Here’s a roundup of some of the mathematical things that happened in the first month of the year.
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Cambridge North is a brand new train station, and the building’s got a fab bit of cladding with a design ‘derived from John Horton Conway’s “Game of Life” theories which he established while at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1970.’
One problem: that’s Wolfram’s Rule 135, not the Game of Life. You can tell because of the pixels.
Rule 135 is a 1-dimensional automaton: you start with a row of black or white pixels, and the rule tells you how the colour of each pixel changes based on the colours of the neighbouring pixels. The Cambridge North design shows the evolution of a rule 135 pattern as a distinct row of pixels for each time step. Conway’s Game of Life follows the same idea but in two dimensions – a pixel’s colour changes depending on the nearby pixels in every compass direction.
Either way, it’s a lovely pattern. I suspect the designers went with Rule 135 instead of the Game of Life so that they’d get a roughly even mix of white and black pixels, which is hard to achieve under Conway’s rules.
Just in case gawping at train stations is your cup of tea, here’s a promotional video with lots of lovely panning shots of the design:
EDIT: James Grime has now also done a video, which can be seen here:
Delayed £50m Cambridge North railway station opens on BBC News.
Cambridge North Station information from Atkins Group, the design consultancy responsible for the station building.
Press release from Greater Anglia trains.
The Game of Life: a beginner’s guide by Alex Bellos in the Guardian.
Brought to our attention by @Quendus on Twitter.
A new play called Game of Life is to be performed from 5th-22nd September at The Yard in Hackney Wick in London. It will apparently “bring to life a scientific theory: the phenomenon of ‘emergence’, and Conway’s ‘game of life’ — an elegant mathematical model simulating birth, death and survival”.
Good news, everyone! I literally jumped out of my seat and punched the air when I saw this story. It’s as if this site was set up specifically to report on this exact piece of news.
A while ago somebody created a simulation of Conway’s Game of Life inside a bigger version of the Game of Life. Now, YouTube user Phillip Bradbury has created a very simple — and aurally pleasing1 — video showing it in action.
Apparently this is made possible by the Outer Totalistic Cellular Automata Meta-Pixel (OTCAMP), a “two state programmable unit cell which allows Conway’s Life to simulate any outer totalistic rule. OTCAMP is a meta-cell which is also a meta-pixel. OTCAMP meta-pixels display evolving meta-patterns on-screen in meta-realtime.”
An outer totalistic rule is a rule for a cellular automaton which defines the transitions between cell states based on the total number of switched-on surrounding cells surrounding them. The Game of Life is one such rule.
Source: Richard Elwes on Google+.
- the Shepard tone is used to create the illusion of a sound constantly increasing in pitch [↩]