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Artificial Life

Summer 1998, Vol. 4, No. 3, Pages 259-282
(doi: 10.1162/106454698568585)
© 1998 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Self-Replicating and Self-Repairing Multicellular Automata
Article PDF (1.08 MB)

Biological organisms are among the most intricate structures known to man, exhibiting highly complex behavior through the massively parallel cooperation of numerous relatively simple elements, the cells. As the development of computing systems approaches levels of complexity such that their synthesis begins to push the limits of human intelligence, engineers are starting to seek inspiration in nature for the design of computing systems, both at the software and at the hardware levels. We present one such endeavor, notably an attempt to draw inspiration from biology in the design of a novel digital circuit: a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This reconfigurable logic circuit will be endowed with two features motivated and guided by the behavior of biological systems: self-replication and self-repair.