Amorphous Computing

Unknown author (1999-08-29)

Amorphous computing is the development of organizational principles and programming languages for obtaining coherent behaviors from the cooperation of myriads of unreliable parts that are interconnected in unknown, irregular, and time-varying ways. The impetus for amorphous computing comes from developments in microfabrication and fundamental biology, each of which is the basis of a kernel technology that makes it possible to build or grow huge numbers of almost-identical information-processing units at almost no cost. This paper sets out a research agenda for realizing the potential of amorphous computing and surveys some initial progress, both in programming and in fabrication. We describe some approaches to programming amorphous systems, which are inspired by metaphors from biology and physics. We also present the basic ideas of cellular computing, an approach to constructing digital-logic circuits within living cells by representing logic levels by concentrations DNA-binding proteins.