The following readings introduce the concepts of programmable matter and machines, as well as offer precedents from research across a number of disciplines.
Tolley, M. T., M. Krishnan, et al. "Advances Towards Programmable Matter." (PDF) Proc. Int. Conf. Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (2008): 653–5.
Knaian, Ara. "Design of Programmable Matter." M. S. in Media Arts and Sciences Thesis. MIT, 2008.
Knight, T. F., and G. J. Sussman. "Cellular Gate Technology." (PDF - 1.0MB) MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (July 1997).
Vacanti, M. P., and C. A. Vacanti. "Biological Scaffolding Material." U.S. Patent 7,319,035. Filed October 17, 2003 and issued January 15, 2008.
Aranda, B., and C. Lasch. "Cracking." In Pamphlet Architecture 27: Tooling. Princeton Architectural Press, 2005, pp. 53–7. ISBN: 9781568985473. [Preview with Google Books]
Rothemund, Paul Wilhelm Karl. "A DNA and Restriction Enzyme Implementation of Turing Machines." In DIMACS Series in Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (27). American Mathematical Society, 1996, pp. 75–120. ISBN: 9780821805183.
Rothemund, Paul Wilhelm Karl. "Folding DNA to Create Nanoscale Shapes and Patterns." Nature 440 (2006): 297–302.
Griffith, Saul Thomas. "Growing Machines." Ph.D in Media Arts and Sciences Thesis. MIT, 2004.
Aranda, B., and C. Lasch. "Introduction." In Pamphlet Architecture 27: Tooling. Princeton Architectural Press, 2005, pp. 8–9. ISBN: 9781568985473. [Preview with Google Books]
Mitchell, William J. "The Logic of Architecture: Programming the Invention of Physical Artifacts." In Logic Programming: The Joint [9th] International Conference & Symposium. Edited by Krzysztof Apt. MIT Press, 1992, pp. 831–46. ISBN: 9780262510646.
Penrose, L. S. "Mechanics of Self-Reproduction." Annals of Human Genetics 23, no. 1 (1958): 59–72.
———. "Self-Reproducing Machines." (PDF - 1.5MB) Scientific American 202, no. 6 (1959): 105–14.
Lee, Kiju, and Gregory S. Chirikjian. "Robotic Self-Replication: A Descriptive Framework and a Physical Demonstration from Low-Complexity Parts." (PDF - 1.4MB) IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 14, no. 7 (2007): 34–43.
Von Neumann, John. "The Role of High and of Extremely High Complication." (PDF - 1.5MB) Chapter 4 in Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata. Edited and completed by Arthur W. Burks. University of Illinois Press, 1966, pp. 64–73.
———. "Re-evaluation of the Problems of Complicated Automata—Problems of Hierarchy and Evolution." (PDF - 1.5MB) Chapter 5 in Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata. Edited and completed by Arthur W. Burks. University of Illinois Press, 1966, pp. 74–87.