Pattern of the Year

The Pattern of the Year (POTY) competition is held each year on the forums. Users are invited to submit interesting and noteworthy patterns, their own or others'; following discussion, a final list is then curated, and a public vote held. There are only two hard and fast rules: patterns must have been discovered in the year in question; and patterns must work in B3/S23 (Conway's Game of Life).

In 2020, the Pattern of the Decade (POTD) competition is also being held in which users vote on the most noteworthy patterns discovered between 2010 and 2019.


Year First place Second place Third place
2019David HilbertSpider synthesisScholar
2018Sir Robin0E0P metacellReverse caber-tosser
20172-engine CordershipTanner's p46Stable pulse-dividers
2016CaterloopillarsCopperheadGrandfather-less Pattern
2015SyringeSimkin glider gunDemonoids
2014WaterbearCentipedeHalf-baked knightship
2013SnarkLoaferCC semi-Snark
Linear propagator
2011Fully universal Turing machine
Garden of Eden 6
2010GeminiPhi calculatorc/5 diagonal rake

‡ Result of informal consensus rather than formal competition;

† Patterns were tied on number of votes.

Results by year

Pattern of the Decade (2010s)


The Pattern of the Decade competition for the 2010s is currently taking place, and is being organized by testitemqlstudop. All top-three winners from each previous Pattern of the Year competition during the 2010s are automatically added to the nomination list. It is unknown when nominations end for this competition. The results will be posted both on the wiki and on the forums when voting is complete.



The following patterns were voted on for the 2019 competition. Users were able to vote on as many patterns as they wished, awarding up to three stars to each one. testitemqlstudop organized the competition.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
174David HilbertLuka Okanishi, Aidan F. Pierce
The first period-23 oscillator discovered.
266Spider synthesisMartin Grant, Goldtiger997, Tanner Jacobi, et al.
The first glider synthesis of a c/5 orthogonal spaceship, and the largest elementary spaceship synthesis to date.
353ScholarAndrew J. Wade
The second elementary 2c/7 orthogonal spaceship to be discovered, using a new search program named life_slice_ship_search.
=44846P4H1V0 synthesis and gunTanner Jacobi, Matthias Merzenich, Martin Grant, Goldtiger997
The first synthesis and the first gun to produce a c/4 orthogonal spaceship.
=448Cheap still life synthesesTanner Jacobi, Goldtiger997, Jeremy Tan, Adam P. Goucher, Chris Cain, 2718281828, et al.
Among other things, the construction of all 17-bit still lifes in at most 16 gliders (less than one glider per bit) and all 18-bit still lifes in at most 38 gliders.
=645Knightwave stablizationMatthias Merzenich, Adam P. Goucher
The discovery that Minstrel 2 can be used to support both ends of the knightwave, allowing for extensible knightships.
=645ReminiMichael Simkin
A universal constructor-based puffer, made only with p30 technology theoretically available since the 1970s.
841Dueling banjos and p24 gunApple Bottom, Tanner Jacobi, Matthias Merzenich, et al.
A new period-24 oscillator and resulting compact p24 gun.
939SlavicPavel Grankovskiy
The current smallest universal-constructor based quadratic growth pattern.
=103727P4H1V1 synthesis and gunGoldtiger997, Blinkerspawn, Entity Valkyrie, et al.
=1037Stable glider-to-spaceship convertersGoldtiger997
Stable patterns that convert gliders into small synthesizable spaceships (crab, 25P3H1V0.2, 27P4H1V1).
123666P13Bullet51, Aidan F. Pierce, et al.
A sparky period-13 oscillator which can support wicks, bumpers, and p26 oscillators.
1335p49 skewed pulsar hasslerMartin Grant, Jason Summers
The first known p49 oscillator that is not a glider loop.
=1434Phoenix agarsAlex Greason, BlinkerSpawn, Dongook Lee, and Arie Paap
Oscillating patterns living on a period-2 phoenix background that emulate some bounded Rule 18 patterns.
=143460-line c/10 printerGilGil
An easy-to-use c/10 orthogonal printer that can copy and print a picture 60 lines tall.
=1633R49Entity Valkyrie, Luka Okanishi
A useful and compact pre-Herschel turner/advancer conduit.
=1633New gun designsTanner Jacobi
Clever new gun components that allow the reduction of a large number of glider guns in the small guns collection.
=1633Systematic survey of small patternsNick Gotts
A systematic survey of all patterns up to 9 cells, as well as a survey of all single-cluster 10-cell patterns resulting in the discovery of two record-breaking 10-celled methuselae, bunnies 10a and bunnies 10b.
=193299 Bottles of Beer on the WallMichael Simkin
A pattern that prints the song "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
=1932Spaghetti monster eater and HeisenburpMartin Grant, Goldtiger997
The first patterns capable of cleanly deleting and detecting a 3c/7 orthogonal spaceship.
212947575MAdam P. Goucher
A record-breaking methuselah (excluding switch engine-based methuselahs) found with apgsearch.
2227Mountain range patternsDean Hickerson
Various patterns experiencing irregular growth due to complex glider interactions in a similar vein to jagged lines.
=2326New mid-period sparkers2718281828, Aidan F. Pierce, Martin Grant, Dongook Lee
=2326Stably supported cyclotron gunGoldtiger997, Paul Callahan, Adam P. Goucher
A modification of Dean Hickerson's cyclotron which uses only stable components.
2525230P8Arie Paap
A high-clearance p8 domino sparker that can be used to create a p32 phase shift oscillator.
2623p250 c/10 orthogonal rakechristoph.r
The lowest-period c/10 orthogonal rake constructed to date.
A logarithmic-growth pattern with a sawtooth-shaped population graph.



The following patterns were voted on for the 2018 competition. Users were able to vote on as many patterns as they wished, awarding up to three stars to each one. 77topaz organized the competition.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
1106Sir RobinAdam P. Goucher, Tomas Rokicki
A (2,1)c/6 spaceship, and the first elementary oblique spaceship discovered in Conway's Game of Life.
2900E0P metacellAdam P. Goucher
A unit cell which does not require a background grid of metacells to function, proving the existence of unusual classes of patterns such as quadratic replicators and RROs in Conway's Game of Life "imported" from other rules.
379Reverse caber-tosserAdam P. Goucher, Dave Greene, Chris Cain
A complex mechanism which theoretically allows any glider-synthesisable pattern to be synthesised in just 35 gliders, by encoding the pattern's complexity into the distance between the gliders rather than their quantity.
452Turing Machine simulatorMichael Simkin
A script which can simulate arbitrary Turing machines in Conway's Game of Life using a finite tape.
545CamelshipChris Cain
A self-constructing oblique spaceship with the minimum possible step size for a slope 3 spaceship.
=641New self-constructing spaceshipsDave Greene
A loopship, along with HashLife-friendly variants of Orthogonoid and Demonoid.
=641c/2 diagonal telegraph recipeMartin Grant
A 140-glider recipe to create a detectable c/2 diagonal signal traveling non-destructively along an arbitrarily long barge or ship.
835Period-52 glider gunDave Greene, Matthias Merzenich, Adam P. Goucher, Chris Cain, Entity Valkyrie
The first true-period 52 gun constructed, which was later vastly reduced using 53P13.
934Stable line crosserDave Greene, Goldtiger997, Chris Cain
A modernized rehash of a periodic circuit for transmitting a glider across a diagonal line of cells found by David Bell.
=1033Jormungant's G-to-HLouis-François Handfield (Jormungant)
A 2G-to-H converter with a short recovery time, allowing for the optimization of numerous guns.
=1033Period-33 glider gunArie Paap, Matthias Merzenich
The first true-period 33 gun, which uses two interacting copies of Jason's p33.
=1033Infinite distinct diagonal spaceships and infinite distinct orthogonal spaceshipsAdam P. Goucher, Goldtiger997
Two guns which each use sqrtgun mechanisms to fire infinitely many distinct spaceships, all of which are puffers whose outputs are eaten by spaceships arbitrarily far away.
=1331Sierpinski triangle generatorLuka Okanishi
A breeder that outputs gliders in the shape of a growing Sierpinski triangle.
An infinitely extensible pushalong for the copperhead and fireship.
=13315c/9 signal injectorRhombic, Simon Ekström, Chris Cain
A method of transforming Herschels to 5c/9 drifters with a recovery time of 62.
1630p46 gliderless LWSS gunNathaniel Johnston
The smallest known gliderless LWSS gun, using three copies of Tanner's p46.
=1729BroncoTanner Jacobi
The second elementary glider-to-Herschel converter to be discovered.
=1729New high-period oscillatorscarybe
A collective entry for p36 shuttle, 34P14 shuttle, 68P16, and p64 thunderbird hassler, all discovered using apgsearch.
1928Quinti-SnarksTanner Jacobi
Period-quintupling reflectors useful for guns.
2027Pseudo-period xWSS gunsChris Cain, Adam P. Goucher, Entity Valkyrie, 2718281828, Goldtiger997
New xWSS guns with pseudo-periods ranging from 18 to 21, breaking the previous record of 22.
2126Self-constructing oscillator with strict volatility oneDave Greene, Goldtiger997
A method of constructing strictly volatile oscillators with any period 3,506,910 or above.
2225p3 bumperArie Paap, Tanner Jacobi
A periodic reflector to work at p39, which also allowed for the construction of a p57 bumper loop
=2324Goldtiger997's Amazing 2 in 1 Reusable Multipurpose Minstrel Remover and Detector™Goldtiger997
A circuit capable of removing every known Minstrel from Sir Robin at the time of its construction.
=2324New mid-period sparkersDongook Lee, Josh Ball, Martin Grant, Aidan F. Pierce, carybe, Bullet51

A collective entry for various sparking oscillators with periods ranging from 7 to 10, including but not limited to 68P9 and 55P10.
=2523Minstrel 4Entity Valkyrie
A manually-assembled Sir Robin tagalong which combines Minstrels 1 and 3.
=2523Period-doubling fireship tagalongchristoph.r
A tagalong for a flotilla of three fireships which increases its period to 20.
2722p4 bouncerArie Paap, Noam Elkies
The fastest known p4 reflector.
2821Huge 2D-extensible wick-supporting pushalongHartmut Holzwart
2920Non-monotonic 2c/5 orthogonal spaceshipArie Paap, Matthias Merzenich, Bullet51
=3019p9 bouncerMatthias Merzenich, carybe, Noam Elkies
A reflector capable of reflecting a p27 glider stream using 68P9, which was found using apgsearch the same day.
=3019p6 180-degree reflector and related gunsArie Paap, Tanner Jacobi, Louis-François Handfield
A reflector which can be used alongside other sparkers to create arbitrary guns with period (60n+30).
3218Fast universal regulatorsDave Greene
331742883MAdam P. Goucher
A 16×16 soup found by apgsearch, and the longest-lasting known methuselah fitting within a 16×16 bounding box.
3410New honey farm hasslersTanner Jacobi, Matthias Merzenich
A collective entry for a few oscillators of periods 36 and 40 which use honey farm-hassling reactions.



The following patterns were voted on for the 2017 competition. Users were able to vote on as many patterns as they wished, awarding up to three stars to each one. Adam P. Goucher organized the competition.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
1502-engine CordershipAidan F. Pierce
A successful refutation of the common belief that 3 engines are required to build a Cordership.
234Tanner's p46Tanner Jacobi
A new sparky period-46 oscillator that various guns can be made from.
332Stable pulse-dividersTanner Jacobi
The Snark and semi-Snark have been joined by new exciting tremi-Snark, quadri-Snark, and semi-cenarks, which are particularly helpful for optimising glider and spaceship guns.
429New Demonoid and Orthogonoid spaceshipsDave Greene, slmake
Geminoid variants which travel diagonally and orthogonally, respectively, showcasing interesting developments such as MWSS-based signalling and syringe syntheses.
527The efficient 16-bit still life synthesis projectChris Cain, Blinkerspawn, Luka Okanishi, Martin Grant, Matthias Merzenich, Bob Shemyakin, et al.
All still-lifes of 16 or fewer cells can be constructed at a cost of <= 1 glider per cell.
626Synthesis of 25P3H1V0.2, and reductions of many other small spaceshipsMartin Grant, Chris Cain, 2718281828, gmc_nxtman, et al.
=724Sparse CordershipDavid Bell
All previously-known Corderships required interactions between two or more adjacent switch-engines. This design, on the other hand, allows the individual switch-engines to be separated by arbitrary distances, relying instead on long-range interactions mediated by gliders and stable objects.
=724HydraOscar Cunningham, Dave Greene, slmake
A single-channel quadratic-growth pattern which constructs an intricate mesh of splitting construction heads in all directions. Some well-positioned eaters prevent this behemoth from cannibalising itself. It uses similar technology to Dave's earlier triple wickstretcher, but is more complex owing to the necessity of splitting signals.
922Three-glider synthesis of a switch engineLuka Okanishi
It was previously believed that 4 gliders were necessary and sufficient to synthesise a switch-engine.
1021Synthesis of N-bit still lifes in 38 to 39 glidersTanner Jacobi, Adam P. Goucher, Chris Cain
Syntheses of N-bit still lifes for all sufficiently large natural numbers N, using a bounded number of gliders (38 or 39, depending on the parity of N).
1118Life object having a bounded population with an unknown fateDavid Bell
A pattern which either becomes stable, oscillatory, or aperiodic, depending on the behaviour of 7 under the generalised Collatz iteration which maps a positive integer N to 5N+1 (if N odd) or N/2 (if N even).
=1217Completed Quest for Tetris challengePhiNotPi, El'endia Starman, K Zhang, Muddyfish, Kritixi Lithos, Mego, Quartata, et al.
A game of Tetris simulated on a digital computer built out of logic gates formed from Brice Due's metacells.
=1217Gliderless unit cellPeter Naszvadi
A cellular automata polyglot (pattern which runs in a range of rules) based on p46 technology, establishing Turing-completeness of B3[8]/S23[8] provided infinite patterns are permitted.
=1217Garden of Eden 11Steven Eker
An orphan with 45 live cells and 43 dead cells, the fewest total number of specified cells among all known orphans.
1516Several new stable signal convertersDave Greene, Goldtiger997
1615339P7H1V0Matthias Merzenich
The narrowest odd-symmetric c/7 spaceship, and the second known elementary c/7 spaceship, after the loafer.
1714Much smaller spiral growth patternDave Greene, slmake
A tightly-coiled loop of data reflected in a double-spiral of Snarks instructs a construction arm to encircle the construction indefinitely, gradually constructing an unbounded spiral of further Snarks.
1813p148 B29 gunLuka Okanishi, Dave Greene, Adam P. Goucher
A compact gun for a c/4 diagonal spaceship.
=1912Cumulative sum generatorgameoflifeboy
=1912Triple wickstretcherDave Greene
A single-channel glider loop which extends zigzags of Snarks.
=1912The first 3c/7 orthogonal pufferLuka Okanishi
Exclusively using 3c/7 spaghetti monsters (the only known spaceship of its velocity). Owing to its faster-than-c/4 speed, a c/2 spaceship is necessary to catch up with the front of the engine to continue the reaction.
2211The first c/6 orthogonal puffersNico Brown, Matthias Merzenich
Messy albeit elegant puffers where gliders collide with large sparky spaceships in perpetuity.
239Fixed-length tail for a lightspeed bubble of arbitrary width in the zebra stripes agarArie Paap
Gabriel Nivasch showed that arbitrary-width lightspeed bubbles in the zebra stripes agar are supportable, requiring a fixed-length head and variable-length tail. It was hitherto an open problem to replace the variable-length tail with a fixed-length counterpart.
The smallest known (tied with previous record) period-7 oscillator.
256Runny nose83bismuth38
A period-3 oscillator which showed an unexpected gap in lists of small objects.



The following patterns were voted on for the 2016 competition. Users were able to vote on as many patterns as they wished, awarding up to three stars to each one. Alexey Nigin organized the competition.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
149CaterloopillarsMichael Simkin, David Bell et al.
Previously, all engineered spaceships had speeds that were either fixed (Caterpillar) or adjustable but always very low (Gemini). Caterloopillars have the best of both worlds: their speed is variable, and the fastest ones can travel as quickly as c/4. So far all caterloopillars have been orthogonal, but a project to build one with adjustable slope is underway.
247Copperheadzdr, Simon Ekström et al.
In addition to being the first of its speed, this c/10 orthogonal spaceship is so small that it is surprising nobody discovered it before. Its small size allowed the creation of a 22-glider synthesis, and a gun was made soon afterwards. A pseudo-tagalong known as the fireship found a bit later made it possible to create c/10 puffers and rakes. Much of copperhead's fame is due to the mystery surrounding its discovery: it was posted by a newly-joined anonymous user who became inactive afterwards.
339Grandfather-less Patternmtve
"Is there a configuration which has a father but no grandfather?" This is the statement of the grandfather problem, one of the longest-standing open problems in Life, having been unsolved for decades in spite of a $50 prize offer from John Conway Himself in September 1972. It was only this year that the first grandfather-less pattern was discovered using a SAT solver.
431Spaghetti monsterTim Coe
This is the first spaceship with a speed of 3c/7, which has been one of the most sought-after speeds in the last 15 years. The ship was discovered with knightt, a relatively new search program. The search took about two months, even though the width was continuously tweaked to make it faster.
5288-bit computerCoban
This is the first 8-bit computer in any cellular automaton, and easily the most realistic computer ever constructed in Life. It has a ROM which contains the program, consisting of 32 instructions which are stored in 21 bits each. For RAM, it has a register bank containing eight 8-bit registers. For output, it has a "printer" with 8 pixels.
619Herschel splitterLuka Okanishi
This is an elegant solution to an old circuitry problem: a direct Herschel signal splitter that recovers in less than a hundred ticks. People had been looking for something exactly like this for very nearly twenty years, ever since the original 1996-97 universal set of Herschel conduits. It was made by extending an Fx119 conduit with a partial copy of itself to extract the second Herschel output.
714BumperTanner Jacobi
This reflector mechanism can be attached to a variety of sparky oscillators to make reflectors of the corresponding periods. Since the resulting reflectors have different timing than the Snark, they solve a range of "my glider is in the wrong phase" wiring problems. A small wave of record-breaking guns followed soon after the bumper's debut.
=812New gun periodsLuka Okanishi, thunk, Matthias Merzenich, Chris Cain
In three days, three new true gun periods were discovered: p61, p58, and p57.
=812Statorless p5Josh Ball
This is the first statorless oscillator of its period. Since the period is prime, the lack of stator implies that the oscillator is strictly volatile, which is a rare property.
1011Aperiodic tilesNotLiving
This is an implementation of a particular set of Wang tiles in the Game of Life. The Life tiles form a stable pattern if and only if the corresponding arrangement of Wang tiles is valid. Since this set of Wang tiles can only form aperiodic arrangements, so can the Life tiles.
1110Rich's p16Rich Holmes
This is a small p16 oscillator that appeared naturally. It is compact for its period and has easily accessible sparks. Most notably, it can filter glider streams similarly to the blocker, which led to reductions in many guns that previously utilized other filter mechanisms.
129Small GoEsSteven Eker
A few record-breaking Gardens of Eden and orphans were found, including an orphan with only 89 defined cells.
=13615-bit still life synthesesCharlie Neder, Goldtiger997, Bob Shemyakin, Mark Niemiec, Martin Grant, Chris Cain, et al.
A project to find syntheses of all 15-bit still lifes in under 15 gliders turned out to be a very prolific collaboration. Using Catagolue soups along with known and new converter mechanisms, several hundred new syntheses were created. The goal was achieved in just 41 days.
=136p7 sparkerDongook Lee
This pattern adds a new relatively strong HW emulator to the p7 collection, which previously only had the pipsquirter. It was used to complete a p28 wick with no prior stabilization.



The following patterns were voted on for the 2015 competition. Users chose as many pattern as they wanted and ranked them from best to worst; the votes were then tallied with a custom Delphi program.[1] Alexey Nigin organized the competition.

Final rank Points Pattern Author Link(s)
1107SyringeTanner Jacobi
Syringe is the fast G-to-H that Herschel plumbers have been wishing for a decade, also allowing for fast signal splitters and other much more efficient logic circuits, including self-constructing circuitry.
2102Simkin glider gunMichael Simkin
The Simkin glider gun is the smallest gun ever constructed. The previous record holder, the Gosper glider gun, was constructed as long ago as 1970.
391DemonoidsChris Cain and Dave Greene
Demonoids are highly-simplified, diagonally-moving variants of the original Gemini spaceship. The 0hd Demonoid is the only case where a spaceship gun pattern was completed before the actual spaceship.
455Syntheses of spaceshipsMartin Grant, Tanner Jacobi, and Chris Cain

Syntheses of B29, X66, half-X66 with HWSS, Pushalong 1, 25P3H1V0.2, 30P5H2V0, 30P4H2V0.4, a pufferfish spaceship, and the weekender were discovered in 2015, which exceeds the number of spaceship syntheses found in any previous year, including 1970.
548Recursive filterAlexey Nigin and Kiran Linsuain
Recursive Filter allows the creation of extremely slow-growing patterns. A single recursive filter gives the growth rate of log*(t), which is slower than the growth rate of any pattern constructed before. Recursive filters can be stacked to obtain even more mind-boggling growth rates.
645Glider-to-WeekenderChris Cain
G-to-Weekender splits a single input glider into 82 separate signals, and successfully synchronizes them to produce an output weekender spaceship. The previous record synchronization was Goucher's glider-to-Cordership converter, which produced 19 synchronized gliders from one input signal.
734Bob Shemyakin's synthesesBob Shemyakin
Bob Shemyakin's syntheses are often cheaper than what could be found in Mark Niemiec's database (and those were already pretty good). This was the result of a lot of patient script-writing and collecting collision results, starting with adding two gliders (within a certain range) to every possible two-glider collision. Many new 4-, 5-, and 6-glider still life recipes were found, and optimizations for many larger still lifes up to 15 bits.
833HBK gunChris Cain and Michael Simkin
HBK gun is an extremely large and complex gun that fires parallel HBKs. It is the only gun to produce non-self-constructing macro-spaceships.
931Herschel-to-MWSSTanner Jacobi
H-to-MWSS is the smallest converter of Herschels into (non-glider) standard spaceships. Prior constructions of XWSSs required many Herschel tracks and a large area.
1030Sawtooth 177thunk, Tanner Jacobi, Chris Cain, Adam P. Goucher, and Dave Greene
Sawtooth 177 is currently the smallest known sawtooth.
1129Single-lane construction arm toolkitSimon Ekström
The Single-Lane Construction Arm Toolkit is an important result for simplifying self-constructing circuitry, especially those where a recipe needs to be duplicated, as in the linear propagator, not just interpreted as in the Demonoid and Gemini.
1228Elementary conduits collectionMatthias Merzenich, Dave Greene, and thunk
The Elementary Conduits Collection, recently significantly expanded with new discoveries, is a one-stop shop for the building blocks of stable tracks. It was organized to catalogue all converters between likely active reactions, not just from Herschel to Herschel.
1326(L|M)WSS-to-gliderIvan Fomichev and Dongook Lee
(L|M)WSS-to-G is the second known small conduit that turns standard spaceships into gliders, and the first that accepts LWSSs.
1423Collection of gunsChris Cain, Simon Ekström, Scot Ellison, and Dave Greene
The Collection of Guns is an ambitious project to collect new smaller glider guns using the syringe and other recent discoveries. All guns in the range 78-999 were eventually reduced to bounding boxes less than 8000 cells.
1519Dragon lightsaberMartin Grant
Dragon Lightsaber is a mysterious pattern that seems to calculate some sequence. It is this type of a lightsaber.
1614Quadratic sawtoothMartin Grant, Aidan F. Pierce, Dongook Lee, and Alexey Nigin
Quadratic sawtooth is a sawtooth whose population peaks grow quadratically.
1713t*log(log(t)) growthAlexey Nigin and Michael Simkin
t*log(log(t)) growth is pattern with an exotic growth rate. That growth rate has long been achievable via exponential filters, but this pattern utilizes a completely different design.


Initial entriesBelated entriesBelated votingResults

The following patterns were submitted as competition entries by users in early 2016. Patterns were not voted on at the time, but a belated vote was held in early 2018, featuring three further submissions in addition to the original nine. Kiran Linsuain organized the 2016 competition; 77topaz organized the 2018 vote.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
130WaterbearBrett Berger and Ivan Fomichev
The first fast oblique spaceship, moving at speed (23,5)c/79.
223CentipedeChris Cain
A large, engineered spaceship that moves at 31c/240, using a unique reaction.
321Half-baked knightshipAdam P. Goucher, Chris Cain, Dave Greene, and Ivan Fomichev
An oblique spaceship that moves with displacement (6,3), using the half-bakery reaction.
=417Switch engine ping-pongMichael Simkin
A 23-cell quadratic growth pattern, the smallest known.
=417Syntheses for all 17- and 18-bit still lifesMartin Grant, Mark Niemiec, and Matthias Merzenich
Note: Some of the 18-bit syntheses were later found to be invalid, and the project was not completed for real until 2019.[2]
=613PufferfishRichard Schank
A period 12 c/2 puffer that was used to make the first wholly high-period c/2 spaceship.
=613Spiral growthDave Greene
A self-constructing pattern that grows in an outward spiral.
=812Dart and crab synthesesMartin Grant, Mark Niemiec, Michael Simkin, Ivan Fomichev, Tanner Jacobi, and Brett Berger
Glider syntheses for small spaceships that did not previously have any.
=812Weekender distaffIvan Fomichev
The first 2c/7 orthogonal rake, consisting of a long chain of weekenders perturbing debris.
108Honey thievesMatthias Merzenich
The smallest known period-17 oscillator, and the first one with a known glider synthesis.
117p27 billiard table oscillatorMatthias Merzenich
An oscillator in which period 5, period 8 and period 3 rotors phase shift each other.
126LCM oscillatorsNoam Elkies
Oscillators featuring multiple rotors that interact in complicated ways.

not originally submitted in 2014.



No competition was initially held in 2013. However, it was mentioned in various places that the winner for 2013 was clearly Mike Playle's Snark[3][4], with no particular need for a formal vote. A belated vote was organized in early 2018 by 77topaz. The following patterns were submitted as competition entries by users.

Final rank Stars Pattern Author Link(s)
134SnarkMike Playle
A stable 90˚ glider reflector which, with 52 cells and a repeat time of 43, is both far smaller and far faster than previous such patterns.
231LoaferJosh Ball
The first c/7 orthogonal spaceship and, with just 20 cells, the smallest spaceship other than the glider and xWSSes.
=322CC semi-SnarkSergey Petrov
A small, Spartan 90˚ glider reflector which functions as a period doubler.
=322Linear propagatorDave Greene
A large, engineered pattern which is arguably the first example of a replicator in Conway's Game of Life, depending on the exact definition used.
517Original 16-bit still life synthesis projectMartin Grant, Mark Niemiec, Matthias Merzenich, Dave Greene
A project to synthesize all 16-bit still lifes.
615Period-20 glider gunMatthias Merzenich
A true period-20 glider gun, the smallest true period known for a gun.
714135-degree MWSS-to-GMatthias Merzenich
The first fast elementary MWSS-to-glider converter.
811Period-40 glider gunAdam P. Goucher, Matthias Merzenich, Jason Summers
A true period-40 glider gun based on complicated reactions involving honey farm predecessors, period-5 and period-8 oscillators.
=99AK-94 and Pre-pulsar shuttle 22Mike Playle, Matthias Merzenich
Two constructions based on a new catalyst found by Mike Playle.
=99Standard spaceship eaterMatthias Merzenich
A still life capable of eating every type of standard spaceship.
=118p29 reflectorMatthias Merzenich, Noam Elkies, David Buckingham
A reflector based on a Pre-pulsar shuttle 29 variant.
=118c/4 diagonal wickstretcherMatthias Merzenich, Jason Summers, Paul Tooke
A fencepost for a partial c/4 diagonal wickstretcher found by Paul Tooke in 2004.
137c/5 orthogonal wickstretcherMatthias Merzenich, Hartmut Holzwart, Jason Summers
The first c/5 orthogonal wickstretcher to be found.
145French kiss synthesisMartin Grant
A 23-glider synthesis for a period-3 oscillator which, despite its size, previously had no known synthesis.
=15441P4H1V0Jason Summers
At the time of its discovery, the second smallest known c/4 orthogonal spaceship.
=154138P7Karel Suhajda
A fairly strong period-7 sparker, at a time when few were known. It was used to create a period-14 traffic light hassler.



No vote was held for 2012, but the following patterns were submitted as competition entries by users. 137ben organized the competition.

Pattern Author Link(s)
37P4H1V0Josh Ball
A 37-cell c/4 orthogonal spaceship by Josh Ball. In terms of minimum population, it is the smallest known c/4 orthogonal spaceship.
Statorless p3Jason Summers
The first statorless period-3 oscillator.
444-tick glider-to-Herschel converterSergey Petrov
This is the fastest known stable glider-to-Herschel converter/90-degree glider reflector currently known.
G4 Herschel merge circuitSergey Petrov
Ambidextrous G5 Herschel transceiverSergey Petrov
Period-4 90-degree reflectorKarel Suhajda, Matthias Merzenich



The following patterns were voted on for the 2011 competition. Users were able to vote for up to three patterns, but not their own patterns; all votes were weighted equally. Adam P. Goucher organized the competition.

Final rank Votes Pattern Author Link(s)
=110Fully universal Turing machinePaul Rendell
An extension of the Universal Turing machine and Turing machine, also by Paul Rendell.
=110LobsterMatthias Merzenich
A c/7 diagonal spaceship found using WinLifeSearch.
37Garden of Eden 6Marijn Heule, Christiaan Hartman, Kees Kwekkeboom, and Alain Noels
A small (10×10), rotationally symmetric garden of Eden whose orphan requires only 92 cells to specify.
=46Collection of new stable technologySergey Petrov
=46Oblique antstretcherMatthias Merzenich
An antstretcher combining a c/5 orthogonal component with a c/4 diagonal component previously found by Hartmut Holzwart in 2006.
=651×N quadratic growthStephen Silver
The first pattern exhibiting quadratic growth that starts with the thickness of a single cell, using the breeder from Nick Gotts' 26-cell quadratic growth.
=65Pulsar Pixel Raster Line Display in Periodic Logictriller
84Stable HWSS HeisenburpSergey Petrov, Richard Schank, Martin Grant
9277P6H1V1Josh Ball
The smallest known spaceship of this speed in terms of its minimum population, found using WinLifeSearch.
101Small moving sawtoothcloudy197



The following patterns were voted on for the 2010 competition. Users were able to vote for up to three patterns, but not their own patterns; all votes were weighted equally. Adam P. Goucher organized the competition.

Final rank Votes Pattern Author Link(s)
114GeminiAndrew J. Wade
The first oblique spaceship to be constructed, with a speed of (5120,1024)c/33699586.
29Phi calculatorAdam P. Goucher
A modification of Goucher's similar pi calculator to instead calculate the digits of the golden ratio.
36c/5 diagonal rakeMatthias Merzenich
=45Pianola breedersPaul Tooke
A series of Gemini-inspired patterns with a growth rate in between linear and quadratic growth.
=45Merzenich's p31Matthias Merzenich
The first known period 31 oscillator, which also has the ability to reflect gliders 90 degrees.
64Gemini gunsDave Greene
=72Sawtooth 260David Bell
Formerly the smallest known sawtooth in terms of minimum repeating population.
=72c/5 orthogonal greyshipsHartmut Holzwart
91Period-45 glider gunMatthias Merzenich
The first true-period-45 glider gun to be discovered.
=100MWSS Heisenburp deviceMartin Grant
=100Beluchenko's other p37Nicolay Beluchenko
The second known period 37 oscillator, and the first one with the ability to reflect gliders 90 degrees.
=100Flying wing spaceshipEmerson J. Perkins
A growing spaceship which grows in both dimensions.

Also see


  1. Alexey Nigin (February 11, 2016). "Re: Pattern of the Year 2015 (Votes)". forums. Retrieved on July 20, 2017.
  2. Ian07 (October 9, 2019). Re: 18-bit SL Syntheses (100% Complete!) (discussion thread) at the forums
  3. Emerson J. Perkins (April 26, 2013). "Re: Just the place for a Snark!". Retrieved on February 5, 2018.
  4. Dave Greene (January 1, 2016). "Re: Pattern of the Year 2015 (Entries)". Retrieved on February 5, 2018.
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