Self-assembly is an emergent property of decentralized systems, which is seen throughout nature. Understanding and applying this emergent property continues to be an important subject in the natural sciences as well as engineering and computer science. However, designing and creating self-assembling systems continues to be extremely challenging. One aspect that remains an open problem is how to design a set of components and their environmental conditions such that the set of components self-assemble to create a desired entity. Techniques have been developed for a few specific applications, but a general approach has not been achieved. The focus of my research is on this aspect. I will present key results of my research over the past three years: from the creation of a fish-like structure from simple mechanical components of varying form, to the creation of a virtual coffee mug from generic spherical components, and finally to the creation of simple mechanical structures resulting from components following a rule-based approach.
Self-assembly, Emergence, Virtual Systems, Physical Systems, Rule-based Approach