It has long been known that Conway's life is Turing complete, that is you can use it to compute anything that a Turing machine can compute, but doing it is another matter. Now we have an video that really brings the idea home. Some years ago, around 2006, Brice Due created a metapixel — a unit cell that can be customized to behave like any cell in a Life like cellular automata. The metapixel uses 2048x2048 “real” Life cells and takes 35,328 generations to change state and it really is aware of the state of each of its neighbours. This makes it possible to create an implementation of Life in Life. But your mind has not been completely blown until you see the video of the smooth zoom, reminisent of the famous “powers of ten” video. It starts down at the single cell level and zooms out all the way until you can see Life being run by the metapixels. Life’s simple rules give rise to complex behaviours which are used to implement simple rules — the circle has closed.
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