the Design of the

healthyapricotMechanics

Nov 5, 2013 (4 years and 4 days ago)

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Arminius Mignea


The Lone Pine Software

Developing Insights into
the Design of the
Simplest Self
-
Replicator
(SSR) and its Complexity

“Maybe
I can say we’re halfway there
.”

My attention was grabbed by the following
fragment
from
the interview that Nobel
scientist
Jack Szostak
gave on October 19, 2011 to New York Times reporter Claudia
Dreifus regarding his research progress on
deciphering the Origin Of Life
:



How far have you gotten?

Maybe I can say we’re halfway there.

We think that a primitive cell has to have two parts. First, it has to have a cell
membrane that can be a boundary between itself and the rest of the earth. And then
there has to be some genetic material, which has to perform some function that’s
useful for the cell and get replicated to be inherited
…”


(see the full interview here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/science/18conversation.html?_
r=2&ref=scienc
eandtechnology
)


The above answer prompted me to think about how

can I get some empirical,
objective knowledge on what the Simplest Self Replicator (SSR) may look like

Goals, Assumptions and Requirements


Goals:


Develop insights into internal design of the SSR


Evaluate complexity in creating an artificial SSR


Assumptions:


There is an intake of materials from outside SSR


There is an output of refuse materials from inside SSR


We
assume throughout that we design for
building an artificial
SSR



that
need not have a biological
basis (not built with
carbon
-
based chemistry
) but is
rather a
‘clunky’ one (made from
metal, plastic, semiconductors, etc
.)


Requirements


SSR has an Enclosure to separate it and protect it from its
environment


SSR is capable to create an identical copy of itself


The SSR (Simplest Self
-
Replicator)
Schematic Illustration

SSR enclosure

SSR components
(
in
blue)

SSR processes (in
red)

What
happens during SSR
replication?


the “cloning” phase

What happens during SSR replication?


the
“division”
phase

What happens during SSR replication?


Input raw materials and parts accepted by input enclosure gates


Input materials processed through material extraction into good materials
for fabrication of parts or for energy generation


Energy is generated and made available throughout SSR


Fabrication function starts to fabricate parts, components and assemblies
for:


Cloning (creating copies) of all SSR internal elements


Creating scaffolding elements for the growing SSR interior


Creating new elements that are added to the growing enclosure


When the cloning of all original SSR internal parts completed, the SSR
division starts:


The original SSR content is now at (for example) “north pole” of the SSR enclosure


The cloned SSR content (the “nascent daughter SSR”) is now at the “south pole” of the
SSR enclosure


The SSR enclosure and its content now divides at the “equatorial” plane and the
separate “mother” (at North) and daughter (at South) SSR emerge.

How is the artificial SSR able to clone accurately
all its internal parts?

Possible answers:

A.
By using
a mechanical copy process


similar with that used
to duplicate house
keys

B.
By using
internal design information in combination with
computer controlled automatons


How is the artificial SSR able to clone
accurately all its internal parts?
continued I

A.
By using
a mechanical copy process


similar with that used
to duplicate house
keys










WRONG ANSWER !!!


How is the artificial SSR able to clone
accurately all its internal parts?
Continued II

B.
By using
internal design
information in combination with
computer controlled
automatons











CORRECT ANSWER !!!

SSR Functions and Their Relationships

Construction Plan

Communication & Notification

Replication

Division

Cloning

Fabrication Ctrl&Assmbly

Enclosure Growth

Scaffolding Growth

Construction Status

Bill of Materials

Manipulation

Fabrication

Energy Generation

Transport

Recycling

Supply
-
Chain

Materials & Parts Identif.

Output Flow

Input Flow

Materials Extraction

Input Flow Control, Material Identification
and Material Extraction Functions


Input Flow Control
function


Opens/closes the enclosure input gateways


Acts based on the nature of input material/part and
commands from other functions


Material and Parts Identification
function


Identifies nature of input materials and parts


Tags input materials and parts, manufactured materials
and fabricated parts with type Id (bar code like)


Material Extraction
function


Uses specific processes to extract manufacturing materials
from raw materials


Uses specific machinery and parts


Input Flow Control Function
-

illustrated










The Enclosure Gateway is
closed

at this time

Materials and Parts Identification Function

What is the material

t
he bottle is made of?

It is Chocolate !!!

Yes, but the challenge

is to have a robot

find this out by itself


Material Extraction Function

Energy Generation Function, Transport
Function


Energy Generation
function:


Generates energy from raw or processed materials


Distributes/transport and manages energy (electricity)


Uses special machinery: generators, transformers,
converters


Material basis: one of fuel, oil, coal, chemical, atomic


Transport

function:


Transport materials and parts/components


Uses containers, conduits, wires, carriers


Transports also energy and information

Supply Chain Function, Recycling Function
and Output Flow Control Function


Supply
Chain
function:


Ensures steady supply of materials, energy and parts


Coordinating and scheduling capability


Recycling

function:


Re
-
introduce useful materials and parts in the
fabrication cycle


Selects materials and parts as refuse; cleans spaces


Output Flow Control
function:


Sends refuse materials and parts outside SSR


Controls output gateways of the enclosure


Bill of Materials Function, Construction Plan
Function, Construction Status Function


Bill of Materials
function:


Catalogs of all materials and all parts


For each element: its composition in sub
-
elements and materials


Construction Plan
function:


Catalog of construction plan and design of all parts, components,
assemblies including SSR


Catalog of all processes


Catalog of all procedures


Construction Status
function:


Uses replicas of construction plans to mark construction progress


Status updated by functions involved in fabrication and construction

Manipulation Function, Fabrication
Function, Fabrication Control Function


Manipulation

function:


Ability to “grab”, “handle”, “manipulate” materials, parts,
components


Implemented with robot arm


like machinery


Fabrication

Function:


Must be able to fabricate any and all SSR parts and
components


In particular able to fabricate all SSR machinery


Fabrication Control
function:


Follows the construction plans


Commands the fabrication function to manufacture next
elements in the plan

Communication and Notification Function,
Scaffolding Growth Function, Enclosure Growth
Function


Communication and Notification
function:


Facilitates communication between the “control”
centers and “execution” centers


Notifications from “executor” to “controller”


Scaffolding Growth
function:


Controls construction and growth of SSR scaffolding


Mostly on the “daughter” SSR side


Enclosure Growth
function:


Controls the construction and growth of the enclosure


Addition of enclosure gateways; flexible geometry


Cloning Function, Division Function,
Replication Function


Cloning
function


Choreographs the cloning phase


Coordinates fabrication of the clone and growth of scaffolding and
enclosure


Copies info catalogs and software into the cloned parts


Division

function:


Choreograph the SSR division phase


“start the engines” of the “daughter” SSR just before division
completes


Replication

function:


Highest level function:


Implements the designer commandments:


Grow and


Multiply



SSR Functions and Their Relationships

Construction Plan

Communication & Notification

Replication

Division

Cloning

Fabrication Ctrl&Assmbly

Enclosure Growth

Scaffolding Growth

Construction Status

Bill of Materials

Manipulation

Fabrication

Energy Generation

Transport

Recycling

Supply
-
Chain

Materials & Parts Identif.

Output Flow

Input Flow

Materials Extraction

What we learned about the artificial SSR?


SSR
must be
designed for growth and division: the enclosure must support
changing surface, volume and shape


SSR must contain detailed, structured, cohesive descriptive information
that must be accurately and integrally passed to next generations SSR.
Required information:


all used materials: identification, description, characteristics


m
anufacturing materials: extraction procedures and processes


b
ill of materials for all fabricated parts, components and assemblies


p
rocedures and processes for energy generation, storage (if needed)
transportation and management


c
onstruction plans for all fabricated parts, components and assemblies
including the SSR itself.


a
ll fabrication processes and procedures


a
ll assemblage procedures


a
ll recycling procedures and processes



What we learned
about the artificial SSR?


continued I


SSR must contain advanced materials and parts identification capabilities as
well as material extraction capabilities


SSR must contain sophisticated, fully automated and computer
-
controlled
capabilities for energy generation, transportation, management and
distribution


SSR must contain very sophisticated fabrication and assemblage capabilities
that must be information
-
driven for full automation and computer control.


SSR must posses advanced computing (information processing) capabilities as
well as good information communication capabilities.


SSR must control its many parts and layered functions through very advanced
software running on SSR computer(
-
like) machinery.


Above all SSR must be based on a very sophisticated design that harmoniously,
precisely and completely provides full automation and self
-
sufficiency for all
machinery and processes that happens inside an SSR during its growth,
division and replication.


The design of an SSR can be successful only if it is harmoniously integrated and
precisely coordinated with the design and characteristics of its environment.

What we learned about the
artificial SSR
?


continued
II

An artificial SSR most probable must contain:


a material mining sub
-
unit


a metallurgic subunit


a chemical plant


a power plant


an electricity distribution network


a network of avenues, alleys and conduits for robotized transportation


a semiconductor manufacturing plant


a computer manufacturing plant


a
n extended communication network connecting by wire or rather wirelessly
all plants and robots


a

software manufacturing plant and software distribution and installation
agents.


a

materials and parts recycling and refuse management plant


a
n army of intelligent robots for transportation and manipulation


a

highly sophisticated distributed, multi
-
layered software system that controls
in a cohesive manner all plants, robots and communications.



Evaluating the Complexity of an Artificial SSR

SSR: autonomous, computerized and automated


No comparable real engineering artifact in terms of:


Autonomy (materials, energy, fabrication closure, information
closure, ‘intelligence’)


full manufacturing automation


s
pectrum of processes and fabrication types


No successful attempt so far on building a real
autonomous artificial SSR from scratch. Attempts so far:


s
oftware simulations


c
ellular automata


self
-
replicating software entities


RepRap


self replicating 3D printers


s
elf
-
assembling Lego robots


Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)


Craig Venter’s synthetic bacterial cell


Evaluating the Complexity of an Artificial
SSR
-

continued

Comparing a genuine artificial SSR with:


An advanced car manufacturing/assembly line:


m
any/most parts are fabricated elsewhere


n
ot fully automated; many manual operations performed by
humans


n
o material identification, material extraction capabilities


n
ot so many process technologies involved


mostly an assembly operation


The Large Hadron Collider (HDC) in Switzerland


n
o fabrication


n
ot comparable in terms of automation, process diversity


The Martian Rover


some good amount of autonomy


n
o fabrication

SSR and the Origin Of Life (OOL) Research

Any OOL credible explanation should provide answers to the following
questions:


How the self describing information (of so many varieties) residing
in the SSR originated?


How the energy generation and transport function originated?


How the material identification function and the material extraction
function originated?


How the fabrication function originated


How the transport and manipulation functions originated?


How the coordinated control of various functions originated?


How the whole sophisticated design of the SSR originated?


Is it reasonable to believe/accept that the SSR resulted through
random/natural processes when the 21
st

century
scientists are only
beginning to understand only SOME OF THE INTERNALS of a cell?


Is it reasonable to believe/accept that the SSR resulted through
random/natural processes when the 21
st

century scientists and
engineers are still not able to design and create an artificial SSR?


NASA Advanced Automation for Space Missions

The NASA 1980
study
1

edited by
Robert A. Freitas, Jr
.
describes a lunar self
-
replicating factory to be launching pad of galaxy exploration self
-
replicating
probes ( a 20 year program).



The seed of the lunar factory will weigh


100 tons


Not all machinery could be built on


Moon


The project anticipated as being


feasible
in 21
st

century


The study mentions that the



closure problem is not solved


This study is one of the most realistic

e
xploration of the design of an

a
rtificial “macro” SSR


1.

Advanced Automation for Space
Missions“ Edited
by
Robert
A. Freitas, Jr.

Space
Initiative/XRI
Santa
Clara, California at http://www.islandone.org/MMSG/aasm/




REPRO


Colonizing the Galaxy

In 1980 Robert A. Freitas publishes in the
Journal
of the British Interplanetary Society


A Self
-
Reproducing Interstellar Probe
” (REPRO)
study
1
.


REPRO
was a mammoth self
-
reproducing
spacecraft to be built in orbit around
Jupiter.


REPRO
was a vast and ambitious project,
equipped with numerous smaller probes for
planetary exploration, but its key purpose was
to reproduce. Each REPRO probe would create
an automated factory that would build a new
probe every 500 years. Probe by probe, star by
star, the galaxy would be
explored
2
.


The
total fueled mass of REPRO was projected
to be 10**10 Kg = 10 **7 tons = 10 million tons
for a probe mass of 100,000
tons.


It
takes 500 years to REPRO to create a replica
of itself in the relative hospitable environment
of a far
-
away
planet


The
estimated exploration time of the galaxy
was 1


10 million
years

1.
http
://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/ReproJBISJuly1980.htm

2.
2. “
Via Nanotechnology to the
Stars
” by Paul Gilster at http://www.centauri
-
dreams.org/?p=96

Earth


Was “seeded” with Self Replicators (SRs) by
an Advanced Civilization and a Master Designer

Our Earth was seeded with a wide variety of SRs by and advanced
civilization and a Master Designer:


There are an estimated 9,7 million species of organisms (plants,
animals, fish, insects, bacteria SRs) on planet EARTH


The total number of self
-
replicating machines
(SR’s) that
work
cooperatively on this planet is hard to estimate. It is believed that
the number is between 10^20 (1 followed by 20 zeros) and 10^30
(1 followed by 30 zeros
)


There are strong dependencies between the design and existence
of certain type of SRs on the design and existence on other type of
SRs. For example the
number of bacteria living within the body of
the average healthy
Homo Sapiens are
estimated to outnumber
human cells 10 to
1.


There are strong dependencies of the design and functioning of all
SR types on the Earth environments and planetary environment
conditions

A

Dragonfly type of Self Replicator

Garden Flower Type of Self Replicator

A Tree Type of Self
-
Replicator

Self Replicating Trees

The Metaphysics of It All

A reasonable scientific hypothesis is that the
Master Designer
designed wisely all SSR types for this successful
cohabitation
of the Homo Sapiens SSR with all other types of SSRs.


More
so it is hypothesized (again scientifically) that the
Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy and the
Whole Universe was designed by the
Master Designer
so
that Homo Sapiens has a comfortable place to live.


More
so, besides having a comfortable place to live Homo
Sapiens have plenty of SSR types to study and to marvel at
the fabulous skills of the
Master Designer
revealed so
blatantly in His SSR designs.


More
so, besides having amazing engineering feats to
discover and admire, the Homo Sapiens has a rightful
Master Designer
to
praise and worship
all his life.