Digital Philosophy (DP) is a new way of thinking about the fundamental workings of processes in nature. DP is an atomic theory carried to a logical extreme where all quantities in nature are finite and discrete. This means that, theoretically, any quantity can be represented exactly by an integer. Further, DP implies that nature harbors no infinities, infinitesimals, continuities, or locally determined random variables. This paper explores Digital Philosophy by examining the consequences of these premises.

At the most fundamental levels of physics, DP implies a totally discrete process called Digital Mechanics. Digital Mechanics[1] (DM) must be a substrate for Quantum Mechanics. Digital Philosophy makes sense with regard to any system if the following assumptions are true:

All the fundamental quantities that represent the state information of the system are ultimately discrete. In principle, an integer can always be an exact representation of every such quantity. For example, there is always an integral number of neutrons in a particular atom. Therefore, configurations of bits, like the binary digits in a computer, can correspond exactly to the most microscopic representation of that kind of state information.

In principle, the temporal evolution of the state information (numbers and kinds of particles) of such a system can be exactly modeled by a digital informational process similar to what goes on in a computer. Such models are straightforward in the case where we are keeping track only of the numbers and kinds of particles. For example, if an oracle announces that a neutron decayed into a proton, an electron, and a neutrino, it’s easy to see how a computer could exactly keep track of the changes to the numbers and kinds of particles in the system. Subtract 1 from the number of neutrons, and add 1 to each of the numbers of protons, electrons, and neutrinos.

The possibility that DP may apply to various fields of science motivates this study.


  1. William

    Dear Mr. Fredkin. I am a brazilian philosophy student and interested about your digital vision about nature. Specifically, my current studies concerns about ontological reductionism and emergentism. If I understood well your digital philosophy, quantum mechanics phenomena emerges from the cellular automata system of the fundamental nature, so I think that Digital Philosophy can have an emergentist interpretation. But the fact that everything in nature is, at heart, cellular automata, sounds like a reductionist vision.

    In ontological terms, your Digital Philosophy tends more to reductionism or emergentism?

    Thank you for your attention.


  2. Jeff Bone

    I cannot express adequately how gratified, relieved and excited I am to come across your work. Perhaps even feeling a little vindicated! “I thought I was the only one!”

    I’m a computer scientist, serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, once-and-future quant trader, and various other things by trade… but at the base of it all I am a polymath, autodidact, and citizen scientist. My conclusions over 40+ years of pondering issues in science and mathematics large-and-small seem to resonate exactly with the abstract of yours. I am quite eager to dig in further!

  3. Eliott Edge

    Re: Digital Mechanics Book

    Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence.  I am curious: is the 2000 “working draft” of Digital Mechanics available on your website the most up-to-date version of that particular work?

    All the best,
    Eliott Edge

  4. Alexander Vinnikov

    I am interested in the philosophy of science, and I want to be able to read the text of your site, as well as comment on them.

  5. Paul C. Meehan

    My thoughts:

    1. Time slows down a in a gravitational field because the computational load is increased.
    2. Non-local quantum effects are the result of delayed evaluation in a computational system.

  6. Craig Feinstein

    What scientific journal would you recommend for publishing papers about digital physics?

  7. Dr. Ken Mroczek


    I’m Dr. Ken Mroczek a retired psychologist with an interest in physics. I recently came across your work and believe I have some similar thoughts about the composition of the universe.

    I see the universe as composed, at its basic level, of information. A photon, for example, is created as a probability function that moves through the information matrix as a wave form. A photon or any other particle thus does not move through space, but is created anew out of the informational substructure of the universe as the probability wave moves. We then get the illusion of movement much as a line of lights in a sign appear to move as each one is illuminated and extinguished.

    So, a photon exists only as a virtual particle in the form of a probability wave until measuring it collapses the wave into a particle which takes its identity from the underlying informational space that it is traveling through. Whether this information exists in digital form is an interesting question. However, this suggests an answer to the dual wave/particle nature of a photon.

    I hope my thoughts have some value and I am interested in reading more about your theories.

    Thanks for your time,

    Dr. Ken

  8. Peter


    Dear Dr. Fredkin i used your billiard ball analogy to write this essay. Thank you for your beautiful and concise explanation at the World Science Festival…..loved your mini debate with the quantum physics colleague about the big bang theory singularity :) made my day………
    Both Dr. Hawkings and Dr. Susskind are correct that information is both conserved and destroyed.
    To elaborate, discrete particle information is destroyed over time due to entropy but the information of where, when and how the particle existed over time is essentially preserved in the standing quantum wave functions. When one wave function collapses upon observation another more complex, more information containing wave function is created waiting to interact with the next observed wave/particle duality outcome. For example, the double slit experiment with single release events.
    Information that exists as a continuous analogue form as a quantum wave function represents the imaginary component* of the information stored in what is the white hole spherical surface of an expanding sphere (as often described in the holographic model) and this wave function has no discrete singularities but oscillates possibly on the plank scalre and on the rebound so to speak for all intents and purposes this goes backwards in time as limited by HUP.
    * (please see subscript below for excerpt from the above lecture) Ref 1
    The above information is what is used by QED to “keep track” of the individual discrete particles that make up the universe and represent for all intents and purposes a physical digital (discrete elementary particles) that exist in two states until observed by or interacted with another analoque wave function.
    Now the interesting aspect of this comes from Dr. Edward Fredkin and his work on “reversible computing”:……………his quote :” In 1982 Fredkin and Toffoli proposed the Billiard ball computer, a mechanism using classical hard spheres to do reversible computations at finite speed with zero dissipation, but requiring perfect initial alignment of the balls’ trajectories, and Bennett’s review[7] compared these “Brownian” and “ballistic” paradigms for reversible computation.” Is basically identical to his billiard ball computer but we are suggesting the universe and its discrete individual particles represent a three dimensional billiard table that behaves more like a digital abacus where information is temporarily encoded as three dimensional objects that behave like both a particle and wave until observed.
    Reversible computing is a model of computing where the computational process to some extent is reversible, i.e., time-invertible. In a computational model that uses transitions from one state of the abstract machine to another, a necessary condition for reversibility is that the relation of the mapping from states to their successors must be one-to-one. Reversible computing is generally considered an unconventional form of computing.

    Now the interesting part is what Dr. Brian Greene blah blah says (wow this is going to be hard to find) (at seven minutes) “layer based on information” this is consistent with Dr. Hawkings online lecture “by virtue of that object having been there but moved on”.

    Ref 1
    In fact, James Hartle of the University of California Santa Barbara, and I have proposed that space and imaginary time together, are indeed finite in extent, but without boundary. They would be like the surface of the Earth, but with two more dimensions. The surface of the Earth is finite in extent, but it doesn’t have any boundaries or edges. I have been round the world, and I didn’t fall off.
    This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn’t have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation. The no boundary hypothesis also predicts that the universe will eventually collapse again. However, the contracting phase, will not have the opposite arrow of time, to the expanding phase. So we will keep on getting older, and we won’t return to our youth. Because time is not going to go backwards, I think I better stop now.

    imaginary time together
    Reference my original paper to Dr. Carbotte and to Dr. Cramer delta t delta E>h bar but with added components of imaginary time and dark energy
    We are watching from the event horizon of a white hole

  9. Tom Lynn

    I was struck in reading over the synopsis by a loose analogy between the tension encountered between the discrete and continuous, and the scandal of “irrational numbers” for the ancient Greeks: Chiefly, this impression arose from the emphasis placed on the need to reduce the universe to integer terms, which then exclude by definitions such numbers as pi or phi, at least under usual accounts of what constitutes integers in my understanding…

  10. Paul Donaldson

    What about Shannon’s information entropy, as in where would it fit in DP? Say entropy is always increasing for example to parrallel thermodynamic entropy

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