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Live Free or Die is a Life-like cellular automaton with the rule s0/b2.

In other words, it's an infinite grid of cells which can either be alive or dead. Given an initial pattern of cells, the grid evolves through successive generations by applying simple rules: a live cell survives only if it has no living neighbors, and a dead cell comes to life if it has exactly two living neighbors. All the cells apply these rules at the same instant. As the pattern changes over time, it exhibits emergent and often beautiful behavior.

Unlike Conway's Game of Life (rule s23/b3), Live Free or Die is extremely explosive. Almost all patterns of cells will expand at the speed of light, filling the grid with chaos as they go. But the patterns that don't explode have the same amazing variety and complexity as those in Life. Some are oscillators, which return to their initial state after some number of generations. Some are spaceships, which travel across the grid. Others leave trails or launch projectiles: there are puffers and rakes, which produce oscillators or spaceships as they move, and guns, which emit spaceships as they oscillate. Like Life, Live Free or Die is home to objects of a variety of periods, and some, like the anchor track, that can have arbitrarily high periods. Its spaceships and puffers travel at a variety of speeds and look wildly unalike some seem mechanical, some organic; some, like the moon, are extremely small, and others, like the beachcomber ship, are very large. And, like Life, Live Free or Die has stable patterns in this case, consisting only of arrangements of isolated cells, or dots which can burn away, shrink and capture spaceships, and maybe someday, like Life, calculate anything that is calculable.

New objects are frequently being found. Some recent discoveries include the fruit fly ship, crossroads, and freedom collider. To observe or participate in exploration of the rule as it unfolds, I recommend following the Live Free or Die forum thread on the ConwayLife.com forums.

Live Free or Die is the state motto of New Hampshire, from a toast by the Revolutionary War general John Stark. It was chosen as the name of this cellular automaton because the only cells that survive are those that are free of neighbors.

The following is a collection of patterns in Live Free or Die, including all known objects as of October 14th, 2013:



To run these patterns, I recommend the program Golly, which can run any Life-like cellular automaton. In addition to the collection, articles in this wiki about specific patterns end with a block of text that encode the pattern in a Golly-compatible run-length encoding (RLE) format. You can copy this text and paste it directly into Golly to run or manipulate the pattern.

If you're excited to explore the rule and find new patterns, the Challenges page is a good place to start. You can even win cash prizes for certain significant discoveries.

For questions, comments, or new discoveries, please contact lukebradford01@gmail.com. All patterns were discovered by Luke Bradford unless otherwise specified.

(Above: an anchor track flotilla produces a trail of monsters using the Liberty Bell reaction. Spaceships and puffers involved include an octopus ship, a revolver puffer, two 2-2 dot puffers, and seven free ships.)