Pi Waves and Pi Tracks
The Pi Heptomino, shown to the left in an alternate form which occurs in waves and tracks, is a commonly occurring pattern which in 173 generations results in a small constellation of objects. One of the earlier discoveries in the Game of Life was that a Pi Heptomino reappears 30 generations later while having moved 9 cells. This is equivalent to the Pi moving at the speed of 3c/10. Unfortunately, the exhaust immediately overwhelms the new Pi.
In Lifeline #3 (Sept.1971), p.18, it was reported that Denis Wilson had discovered that when an infinite string of Pis were properly spaced, the entire string moves as a wave at the speed of 3c/10. It generates a somewhat complicated exhaust which eventually disappears. No way of stabilizing the ends has been found.
In Lifeline #4 (Dec.1971), p.3, it was shown by Mike Beeler how a pair of Blocks allowed the Pi to reproduce several more times before being consumed by its exhaust. With two properly spaced rows of Blocks parallel to the direction of travel, the Pi can move by consuming the rows of Blocks until self-destructing when the rows end.
The rows of Blocks can be laid down by a puffer. Since no known spaceships move at the same speed as a Pi, this results in a spaceship which slowly lengthens. Here the Period 18 puffer moves at c/2, in effect every 180 generations adding 4 Block pairs to the track that will be consumed by the Pi.
A single Pi can also move along a single trail of Blinkers. This Pi in the "Pi Crawler" takes 45 generations to reappear, having moved 17 cells in the process, resulting in a speed of 17c/45. As above, a puffer of another velocity can be used to lay down a track for the Pi to travel along. More importantly, a Blinker is left behind, allowing multiple Pi Crawlers to use the same trail of Blinkers. This reappearance, along with spaceships which lay down the Blinker trails, is the basis for Gabriel Nivasch's Caterpillar. See his article for more details.
In a discussion of waves in general, Jason Summers mentioned a Pi Wave which, while not well known, was discovered a while ago, and which lays down trails of Twin Blocks. As with the clean Pi Wave, there's no known way to stabilize the ends.
Also, Nicolay Beluchenko presented some new Pi Tracks in which a first Pi climbs the track as with the earlier Blinker trail, above. But in the process, the Pi alters the track, leaving behind a different track. A second Pi can follow on this track, cleanly burning it.
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