Membrane computing: a general view

TitleMembrane computing: a general view
Publication TypeJournal Papers
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsIbarra, O., & Paun G.
Journal TitleAnnals of European Academy of Sciences
Place PublishedLieja, Bélgica

We give an informal presentation of the basic ideas, results, and applications of membrane
computing, a branch of natural computing inspired by the structure and the functioning of
biological cells, cell tissues, or colonies of cells. Membrane computing has given rise to computing
models (called P systems) that are distributed and parallel, which process multisets of objects
in compartments defined by membranes.
After introducing the main classes of P systems, illustrated with some simple examples, we
recall some results, especially those that concern their computing power and computing effi-
ciency: the equivalence with Turing machines for many classes of P systems, and the possibility
of designing devices which are capable of solving computationally intractable problems in feasi-
ble time. We then briefly discuss some applications (to biology, bio-medicine, economics, etc.),
giving a typical example to illustrate this research direction. Finally, we report on some software
simulators and hardware implementations of P systems that have been developed.