You're reading: Posts Tagged: John Conway

Review: Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway, by Siobhan Roberts

The author Siobhan Roberts has sent us a copy of her new book, Genius at Play. There was a strong implication that we should review it. I’ve now read the book, so I’ll do that: I enjoyed it.


John Conway on Numberphile!

Numberphile, the supremum over all YouTube channels, has scored a bit of a coup – Brady has sat down and recorded an interview with the famously Internet-reclusive John Conway.

In this first video (there’s a bonus one linked at the end of this one, and I hope there’ll be more) John talks about his love/hate relationship with his Game of Life.

[youtube url=]

By the way, I notice from the video’s description that the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute is paying for Numberphile these days. Thanks, MSRI!

Life imitates Life

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.

[youtube url=]

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+.

  1. the Shepard tone is used to create the illusion of a sound constantly increasing in pitch []

John Conway profile

An interview/profile of John Conway has been published at The Daily Princetonian. Conway talks about his life and his methods.

“We’re remarkably free here,” Conway said of his position at Princeton. “Nobody tells me off for playing games. In fact, I’ve made playing games be serious.”

Source: Math and games.