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How I Programmed the Game of Life in a Google Sheet with Google Apps Script

According to Wikipedia, the Game of Life “is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970.”

It begins on a two-dimensional grid of square cells. Each cell can be either alive or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight immediate neighbors. A live cell only remains alive if it has two or three living neighbors. If it has fewer than two living neighbors, it dies as if by underpopulation. Conversely, if it has more than three, it dies as if by overpopulation. A dead cell remains dead unless it has exactly three living neighbors; otherwise, it becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

There is no immediate practical use for the Game of Life in a spreadsheet; however, it is a fun algorithmic challenge. Moreover, Google Sheets natively provides us with the perfect data structure: a two-dimensional array. This is all the more reason to work on those array skills!

As usual, there is a GitHub repo with the full source code. Alternatively, you can just make a copy of this spreadsheet.

Source: “How I Programmed the Game of Life in a Google Sheet with Google Apps Script

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