Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 13, 2011

FPGA Conway’s Game of Life

at 4:46 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks


If you have taken some CS courses you have no doubt seen Conway’s Game of Life, if you are a kit builder you have probably seen some nice Conway’s Game of Life kits also. Where the basic kit version has 16 elements Cornell University student Cooper Bills wanted to design a system that had 307,200 elements. What this boils down to is an incredible looking visual effect that requires a massive amount of calculations. Luckily this project was undertaken in the Cornell University Advanced Microcontrollers course (ECE5760) where students had the choice of Altera/Terasic DE2 or DE2-115  FPGA educational boards to work with.

Read more about this FPGA Conway’s Game of Life project.

“The main goal of this project was to implement Conway’s game of life on a grid of 640×480 cells, running at 60Hz. Updating that resolution at that rate requires over 18 million updates per second! This leaves just a few clock cycles per cell for updating. Given that each cell requires 9 values to calculate it’s next value, even with extreme pipelining serial updating would not be possible (without over-clocking).”


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2 Responses to “FPGA Conway’s Game of Life”

  1. Keenan Says:

    This page is transmitted using 100% recycled electrons.

    Best tagline I’ve seen at the bottom of a page in a looong time.

  2. George Johnson Says:

    I’ve always wanted to see a high resolution version of this. Even better than I expected. Almost like looking at a slide of bacteria or something.
    But there seems to be a lot of “dead” cells out there. Perhaps he should change the rules to get rid of some (more) of them.

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