One way to simulate a two-dimensional cellular automaton is with an infinite sheet of graph paper along with a set of rules for the cells to follow.
The universe of John Horton Conway's Game Of Life is an infinite, two-dimensional orthogonal grid of cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, live or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight neighbours. At each step in time, the following transitions occur:
- Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by underpopulation.
- Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
- Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
- Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.
In cellular automata, a methuselah is a small "seed" pattern of initial live cells that take a large number of generations in order to stabilize.