Universally Programmable Intelligent Matter
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Bruce MacLennan, Principal Investigator

(Short nanotube constructed by molecular combinatory programming; see UPIM Report 4;
see gallery for more visualizations)

Intelligent matter is any material in which individual molecules or supra-molecular clusters function as agents to accomplish some purpose. Intelligent matter may be solid, liquid or gaseous, although liquids and membranes are perhaps most typical. Universally programmable intelligent matter (UPIM) is made from a small set of molecular building blocks that are universal in the sense that they can be rearranged to accomplish any purpose that can be described by a computer program. In effect, a computer program controls the behavior of the material at the molecular level. In some applications the molecules self-assemble a desired nanostructure by "computing" the structure and then becoming inactive). In other applications the material remains active so that it can respond, at the molecular level, to its environment or to other external conditions. An extreme case is when programmable supra-molecular clusters act as autonomous agents to achieve some end.

This research is supported by a Nanoscale Exploratory Research grant from the National Science Foundation, and has been facilitated by a grant for the UTK Center for Information Technology Research.



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Last updated: 2009-08-26
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