Associative pattern recognition by materials`Software' neural networks can recognize subtle associations and patterns in complex data. Can we have similar pattern recognition in 'hardware'? Indeed, our work on origami and molecular selfassembly has shown that these systems can recall a stored `memory' by 'association' from an imprecise external signal.
As a result, we find a golden window in which systems can be multifunctional and are yet as easy to control as dedicated singlepurpose devices. We are exploring implications for new kinds kinetic architecture, protein complexes and fun new toys! Publications: 1. Murugan, Zeravcic, Leibler and Brenner PNAS 112(1) 5459 (Dec 2014) and manuscripts in preparation. 
Exploration and error correction using nonequilibrium dynamics
Biochemical reactions use nonequilibrium driving forces to correct errors, search effectively, perform statistical inference and to regulate and time processes precisely. Such mechanisms are at the fascinating intersection of nonequilibrium physics and algorithms since these physical systems seem to solve problems you would normally understand through algorithms. Can one design better nonequilibrium mechanisms based on algorithmic ideas?
Publications:
1. Murugan, Huse, Leibler, PNAS 109(30):120349 (2012) 2. Murugan, Huse, Leibler, Physical Review X 4 (2), 021016 3. Murugan, Vaikuntanatan. Journal of Stat. Phys. 2016, 162 (5) 4. Murugan, Vaikuntanatan (in preparation) 
Recognition, discrimination and olfaction

Past work
Entanglement and confinement Quantum entanglement has been a fruitful idea in many areas of physics but until recently, without much use in particle physics. We proposed entanglement between quarks as a subtle test of whether quarks are inseparably bound ("confined") in any given theory of quarks and gluons. Our proposal was validated by lattice simulations by groups at Argonne National Labs/U Chicago and ITEP (Moscow). Entanglement entropy has since found many other applications in particle physics and string theory and has become a popular area of research in recent years.
Publications: Entanglement as a probe of Confinement, with David Kutasov and Igor Klebanov, Nuclear Physics B (796), 274 (2008) 
Gaugegravity duality
