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Warp Life for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch will be soon available in the App Store.

Warp Life iOS Icon
Warp Life for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

A uniquely well-thought out and blazingly fast implemention of Conway's Game of Life, which was invented by Princeton Mathematician John Horton Conway, then first published not in the customary arcane, peer-reviewed academic journal but in Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in the October 1970 issue of Scientific American magazine.

Warp Life is a particular example of a class of computer program known as a Cellular Automaton.

Cellular Automata store their state in multidimensional grids, two in the case of Conway's Game of Life.

A fixed set of rules propagates the grid state from generation to generation as time advances in fixed steps, like the tick of a clock.

The oddly primitive and simplistic rules of Conway's Life were quite carefully designed by Dr. Conway to yield "Emergent Behavior": visually interesting patterns at first, then patterns that grow and shrink, then patterns known as "Spaceships" that move as time passes.

Cellular Automata can be used to solve useful problems, such as the three dimensional Gas Lattice Automata of Tsutomu Shimomura. In general, Gas Lattice Automata numerically compute the motions of compressible fluids; Tsutomu's work for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) modeled the flow of supersonic gases, and is useful for designing supersonic fighter plane fuselages and spacecraft reentry vehicles.

Deep Insight Into The Nature Of Reality is required to design a new set of Automaton Rules that yield behavior that is in any way interesting or useful, let alone emergent as Conway's Life. Tsutomu's work - Tsutomu is tolerant of being called "Stomo" to his face by Anglos such as myself :-) - primarily focussed on the elucidation of gas lattice rules that would yield accurate numerical models.

One a new set of rules are in hand, it is quite easy to implement them in software. If they yield no joy, modest adjustments might. If no joy results, one must dwell on the problem in quiet contemplation until Insight dawns.

Once a set of rules is found that yields joy - physically accurate models, as with Gas Lattice Automata, emergent behavior as with Conway's Life - while costly, it is not hard at all to design then physically implement Cellular Automata in digital electronics, say by designing then manufacturing Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC). ASICs can be quite costly, but are affordable in the form of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA).

A simple set of rules can be implemented by quite small, simple circuits. A single ASIC can contain many "Cores" - commonly known as "IP" or Intellectual Property, that is, the design of a circuit that is licensed commercially, as the ARM Cores are licensed by ARM Holdings of the United Kingdom.

ASICs containing tens of thousands or even millions of Automaton Cells are quite cheap to design by "Fabless Semiconductor" firms these days, and affordable for "Foundries" such as Intel of Hillsboro, Oregon to manufacture in their "Fabs" or "Wafer Fabrication" Integrated Circuit (IC) factories. FPGAs can be "Burned In" or, effectively, manufactured by inexpensive FPGA programmers in one's own office

Warp Life is in Beta Testing. If you'd like to help test, we need some configuration information from your iOS device. Please follow the instructions on this page.

I expect to submit Warp Life for App Store approval after just one more round of Beta Testing. Unless something unexpected turns up, it should be available from the store by early July.

Warp Life will be a free download from the App Store.

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