School of Computing

Programming Languages and Systems: TUNA

Theories Underpinning Nanite Assemblers

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Support: EPSRC (EP/C516966/1)

Nanites are tiny robots, with components that can be one billionth of a metre in size, and which cooperate to cause macroscopic effects; nanotech assemblers are nanites that build things atom by atom. We will study the feasibility of developing huge collections of nanites that behave safely. We face the following challenges:

  1. To look at ways of building computer models of nanites, how they communicate with each other, and how they may be controlled.
  2. To find ways of knowing when our models of nanites do what they are supposed to do.
  3. To work out what resources are needed to run these models on a computer.
  4. To suggest ways that lawyers and experts can be certain that that these nanites work safely.

In carrying out these investigations, we plan to use models of nanites that work like artificial blood cells, and we will study how they stop cuts bleeding. The really interesting thing about these artificial blood cells is that they are very simple, and yet they work together to do something that is very complicated. It is impossible to see from one nanite what hundreds of thousands of them will do when they work together. So, we will simulate their behaviour on a network of computers to see if we have got the ideas right and to make sure that they work safely. There has been a lot of work on the construction of advanced devices based on collections of nanites, but no effort has been made into assuring their safety. We propose to make a contribution on this area.



Project support:


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Refs.: EP/C516966/1

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 28/06/2013