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.
- On writing implementations of the Game of Life
- Cellular Automata and Maze Solving part 1
- Cellular Automata and Maze Solving part 2
I also saw this video over the weekend. It's a short interview from
- 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.