Conway’s Game of Life in real life

Conway’s Game of Life is a simple cellular automaton famous for generating complex ‘life-like’ patterns. The goal of this project is to explore the possibility of implementing cellular automata, particularly the Game of Life, as a regular spatial arrangement of bacteria. Communicating the number of neighbors is implemented using the well-known Homoserine Lactone (HSL) quorum sensing system. A novel component is the circuit implementing the automaton’s ruleset, to determine the state to switch to upon detecting ‘too few’, ‘enough’ or ‘too many’ neighbors. This ‘interval switch’ was designed and implemented by altering the binding site affinity of the signal molecule complexes to correspond to the levels of HSL coming from the neighbors. Finally, the ON state of the cells is indicated by GFP production and production of new HSL signals, and the OFF state by their absence. The system was implemented partially in vivo and we have developed in silico models.