Simulation of Programmable Matter Systems Using Active Tile-Based Self-Assembly

John Calvin Alumbaugh, Joshua J. Daymude, Erik D. Demaine, Matthew J. Patitz, Andréa W. Richa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


Self-assembly refers to the process by which small, simple components mix and combine to form complex structures using only local interactions. Designed as a hybrid between tile assembly models and cellular automata, the Tile Automata (TA) model was recently introduced as a platform to help study connections between various models of self-assembly. However, in this paper we present a result in which we use TA to simulate arbitrary systems within the amoebot model, a theoretical model of programmable matter in which the individual components are relatively simple state machines that are able to sense the states of their neighbors and to move via series of expansions and contractions. We show that for every amoebot system, there is a TA system capable of simulating the local information transmission built into amoebot particles, and that the TA “macrotiles� used to simulate its particles are capable of simulating movement (via attachment and detachment operations) while maintaining the necessary properties of amoebot particle systems. The TA systems are able to utilize only the local interactions of state changes and binding and unbinding along tile edges, but are able to fully simulate the dynamics of these programmable matter systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDNA Computing and Molecular Programming - 25th International Conference, DNA 25, Proceedings
EditorsChris Thachuk, Yan Liu
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783030268060
StatePublished - 2019
Event25th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming, DNA 2019 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Aug 5 2019Aug 9 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11648 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference25th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming, DNA 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Amoebot model
  • Programmable matter
  • Self-assembly
  • Simulation
  • Tile Automata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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