in reply to life in a reg-ex
I haven't thought about this too much but if you could serialize the matrix into a stream which could then be regex'd, then you would be halfway there. Life requires a bit of counting of cells which I'm not sure how you would achieve but otherwise it sounds interesting.
I've read some books on Artifical Life and there are many examples where a 1D (single row) version of life with different rules has been run. You print a row for each iteration and the resulting printout can be very complex. This would seem even more suited to regex processing.