ARC Colloquium: Andrea Richa - Arizona State University

Algorithms & Randomness Center (ARC)

Andrea W. Richa – Arizona State University

Friday, October 9, 2015

Klaus 1116 East – 11:00 am


Programmable Matter: Self-organizing Particle Systems


From the level of chemical reaction networks within cells to the social structures of higher organisms, biological systems take advantage of distributed computation to perform a myriad of complex functions. Computer  scientists and engineers have investigated biological and physical systems in order to understand how these systems can provide us with the necessary insight to realize self-organizing systems of artificial, programmable particles. Those investigations led to the notion of programmable matter. The impact of programmable matter will be seen across all areas, from improved drugs and assistance in nano surgery, to increased productivity, greater capabilities in automation, etc. Fully distributed computation, self-organization and self-stabilization are key for the scalability and robustness of such systems. In this talk, we present a general abstract model for programmable matter consisting of systems of simple, computationally-limited particles. We present self-organizing algorithms for the problems of leader election, coating, and shape formation.

This work has been done in collaboration with Zahra Derakhshandeh (ASU), Christian Scheideler, Robert Gmyr and Thim Strothmann (U. of Paderborn, Germany), and others.


Andrea W. Richa is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, AZ. She is also affiliated with the Biomimicry Center at ASU. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, in 1995 and 1998, respectively. Prof. Richa's work on distributed algorithms has been widely cited, and includes work on self-organizing particle systems, wireless network modeling and topology control, wireless jamming, data mule networks, underwater optical networking, distributed load balancing, and distributed hash tables (DHTs). Dr. Richa was the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award in 1999, is currently an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and has served as keynote speaker and program\general chair of several prestigious conferences. Dr. Richa is also a founding member of UON Technologies. For a selected list of her publications and other accomplishments, and current research projects, please visit .


Event Details


  • Friday, October 9, 2015
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Klaus 1116 East

For More Information Contact

Dani Denton
denton at cc dot gatech dot edu