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C'est la Z

John Conway

We lost Mathematician John Conway to COVID-19 over the weekend. To us non mathematicians Conway was most well known for his Game of Life - a particularly interesting cellular automaton. If you poke around the web you can find all sorts of neat things relating to the Game of Life including a Turing Machine.

Some times, I'd have classes explore the Game of Life and variants as a whole unit though more often, I use it as a stepping stone to using Cellular Automata to solve problems. I've written about some of this.

I also saw this video over the weekend. It's a short interview from

  1. It's worth a watch.

I had the opportunity to meet Conway briefly once about a decade ago. It was an informal conversation at a puzzle conference. He was approachable enough and nice enough but I didn't have a chance to really get into anything in depth. Still, it was pretty cool to talk with him.

In the conversation he did mention "that F*ing Game of Life," possibly somewhat unhappy at it's being what he's so well known for but to us in the CS Teaching space it by itself was a gift worthy of a legacy.

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