Learning to program, at least if you’re going in a more scholarly direction, means at the least hearing about John Conway’s Game of Life. It’s all about cellular automata, and it was invented in 1970–but it still is perfectly relevant, and people are still discovering new stuff relating to it.
Here are some resources I found in a recent, quick, search:
- LifeWiki is intended to be a complete source for all things relating to Life, including all the interesting or noteworthy patterns that have been discovered, as well as basic information about it.
- From WikiHow, How to Make the Conway’s Game of Life Cellular Automaton. A step-by-step guide to figuring out how to program the life–in general. It helps to know something about programming, because it tells you what you should be doing, not exactly how to do it.
- Here’s an implementation of Life for Drupal, John Conway’s Game of Life. You can probably find implementations of Life for just about any programming language there is; that is left as an exercise for the reader.