Conwaylife

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Conway's Game of Life is a two-dimensional cellular automaton.

The "game" is played on a two-dimensional grid of cells, where each cell is either 1 (alive) or 0 (dead). At each time step, each cell changes state depending on how many neighbours it has:

  • 0-1 neighbour: Cell becomes 0.
  • 2 neighbours: Cell state does not change.
  • 3 neighbours: Cell becomes 1.
  • 4+ neighbours: Cell becomes 0.

The game is formulated for an infinite grid. In this circuit, we will use a 16x16 grid. To make things more interesting, we will use a 16x16 toroid, where the sides wrap around to the other side of the grid. For example, the corner cell (0,0) has 8 neighbours: (15,1), (15,0), (15,15), (0,1), (0,15), (1,1), (1,0), and (1,15). The 16x16 grid is represented by a length 256 vector, where each row of 16 cells is represented by a sub-vector: q[15:0] is row 0, q[31:16] is row 1, etc. (This tool accepts SystemVerilog, so you may use 2D vectors if you wish.)

  • load: Loads data into q at the next clock edge, for loading initial state.
  • q: The 16x16 current state of the game, updated every clock cycle.

The game state should advance by one timestep every clock cycle.

Module Declaration

module top_module(
    input clk,
    input load,
    input [255:0] data,
    output [255:0] q ); 

A test case that's easily understandable and tests some boundary conditions is the blinker 256'h7. It is 3 cells in row 0 columns 0-2. It oscillates between a row of 3 cells and a column of 3 cells (in column 1, rows 15, 0, and 1).

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