Morphogenetic Engineering

Toward Programmable Complex Systems

  • René Doursat
  • Hiroki Sayama
  • Olivier Michel

Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. René Doursat, Hiroki Sayama, Olivier Michel
    Pages 1-24
  3. Constructing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Rehan O’Grady, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Marco Dorigo
      Pages 27-60
    3. Justin Werfel
      Pages 115-140
    4. Daniel J. Arbuckle, Aristides A. G. Requicha
      Pages 141-155
    5. Navneet Bhalla, Peter J. Bentley
      Pages 157-188
  4. Coalescing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 189-189
    2. Hiroki Sayama
      Pages 191-208
    3. Alan F. T. Winfield, Julien Nembrini
      Pages 239-271
  5. Developing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 273-273
    2. René Doursat, Carlos Sánchez, Razvan Dordea, David Fourquet, Taras Kowaliw
      Pages 275-311
    3. Sylvain Cussat-Blanc, Jonathan Pascalie, Sébastien Mazac, Hervé Luga, Yves Duthen
      Pages 353-381
    4. Sara Montagna, Mirko Viroli
      Pages 383-405
  6. Generating

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 407-407
    2. Antoine Spicher, Olivier Michel, Jean-Louis Giavitto
      Pages 409-440
    3. Daniel Lobo, Jose David Fernández, Francisco J. Vico
      Pages 441-472
    4. Sebastian von Mammen, David Phillips, Timothy Davison, Heather Jamniczky, Benedikt Hallgrímsson, Christian Jacob
      Pages 473-499
    5. Alban Verdenal, Didier Combes, Abraham Escobar-Gutiérrez
      Pages 501-517

About this book


Generally, spontaneous pattern formation phenomena are random and repetitive, whereas elaborate devices are the deterministic product of human design. Yet, biological organisms and collective insect constructions are exceptional examples of complex systems that are both self-organized and architectural.
This book is the first initiative of its kind toward establishing a new field of research, Morphogenetic Engineering, to explore the modeling and implementation of “self-architecturing” systems. Particular emphasis is placed on the programmability and computational abilities of self-organization, properties that are often underappreciated in complex systems science—while, conversely, the benefits of self-organization are often underappreciated in engineering methodologies.
Altogether, the aim of this work is to provide a framework for and examples of a larger class of “self-architecturing” systems, while addressing fundamental questions such as
> How do biological organisms carry out morphogenetic tasks so reliably?
> Can we extrapolate their self-formation capabilities to engineered systems?
> Can physical systems be endowed with information (or informational systems be embedded in physics) so as to create autonomous morphologies and functions?
> What are the core principles and best practices for the design and engineering of such morphogenetic systems?

The intended audience consists of researchers and graduate students who are working on, starting to work on, or interested in programmable self-organizing systems in a wide range of scientific fields, including computer science, robotics, bioengineering, control engineering, physics, theoretical biology, mathematics, and many others.


Autonomous morphologies and functions Self-architecting and self-architecturing systems adaptive self-organization morphogenetic engineering programmable complex systems

Editors and affiliations

  • René Doursat
    • 1
  • Hiroki Sayama
    • 2
  • Olivier Michel
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut des Systèmes Complexes, Paris Ile-de-FranceEcole PolytechniqueParisFrance
  2. 2.Binghamton University, Dept. BioengineeringState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA
  3. 3.Faculté des Sciences et Technologie, Lab. LACL-EA 4219Université Paris-Est CréteilCréteil CedexFrance

Bibliographic information