Terminating Distributed Construction of Shapes and Patterns in a Fair Solution of Automata

Michail, O ORCID: 0000-0002-6234-3960
(2018) Terminating Distributed Construction of Shapes and Patterns in a Fair Solution of Automata. Distributed Computing, 31 (5). pp. 343-365.

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In this work, we consider a solution of automata (or nodes) that move passively in a well-mixed solution without being capable of controlling their movement. Nodes can cooperate by interacting in pairs and every such interaction may result in an update of their local states. Additionally, the nodes may also choose to connect to each other in order to start forming some required structure. Such nodes can be thought of as small programmable pieces of matter, like tiny nanorobots or programmable molecules. The model that we introduce here is a more applied version of network constructors, imposing physical (or geometric) constraints on the connections that the nodes are allowed to form. Each node can connect to other nodes only via a very limited number of local ports. Connections are always made at unit distance and are perpendicular to connections of neighboring ports, which makes the model capable of forming 2D or 3D shapes. We provide direct constructors for some basic shape construction problems, like spanning line, spanning square, and self-replication. We then develop new techniques for determining the computational and constructive capabilities of our model. One of the main novelties of our approach is that of exploiting the assumptions that the system is well-mixed and has a unique leader, in order to give terminating protocols that are correct with high probability. This allows us to develop terminating subroutines that can be sequentially composed to form larger modular protocols. One of our main results is a terminating protocol counting the size n of the system with high probability. We then use this protocol as a subroutine in order to develop our universal constructors, establishing that it is possible for the nodes to become self-organized with high probability into arbitrarily complex shapes while still detecting termination of the construction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distributed network construction, Programmable matter, Shape formation, Well-mixed solution, Homogeneous population, Distributed protocol, Interacting automata, Fairness, Random schedule, Structure formation, Self-organization, Self-replication
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2017 13:23
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:58
DOI: 10.1007/s00446-017-0309-z
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3008819