The Source of Life

Remember Conway’s Game of Life?

This video from YouTube made follow a trail of pages until I ended up here. Don’t bother to follow the link if you’re still surfing with IE.

After playing with the page for some time, try this link. It will start Ghost Diagrams with a special set called Rule 110. According to this page, Rule 110 is actually “a cellular automaton known to be capable of universal computation.”

An image says more than a thousand words (if you can’t see it, you’re using the wrong browser):

What does this look like? Chaotic yet orderly. The order is not only because of the shape of the tiles. When you watch it grow, you see order and chaos grow, fight with each other. For me, it looks a bit like evolution. It has a memory (the part of the shape that doesn’t change), you can see parts grow up and break down, patterns emerge and vanish.

This mimics atoms and molecules which are also way to simple to “understand” what they do. They just arrange in patterns which make “sense” (for an atom). And after 14 billion years, the human who wonders how such simple rules could create something as wonderful as the spark of understanding.

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