Document Type


Publication Date



Staged self-assembly has proven to be a powerful abstract model of self-assembly by modeling laboratory techniques where several nanoscale systems are allowed to assemble separately and then be mixed at a later stage. A fundamental problem in self-assembly is Unique Assembly Verification (UAV), which asks whether a single final assembly is uniquely constructed. This has previously been shown to be Π^{p}₂-hard in staged self-assembly with a constant number of stages, but a more precise complexity classification was left open related to the polynomial hierarchy.
Covert Computation was recently introduced as a way to compute a function while hiding the input to that function for self-assembly systems. These Tile Assembly Computers (TACs), in a growth only negative aTAM system, can compute arbitrary circuits, which proves UAV is coNP-hard in that model. Here, we show that the staged assembly model is capable of covert computation using only 3 stages. We then utilize this construction to show UAV with only 3 stages is Π^{p}₂-hard. We then extend this technique to open problems and prove that general staged UAV is PSPACE-complete. Measuring the complexity of n stage UAV, we show Π^{p}_{n - 1}-hardness. We finish by showing a Π^{p}_{n + 1} algorithm to solve n stage UAV leaving only a constant gap between membership and hardness.


© David Caballero, Timothy Gomez, Robert Schweller, and Tim Wylie

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

29th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2021)





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.