This applet implements Chris Langton's Ant, or Virtual Ant, or Vant. More comments below... Push the "Run" button.

This vant follows the rule: if you're on a white square, turn it black, turn left and step forward. If you're on a black square, turn it white, turn right and step forward. More complicated vant rules have been explored; check AltaVista.

This vant is running on a grid that wraps around from left to right and top to bottom. Also, the grid is initialized with a regular pattern of dots instead of all white or all black. I think this setup shows more fun behavior--in particular, sometimes it tears down and rebuilds things it's already built, because of a special kind of reversability the simplest vant rule has.

I made this applet run a lot faster by a hack: I avoided method calls! Apparently (at least in the browsers and applet viewers I'm using) there's a big speed penalty for calling a method within a thread. That's a ridiculous restriction and I hope it goes away in later implementations of Java. But the code of this applet isn't badly disfigured by my workaround.

The source code is in It started out as a Life program that Peter N Lewis <> wrote and MetroWorks distributed with their Code Warrior development environment.