In context of the Wolfram Physics Project, a certain class of abstract rewrite systems known as “multiway systems” have played an important role in discrete models of spacetime and quantum mechanics. However, as abstract mathematical entities, these rewrite systems are interesting in their own right. This paper undertakes the effort to establish computational properties of multiway systems. Specifically, we investigate growth rates and growth classes of string-based multiway systems. After introducing the concepts of “growth functions”, “growth rates” and “growth classes” to quantify a system’s state-space growth over “time” (successive steps of evolution) on different levels of precision, we use them to show that multiway systems can, in a specific sense, grow slower than all computable functions while never exceeding the growth rate of exponential functions. In addition, we start developing a classification scheme for multiway systems based on their growth class. Furthermore, we find that multiway growth functions are not trivially regular but instead “computationally diverse”, meaning that they are capable of computing or approximating various commonly encountered mathematical functions. We discuss several implications of these properties as well as their physical relevance. Apart from that, we present and exemplify methods for explicitly constructing multiway systems to yield desired growth functions.
Combinators: A Centennial View
Ultimate Symbolic Abstraction
Before Turing machines, before lambda calculus—even before Gödel’s theorem—there were combinators. They were the very first abstract examples ever to be constructed of what we now know as universal computation—and they were first presented on December 7, 1920. In an alternative version of history our whole computing infrastructure might have been built on them. But as it is, for a century, they have remained for the most part a kind of curiosity—and a pinnacle of abstraction, and obscurity.
Algorithmic Causal Sets and the Wolfram Model
The formal relationship between two differing approaches to the description of spacetime as an intrinsically discrete mathematical structure, namely causal set theory and the Wolfram model, is studied, and it is demonstrated that the hypergraph rewriting approach of the Wolfram model can effectively be interpreted as providing an underlying algorithmic dynamics for causal set evolution. We show how causal invariance of the hypergraph rewriting system can be used to infer conformal invariance of the induced causal partial order, in a manner that is provably compatible with the measure-theoretic arguments of Bombelli, Henson and Sorkin. We then illustrate how many of the local dimension estimation algorithms developed in the context of the Wolfram model may be reformulated as generalizations of the midpoint scaling estimator on causal sets, and are compatible with the generalized Myrheim–Meyer estimators, as well as exploring how the presence of the underlying hypergraph structure yields a significantly more robust technique for estimating spacelike distances when compared against several standard distance and predistance estimator functions in causal set theory. We finally demonstrate how the Benincasa–Dowker action on causal sets can be recovered as a special case of the discrete Einstein–Hilbert action over Wolfram model systems (with ergodicity assumptions in the hypergraph replaced by Poisson distribution assumptions in the causal set), and also how both classical and quantum sequential growth dynamics can be recovered as special cases of Wolfram model multiway evolution with an appropriate choice of discrete measure.
Confluence and Causal Invariance
Note: Adapted from SetReplace 18cae81. See the latest version on GitHub. You need the SetReplace paclet to evaluate the code from this Bulletin. Run PacletInstall["SetReplace"]; < < SetReplace`; to install and import.
There are claims made in the Wolfram Physics Project about the equivalence of confluence and causal invariance. This bulletin demonstrates that some of these claims are not correct. Continue reading
Local Multiway Systems: A New Approach to Wolfram Model Evolution
Note: Adapted from SetReplace 024c4cc. See the latest version on GitHub. You need the SetReplace paclet to evaluate the code from this Bulletin. Run PacletInstall["SetReplace"]; << SetReplace`; to install and import.
This note introduces local multiway systems and examines them in the context of the singleway and global multiway systems.
By default, WolframModel computes only a single branch of the evolution. If there are multiple matches of the rules to the hypergraph, only one of these matches will be turned into an actualized event, and the other matches will be ignored. They will not appear in the evolution object.
This, however, introduces a dependence on the evaluation order, which might not be desirable if one’s goal is to eliminate arbitrariness from the system.
There are multiple possible resolutions to this problem. One is to only consider causal invariant rules, i.e. the rules with a property such that the result of the evolution does not depend on the event order. This is, however, quite limiting, as we will be ignoring the majority of the rules. Also, the idea of having multiple possible evolution paths is, in itself, interesting to investigate.
Another approach is to consider the so-called multiway systems, which evaluate all possible ways to resolve such overlaps between matches. This is the approach that is discussed in this note. Continue reading
ZX-Calculus and Extended Hypergraph Rewriting Systems I: A Multiway Approach to Categorical Quantum Information Theory
Categorical quantum mechanics and the Wolfram model offer distinct but complementary approaches to studying the relationship between diagrammatic rewriting systems over combinatorial structures and the foundations of physics; the objective of the present article is to begin elucidating the formal correspondence between the two methodologies in the context of the ZX-calculus formalism of Coecke and Duncan for reasoning diagrammatically about linear maps between qubits. After briefly summarizing the relevant formalisms, and presenting a categorical formulation of the Wolfram model in terms of adhesive categories and double-pushout rewriting systems, we illustrate how the diagrammatic rewritings of the ZX-calculus can be embedded and realized within the broader context of Wolfram model multiway systems, and illustrate some of the capabilities of the software framework (ZXMultiwaySystem) that we have developed specifically for this purpose. Finally, we present a proof (along with an explicitly computed example) based on the methods of Dixon and Kissinger that the multiway evolution graphs and branchial graphs of the Wolfram model are naturally endowed with a monoidal structure based on rulial composition that is, furthermore, compatible with the monoidal product of ZX-diagrams.
Faster than Light in Our Model of Physics: Some Preliminary Thoughts
When the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program asked me to keynote their annual conference I thought it would be a good excuse to spend some time on a question that I’ve always thought would be interesting to explore…
Can You Build a Warp Drive?
“So you think you have a fundamental theory of physics. Well, then tell us if warp drive is possible!” Despite the hopes and assumptions of science fiction, real physics has for at least a century almost universally assumed that no genuine effect can ever propagate through physical space any faster than light. But is this actually true? We’re now in a position to analyze this in the context of our model for fundamental physics. And I’ll say at the outset that it’s a subtle and complicated question, and I don’t know the full answer yet.
But I increasingly suspect that going faster than light is not a physical impossibility; instead, in a sense, doing it is “just” an engineering problem. But it may well be an irreducibly hard engineering problem. And one that can’t be solved with the computational resources available to us in our universe. But it’s also conceivable that there may be some clever “engineering solution”, as there have been to so many seemingly insuperable engineering problems in the past. And that in fact there is a way to “move through space” faster than light.
The Empirical Metamathematics of Euclid and Beyond
Towards a Science of Metamathematics
One of the many surprising things about our Wolfram Physics Project is that it seems to have implications even beyond physics. In our effort to develop a fundamental theory of physics it seems as if the tower of ideas and formalism that we’ve ended up inventing are actually quite general, and potentially applicable to all sorts of areas.
One area about which I’ve been particularly excited of late is metamathematics—where it’s looking as if it may be possible to use our formalism to make what might be thought of as a “bulk theory of metamathematics”.
Mathematics itself is about what we establish about mathematical systems. Metamathematics is about the infrastructure of how we get there—the structure of proofs, the network of theorems, and so on. And what I’m hoping is that we’re going to be able to make an overall theory of how that has to work: a formal theory of the large-scale structure of metamathematics—that, among other things, can make statements about the general properties of “metamathematical space”.
A Short Note on the Double-Slit Experiment and Other Quantum Interference Effects in the Wolfram Model
This bulletin is a short note detailing how single-slit, double-slit and multi-slit photon diffraction and interference patterns can be successfully reproduced using the author’s own formulation of quantum mechanics in the Wolfram model. The author has benefited greatly from many fruitful conversations with Stephen Wolfram, as well as from the encouragement (and infectious enthusiasm) of Hatem Elshatlawy. Continue reading
A Candidate Geometrical Formalism for the Foundations of Mathematics and Physics
Formal Correspondences between Homotopy Type Theory and the Wolfram Model
This bulletin is a writeup of work done in collaboration with Xerxes Arsiwalla and Stephen Wolfram, as publicly presented and discussed in livestreams here, here and here. This bulletin is intended to be a high-level survey of the effort so far; a more formal article, intended to give rigorous formulations and proofs of the various ideas discussed here, is currently in preparation for submission to an appropriate journal. Continue reading