Natural Computing

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 17–38 | Cite as

On aggregation in multiset-based self-assembly of graphs

  • Francesco Bernardini
  • Robert BrijderEmail author
  • Matteo Cavaliere
  • Giuditta Franco
  • Hendrik Jan Hoogeboom
  • Grzegorz Rozenberg


We continue the formal study of multiset-based self-assembly. The process of self-assembly of graphs, where iteratively new nodes are attached to a given graph, is guided by rules operating on nodes labelled by multisets. In this way, the multisets and rules model connection points (such as “sticky ends”) and complementarity/affinity between connection points, respectively. We identify three natural ways (individual, free, and collective) to attach (aggregate) new nodes to the graph, and study the generative power of the corresponding self-assembly systems. For example, it turns out that individual aggregation can be simulated by free or collective aggregation. However, we demonstrate that, for a fixed set of connection points, collective aggregation is rather restrictive. We also give a number of results that are independent of the way that aggregation is performed.


Self-assembly Multiset guided graph transformations Cell aggregation 



F. Bernardini and R. Brijder were supported by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, project 635.100.006 “VIEWS”. G. Rozenberg acknowledges support by NSF grant 0622112. M. Cavaliere and G. Franco were supported by European Research Network SegraVis. We thank the reviewers for their valuable comments on the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Bernardini
    • 1
  • Robert Brijder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matteo Cavaliere
    • 2
  • Giuditta Franco
    • 3
  • Hendrik Jan Hoogeboom
    • 1
  • Grzegorz Rozenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer ScienceLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The Microsoft Research-University of TrentoCentre for Computational and Systems Biology (CoSBi)TrentoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly

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