Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata
John von Neumann. 1966. (View Paper → )
At a time before computers were as ubiquitous as they are today, the work established a mathematical and logical basis for a machine that could not only create a copy of itself but also pass on instructions for reproduction. It drew direct parallels to biological processes and DNA inheritance, anticipating their discovery. This work significantly influenced the fields of automata theory, artificial life, and complexity theory, inspiring continued research into the nature of self-reproduction and its potential ramifications across scientific disciplines.