# Physics:Digital physics

__: The idea that the universe is a digital computation device__

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**Digital physics** is a speculative idea that the universe can be conceived of as a vast, digital computation device, or as the output of a deterministic or probabilistic computer program.^{[1]} The hypothesis that the universe is a digital computer was proposed by Konrad Zuse in his 1969 book *Rechnender Raum*^{[2]} ("*Calculating Space*").^{[3]} The term *digital physics* was coined by Edward Fredkin in 1978,^{[4]} who later came to prefer the term **digital philosophy**.^{[5]} Fredkin encouraged the creation of a digital physics group at what was then MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, with Tommaso Toffoli and Norman Margolus as primary figures.

*Digital physics* suggests that there exists, at least in principle, a program for a universal computer that computes the evolution of the universe. The computer could be, for example, a huge cellular automaton.^{[1]}^{[6]}

Extant models of digital physics are incompatible with the existence of several continuous characters of physical symmetries,^{[7]} e.g., rotational symmetry, translational symmetry, Lorentz symmetry, and the Lie group gauge invariance of Yang–Mills theories, all central to current physical theory. Moreover, extant models of digital physics violate various well-established features of quantum physics, belonging to the class of theories with local hidden variables that have so far been ruled out experimentally using Bell's theorem.^{[8]}^{[9]}

However, covariant discrete theories can be formulated that preserve the aforementioned symmetries.^{[10]}

## See also

- Mathematical universe hypothesis
- It from bit
- Simulation hypothesis
- Weyl's tile argument
*Natura non facit saltus*

## References

- ↑
^{1.0}^{1.1}Schmidhuber, Jürgen (1997), Freksa, Christian; Jantzen, Matthias; Valk, Rüdiger, eds., "A computer scientist's view of life, the universe, and everything" (in en),*Foundations of Computer Science: Potential — Theory — Cognition*, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer)**1337**: pp. 201–208, doi:10.1007/bfb0052088, ISBN 978-3-540-69640-7, https://doi.org/10.1007/BFb0052088, retrieved 2022-05-23 - ↑ "Das Jahr des rechnenden Raums" (in de). https://blog.hnf.de/das-jahr-des-rechnenden-raums/.
- ↑ Zuse, Konrad (1969).
*Rechnender Raum*. Braunschweig: Springer Vieweg. ISBN 978-3-663-02723-2. - ↑ 6.895 Digital Physics Lecture Outline, MIT Course Catalog Listing, 1978 (PDF)
- ↑ "Digital Philosophy | A New Way of Thinking About Physics". Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. https://web.archive.org/web/20210126115736/http://www.digitalphilosophy.org/.
- ↑ Zuse, Konrad, 1967, Elektronische Datenverarbeitung vol 8., pages 336–344
- ↑ Fritz, Tobias (June 2013). "Velocity polytopes of periodic graphs and a no-go theorem for digital physics" (in en).
*Discrete Mathematics***313**(12): 1289–1301. doi:10.1016/j.disc.2013.02.010. - ↑ Aaronson, Scott (2014). "Quantum randomness: if there's no predeterminism in quantum mechanics, can it output numbers that truly have no pattern?".
*American Scientist***102**(4): 266–271. doi:10.1511/2014.109.266. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A373474677/AONE?u=mlin_oweb&sid=googleScholar&xid=62475a52. - ↑ Jaeger, Gregg (2018). "Clockwork Rebooted: Is the Universe a Computer?".
*Quantum Foundations, Probability and Information*. STEAM-H: Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Mathematics & Health. pp. 71–91. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-74971-6_8. ISBN 978-3-319-74970-9. - ↑ D’Ambrosio, Fabio (Feb 2019).
*A Noether Theorem for discrete Covariant Mechanics*.

## Further reading

- Robert Wright, "Did the Universe Just Happen?", Atlantic Monthly, April 1988 - Article discussing Fredkin and his digital physics ideas