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Vieira, A. P., Goles, E., & Herrmann, H. J. (2021). Phase transitions in a conservative game of life. Phys. Rev. E, 103(1), 012132.
Abstract: We investigate the dynamics of a conservative version of Conway's Game of Life, in which a pair consisting of a dead and a living cell can switch their states following Conway's rules but only by swapping their positions, irrespective of their mutual distance. Our study is based on square-lattice simulations as well as a mean-field calculation. As the density of dead cells is increased, we identify a discontinuous phase transition between an inactive phase, in which the dynamics freezes after a finite time, and an active phase, in which the dynamics persists indefinitely in the thermodynamic limit. Further increasing the density of dead cells leads the system back to an inactive phase via a second transition, which is continuous on the square lattice but discontinuous in the mean-field limit.