Miscellaneous topics in Conway's Game of Life -- unfinished projects of all kinds and conditions

07 February 2009

First complete glider-to-Cordership converter

For years now I've been fruitlessly plotting to put together a Herschel layout utility for Golly, to help design multi-glider shotguns and other large-scale Herschel signal circuitry. One of my first uses for the utility will be to design a (relatively) compact Cordership gun that can be triggered by a single input glider.

It seems Calcyman has finally gotten tired of waiting for this wondrous device to appear, so he has built one himself: the world's very first complete glider-to-Cordership converter! (The link goes to the RLE pattern file; here's the MCell version.)

Input gliders at the lower left are converted into clean 3-engine Paul Tooke Corderships in 13,311 ticks -- as long as no two gliders are closer together than 708 ticks. The signal is split into three main parts. The one in the center triggers an improved Herschel-to-swimmer converter using a new 5-glider recipe (see my last post for the old 6-glider solution.)

The new reaction [RLE / MCL] uses the usual four gliders to create a switch engine, but a modified Fx119 Herschel circuit allows a single glider to suppress all the extra junk the switch engine creates, until it has moved far enough forward to pick up the swimmer track.

The other two signals trigger two mirror-symmetric Cordership-wing constructors. Each of these builds a new switch engine next to the original swimmer, which then replaces the swimmer-lane support structure on that side. Once both wings are in place, the swimmer becomes the central engine of a free-flying Cordership.

I'm working on tightening up this pattern somewhat; Calcyman's new suppression reaction disposes of glider #1 from the old H-to-S, but the embarrassing #6b is still in there. The wing constructors use parts from an old universal shotgun-building toolkit, which tends to produce fairly large and sprawling patterns -- so it may make sense to adjust these at the same time.

[Further bulletins as events warrant.]

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