Morphogenetic Engineering

Part of the series Understanding Complex Systems pp 1-24


Morphogenetic Engineering: Reconciling Self-Organization and Architecture

  • René DoursatAffiliated withComplex Systems Institute, Paris Ile-de-France (ISC-PIF), CNRS & Ecole Polytechnique Email author 
  • , Hiroki SayamaAffiliated withCollective Dynamics of Complex Systems Research Group (CoCo), Departments of Bioengineering & Systems Science and Industrial Engineering, Binghamton University, SUNY
  • , Olivier MichelAffiliated withAlgorithmic, Complexity and Logic Laboratory (LACL), Department of Computer Science, Université de Paris-Est Créteil

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Generally, phenomena of spontaneous pattern formation are random and repetitive, whereas elaborate devices are the deterministic product of human design. Yet, biological organisms and collective insect constructions are exceptional examples of complex systems that are both architectured and self-organized. Can we understand their precise self-formation capabilities and integrate them with technological planning? Can physical systems be endowed with information, or informational systems be embedded in physics, to create autonomous morphologies and functions? This book is the first initiative of its kind toward establishing a new field of research, Morphogenetic Engineering, to explore the modeling and implementation of “self-architecturing” systems. Particular emphasis is set on the programmability and computational abilities of self-organization, properties that are often underappreciated in complex systems science—while, conversely, the benefits of self-organization are often underappreciated in engineering methodologies.