Posts from 2023

Remembering the Improbable Life of Ed Fredkin (1934–2023) and His World of Ideas and Stories

Programmer of the Universe

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“OK, so let me tell you…” And so it would begin. A long and colorful story. An elaborate description of a wild idea. In the forty years I knew Ed Fredkin I heard countless wild ideas and colorful stories from him. He always radiated a certain adventurous joy—together with supreme, almost-childlike confidence. Ed was someone who wanted to independently figure things out for himself, and delighted in presenting his often somewhat-outlandish conclusions—whether about technology, science, business or the world—with dramatic showman-like panache.

In all the years I knew Ed, I’m not sure he ever really listened to anything I said (though he did use tools I built). He used to like to tell people I’d learned a lot from him. And indeed we had intellectual interests that should have overlapped. But in actuality our ways of thinking about them mostly didn’t connect much at all. But at a personal and social level it was still always a lot of fun being around Ed and being exposed to his unique intense opportunistic energy—with its repeating themes but ever-changing directions. Continue reading

Games and Puzzles as Multicomputational Systems

Games and Puzzles as Multicomputational Systems

Humanizing Multicomputational Processes

Multicomputation is one of the core ideas of the Wolfram Physics Project—and in particular is at the heart of our emerging understanding of quantum mechanics. But how can one get an intuition for what is initially the rather abstract idea of multicomputation? A good approach, I believe, is to see it in action in familiar systems and situations. And I explore here what seems like a particularly good example: games and puzzles. Continue reading