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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H010432/1
Title: Evolutionary Optimisation of Self Assembling Nano-Designs (ExIStENcE)
Principal Investigator: Krasnogor, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Moriarty, Professor PJ Champness, Professor NR Beton, Professor PH
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Computer Science
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2010 Ends: 30 April 2013 Value (£): 945,423
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Complexity Science
Materials Synthesis & Growth Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Jul 2009 ICT Prioritisation Panel (July 09) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The primary objective of this proposal is the development of novel evolutionary algorithms (EAs) and protocols, based on deeper principles than currently available, for the optimisation, design and exploitation of molecular self-assembly. Evolutionary algorithms are nowadays well established techniques that have shown their worth on a large variety of applications that range from timetabling and scheduling problems to robotics and space antenna design. Surprisingly, EAs have not yet been systematically analised in the context of molecular tile design. At the core of our approach lies the assumption that self-assembly can be understood as an information-driven process and hence be better exploited by directly linking it to computational phenomena. Taken as an operational hypothesis, which our research programme will analyse both theoretically and experimentally, this assumption implies that with suitable tools, desired emergent phenomena could in principle be programmed into self-assembling nanosystems. Our experimental target will be based around molecular tiles as these have been shown to be computationally complete [1,2,3]. Hence, they can potentially be programmed to perform any set of discrete information processing steps which in turn could induce a specific emergent pattern of complex behaviour. This project will seek to automate the process of programming molecular tiles using evolutionary algorithms. In an interview for Thomson Scientific's Science Watch newsletter [quoted in J.A. Pelesko, Self Assembly, The Science of Things that Put Themselves Together, Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2007], G. Whitesides, one of the most prolific and highly cited chemists in the world, noted that the holy grail of his research was To be able to make complex systems, either structurally or functionally, by self-assembly...We would like to develop a synthesis technology that would enable the making of nanometer-scale... structures on surfaces with arbitrary chosen properties . Whitesides' challenge is at the heart of our research programme. We will seeks to leverage state-of-the-art research in Computer Science and Nanoscience to meet this challenge.
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk