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Seth GoldsteinSeth Goldstein [photo]

Claytronics: A Form of Programmable Matter 
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:30 PM

(Refreshments at 3:00 PM)

Seth Goldstein, will talk about Claytronics: A Form of Programmable Matter. Advances in computing have in large part been driven by the desire for better human communication (e.g., the telephone, the television, the web). On the technology side of the equation, advances in computing have been primarily enabled by continual improvements in the manufacturing of intergrated circuits. In this talk, I will describe Claytronics; a technology that harnesses the expected future scaling of sub-micron manufacturing to enable the next step in human communication: The ability for people at distant locations to interact with one other in 3D.

Claytronics is a form of programmable matter. It is an ensemble of massive numbers of units, each of which has the capability to compute, communicate, sense, and actuate. The goal is for the system to act as a coherent mass adn thereby mimic, with high-fidelity and in 3-dimensional solid form, the look, feel, and motion of macro-scale objects. We are investigating the design and manufacture of the individual units, which we call claytronic atoms (or catoms) and the methods to control the ensemble by programming the individual catoms so that they can self-assemble into arbitrary dynamic 3D objects.

Realizing this vision requires new ways of thinking about massive numbers of cooperating units. Most importantly, it demands simplifying and redesigning the software and hardware used in each catom to reduce complexity and manufacturing cost and increase robustness and reliability. Consequently, our designs strictly adhere to the ensemble principle: A module should include only enough functionality to contribute to the ensemble's desired functionaality. Early results of our research indicate that obeying the ensemble principle allows us to significantly reduce the complexity of each unit. Finally, we believe that Claytronics is more than a technology for a new media type: it is a system which allows us to explore the issues involved in realizing nanoscale manufacturing.

Dr. Seth Copen Goldstein received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. His undergraduate work was undertaken at Princeton University in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Before attending UC Berkeley, Seth was CEO and founder of Complete Computer Corporation which developed and marketed object-oriented programming tools. His research focuses broadly on the using nanotechnology in computer science.

He is involved in two main efforts. The first, Phoenix, involves compilers and architectures for novel computing systems with a focus on reconfigurable computing. The second effort, Claytronics, involves realizing programmable matter.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Ben Kobler