A tribute to John Horton Conway

Art Exhibition

John Horton Conway passed away on April 11th, 2020. It was at beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, he died of the consequence of the COVID-19.

Since most of the world was struggling with the pandemic, the death of this great scientist didn’t receive the merited attention.

He was a brilliant mathematician and made many significant contributions in several branches of mathematics. In computer science he is mostly known as the inventor of the famous Game of life cellular automaton. This widely contributed to the popularity and great attention that these mathematical models received in the eighties and nineties of the XX century.

On a personal basis the Game of life automaton was one of the first motivations which made me to start my research activity in cellular automata. And cellular automata was the causes of the formation of the G-Art research group in 2019.

The G-Art group is, hence, greatly indebted with this man. Here is our way to witness that:

South facade of Villa Arson

John Horton Conway in 2005.

The image was produced by using the FlowAutomaton with 38628 agents in 375 iterations starting with an image found on the web.

Credits: CC BY 2.0 by Thane Plambeck for the original photo.


Enrico Formenti
Enrico Formenti
Professor of Computer Science
  • discrete dynamical systems
  • cellular Automata
  • higher order cellular automata
  • tilings

He got his PhD in Computer Science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in 1998. He has been recruited as an assistant professor at the Université de Provence (now Aix-Marseille Université) in 2001. He got the habilitation thesis in 2002 from the same university. He was hired as full professor at Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis (now Université Côte d'Azur) in 2003. He is currently exceptional class professor at the Université Côte d'Azur.

Enrico is (co-)editor in chief of the international journal RAIRO-ITA. He is also associated editor for the international journals: Theoretical Computer Science, Natural Computing, Journal of Cellular Automata and Journal of Automata, Languages and Combinatorics. He is also the author of more than 100 scientific publications appeared in the best journals or conferences of his research domain.

His research interests comprise: discrete dynamical systems, chaos, tilings, and complex systems in general. He is also interested in computational complexity, computability and unconventional models of computation.

Since 2019 he started getting more and more involved in generative art where he explores the connections between art, population dynamics and tilings.

Next post

From Truchet to Warhol

Recently, I was invited to give a talk at the conference Automata Factory IV. While preparing the talk I was looking for a nice illustration of the talk content. Since the early days of the G-Art group, there were lots of exchanges about tilings, cellular automata and art. Many ideas started to emerge and their development is still ongoing. Finally, after some days, I came up with the following:

Read More →