Life-like Automaton With Definable Rules

The applet below is a modification of the Game of Life applet, with exactly the same controls at the bottom and additional ones on the right. The latter allows one to define the birth (the left - B - column) and the survival (the right - S - column) rules. For example, if the boxes B1, B3, B5, S2, S5 are (the only ones that) checked, then an empty cell with 1, 3, or 5 neighbors will come to life in the next generation, while a live cell with either 2 or 5 neighbors will survive the upheaval of the transition rules' application. (Conway's original rules correspond to B3, S2 and S3 being checked.)

This applet requires Sun's Java VM 2 which your browser may perceive as a popup. Which it is not. If you want to see the applet work, visit Sun's website at, download and install Java VM and enjoy the applet.

What if applet does not run?


  1. M. Gardner, Wheels, Life and Other Mathematical Amusements, W. H. Freeman and Co, 10th printing, 1999
  2. E. R. Berlekamp, J. H. Conway, R. K. Guy, Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays, v4, AK Peters, Ltd. (March 30, 2004)

Cellular Automaton

  1. Life-like Automaton With Definable Rules
  2. Sierpinski's Gasket and Dihedral Symmetry
  3. Simple Cellular Automaton
  4. The Game of Life

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