Natural Computing

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 219–237

Programmable reconfiguration of Physarum machines



Plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is a large cell capable of solving graph-theoretic, optimization and computational geometry problems due to its unique foraging behavior. Also the plasmodium is a unique biological substrate that mimics universal storage modification machines, namely the Kolmogorov–Uspensky machine. In the plasmodium implementation of the storage modification machine data are represented by sources of nutrients and memory structure by protoplasmic tubes connecting the sources. In laboratory experiments and simulation we demonstrate how the plasmodium-based storage modification machine can be programmed. We show execution of the following operations with the active zone (where computation occurs): merge two active zones, multiply active zone, translate active zone from one data site to another, direct active zone. Results of the paper bear two-fold value: they provide a basis for programming unconventional devices based on biological substrates and also shed light on behavioral patterns of the plasmodium.


Physarum polycephalum Kolmogorov–Uspensky machine Pattern formation Morphogenesis Graph theory 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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