Monday, April 13, 2020

Revisiting Old Coding Problem Friends

John Conway died the other day. He created the famous "Conway's Game of Life" that is familiar to so many programmers and computer scientists.

I've recently decided I want to write some fun programs and since I can't find the last version of this program that I did I decided to write a new one. Very satisfying.

I did all the things I tell my students to do. I broke it down into small modular methods and tested each individual method as it was finished. Interestingly enough the hardest part, relatively speaking, what getting the generations right. The Wikipedia page, linked to above, had some of the common and interesting patterns and I used them to validate my algorithm.

I came close to making the common mistake my students make of “testing” without knowing what good results are. The patterns in Wikipedia helped with that.

The Game of Life is a cool project. I should really assign it to my students this year.

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