mea culpa. I'll try to be more careful next time.


(No! I don't have a penis. But I had you there, didn't I?)
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