Universal coating for programmable matter

Zahra Derakhshandeh, Robert Gmyr, Andrea Richa, Christian Scheideler, Thim Strothmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The idea behind universal coating is to have a thin layer of a specific substance covering an object of any shape so that one can measure a certain condition (like temperature or cracks) at any spot on the surface of the object without requiring direct access to that spot. We study the universal coating problem in the context of self-organizing programmable matter consisting of simple computational elements, called particles, that can establish and release bonds and can actively move in a self-organized way. Based on that matter, we present a worst-case work-optimal universal coating algorithm that uniformly coats any object of arbitrary shape and size that allows a uniform coating. Our particles are anonymous, do not have any global information, have constant-size memory, and utilize only local interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
StatePublished - Apr 6 2017


  • Object coating
  • Programmable matter
  • Self-organizing particle systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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