An Aggregate Vascular Morphogenesis Controller for Engineered Self-Organising Spatial Structures

International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organizing Systems (ACSOS)

The Vascular Morphogenesis Controller (VMC) is an approach to structure development inspired by how plants branch and distribute nutrients. It has proven useful to guide shape formation in modular robotics as well as resource distribution in hierarchically-structured organisations, such as large companies. In this work, we propose FieldVMC: a generalisation of VMC built on aggregate computing, hence amenable to be used on arbitrary topologies, i.e., undirected graphs rather than trees. We redesign the VMC model as a field-based computation, hence enabling the emergence of organisational hierarchies in a decentralised and asynchronous way, out of self-organizing interactions among local entities. The benefits of our approach are manifold. Being decentralised and free from topological constraints, our approach makes VMC applicable to arbitrary networks; being based on a well-known computational model, it inherits its scalability, asynchronicity, and self-organizing capabilities; being implemented in a functional field-based computation framework, reuse and composability are fostered. Accordingly, we show that our approach to VMC enables new novel sorts of phenomena to be captured, studied, and engineered, including autonomous growth of tree structures from a single node (cutting), self-healing of damaged structures, union of disjoint structures (grafting), and construction of autonomous sub-structures (budding).

keywordsplant-inspired computing, aggregate computing, vascular morphogenesis controller