Conway's Game of Life

The most famous cellular automaton, Conway's game of life was was devised by British Mathematician John Conway in 1970.


The world consists of a 2D lattice of cells. Each cell has a state, either alive (colored) or dead (black). The future of every cell is determined by a simple set of rules:

  1. An alive cell dies of loneliness if it has none or only 1 living neighbour
  2. An alive cell dies of starvation if it has more than 3 living neighbours
  3. An alive cell is sustained if it has 2 or 3 living neighbours
  4. A non-living cell becomes alive if it has exactly 3 living neighbours
These rules are enforced on all cells, and the grid is updated synchronously. Cells that are about to die of loneliness are represented by white. Cells that are going to die due to overcrowding are represented by red. Cells with two neighbours are colored orange whereas cells with three neighbours are colored blue.

  1. Touch a cell in order to toggle its state (dead/alive)
  2. Toggling a cell's state will automatically pause the simulation. Click on 'Resume' to continue
  3. On mobile phones, avoid touching the canvas while scrolling down

Number of cells per row/column:

Frames per second:

Interesting States

Steady States: No change takes place. Every living cell has 2 or 3 neighbours and continues to co-exist forever

Oscillators: Interchange between the same states periodically

Spaceships: Move across the screen and periodically regain their original configuration

Methulselahs: Evolve for a long time before stabilizing

Glider Guns: Periodically generate an infinite amount of gliders

Block layers: Lay down 2x2 blocks as they propagate

Interesting Facts

  1. It is possible to construct all elements of electronics in Conway's game of life: logic gates, counters, memory cells, etc. In fact, Turing-complete computers have been constructed within this world.
  2. It is possible to construct self-replicative entities within this game. A DNA-like record has also been used to store and propogate information.
  3. This game can be simulated on a variety of 2D geometric figures like knots and Mobius strips.
  4. This system also exhibits chaos: if you modify the initial state by a little, then the long-term behaviour of the system gets drastically changed.

  1. Border interactions can be toggled using the enable/disable border interactions button. Some simulations: like the Gosper's glider gun, get interrupted when the Glider wraps around and destroys the gun
  2. Accidently touching the canvas while scrolling down on a mobile will toggle the state of a cell and may disturb the ongoing simulation

Developed by ChanRT | Fork me at GitHub