Methuselah (cellular automaton)

Methuselah (cellular automaton)

In cellular automata, a methuselah is a small "seed" pattern of initial live cells that take a large number of generations in order to stabilize. More specifically, Martin Gardner defines them as patterns of fewer than ten live cells which take longer than 50 generations to stabilize, although some patterns that are larger than ten cells have also been called methuselahs. Patterns that grow forever are not considered methuselahs.

In Conway's Game of Life

In Conway's Game of Life, the smallest methuselah is the R-pentomino, a pattern of five cells first considered by Conway himself, that takes 1103 generations before stabilizing. The acorn, a pattern of seven live cells developed by Charles Corderman, takes 5206 generations to stabilize and produce an "oak." Some other examples of methuselahs are called bunnies and rabbits. The longest-lived methuselah known to date, discovered by Andrzej Okrasinski and David Bell, has an initial population of 13 and a final population of 1623, and takes 29055 generations to stabilize.


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