Lenia is a class of continuous cellular automata systems . It was the topic of the ISAL Award for outstanding paper of 2019 and an entry in the 2018 ALife Art competition which won an honorable mention. It produces a wide range of emergent patterns, including individuation, self-replication, and intercommunication between colonies. Over 400 different “species” of emergent process have been identified in Lenia, including the Orbium, which is often thought of as a continuous analog to gliders in Conway’s Game of Life.

A fancy rendering of an Orbium

A video of some cool emergent phenomena in Lenia

Recent refinements to Lenia include Asymptotic Lenia, which produces even smoother entities capable of greater levels of complexity . Lenia has also recently been used as a test-bed for novel machine-learning techniques .

Asymptotic Lenia

More information

All things Lenia are linked to from Bert Chan’s Lenia Portal.


Chan, B. W.-C. (2019). Lenia: Biology of Artificial Life. Complex Systems, 28(3), 251–286. https://doi.org/10/ggf344
Chan, B. W.-C. (2020). Lenia and Expanded Universe. 221–229. https://doi.org/10/gm3wrq
Etcheverry, M., Moulin-Frier, C., & Oudeyer, P.-Y. (2020). Hierarchically organized latent modules for exploratory search in morphogenetic systems. In H. Larochelle, M. Ranzato, R. Hadsell, M. F. Balcan, & H. Lin (Eds.), Advances in neural information processing systems (Vol. 33, pp. 4846–4859). Curran Associates, Inc. https://proceedings.neurips.cc/paper/2020/file/33a5435d4f945aa6154b31a73bab3b73-Paper.pdf
Reinke, C., Etcheverry, M., & Oudeyer, P.-Y. (2020, April). Intrinsically Motivated Discovery of Diverse Patterns in Self-Organizing Systems. Eighth International Conference on Learning Representations. https://iclr.cc/virtual_2020/poster_rkg6sJHYDr.html
Kawaguchi, T., Suzuki, R., Arita, T., & Chan, B. (2021, July 19). Introducing asymptotics to the state-updating rule in Lenia. ALIFE 2021: The 2021 Conference on Artificial Life. https://doi.org/10/gk86dh