ENGR 1120 – Programming for Engineers (MATLAB) Laboratory #16 – Game of Life

Objectives: Practice the creation of a user-defined function from scratch while using a flowchart for development. Demonstrate the use of a case statement within a set of nested for loops to apply a set of conditions to elements in a 2-d array (matrix). The game of life is a ‘cellular automaton’ that was invented by Cambridge University mathematician John Conway. The game starts with a grid (2-d array) of cells that all begin the game as either a living (value of 1) or a non-living (value of 0) cell. The rules are then applied to determine, for each future generation, which cells are born (become living), remain living, remain non-living, or die (become non-living). Internal cells are evaluated and changed for each new generation. The border cells can be treated in many ways. For this program the border cells will be considered inert, in other words they will always remain non-living. The Rules The following rules are applied only to the internal cells of the grid since the boarders are inert or always remain non-living. Remember that life is represented by a value of 1 and a non-living cell will have a value of 0.

x A living cell with 4 or more live neighbors – dies due to over-population. x A living cell with less than 2 live neighbors – dies due to under-population. x A non-living cell with exactly 3 live neighbors – is born x All other cells remain unchanged.

The Flowchart: Start by developing a flowchart for a user-defined function that will take as input the current generation’s configuration of the game grid (a 2-d array of 1’s and 0’s) and will produce as output the next generation’s configuration for the game grid. You will need to use a set of nested loops to evaluate only the internal cells of the game grid. For example, the new condition for each internal grid cell at location grid(i,j), will depend on the old condition of each of its neighbors, as seen below.

grid(i-1,j-1) grid(i-1,j) grid(i-1,j+1)

grid(i,j-1) grid(i,j) grid(i,j+1)

grid(i+1,j-1) grid(i+1,j) grid(i+1,j+1)

You must apply the rules, presented previously, using the current condition for each cell in order to determine the new condition for that cell. However, you cannot update (change the values) the one matrix as you go since doing so would alter the evaluation of the cells being analyzed as the process continues. In other words, if you change the values in row 2 as you decide the fate of these cells, the new values will be accessed when determining the fate of the cells in row 3 as row 2 is a neighbor of row 3. Only the incoming values of a cell’s neighbors are used in the determination of the new state for that cell. The MATLAB Code: Convert your flowchart into a MATLAB user-defined function and test the function thoroughly in the interactive mode. You are to use the ‘print_matrix.m’ user-defined function provided in the folder on the L-drive for displaying the old and new generations. Two data files are also provided on the L-drive for testing, life.dat and life2.dat. CHALLENGE: Try using the sum function once, and only once, to determine the number of living neighbors for each cell. Make the assignment statement as simple as possible.

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