Edward Fredkin

Edward Fredkin (born 1934) is an early pioneer of digital physics (in recent work he uses the term digital philosophy (DP)). His main contributions include his work on reversible computing and cellular automata. While Konrad Zuse's book Calculating Space (1969) mentioned the importance of reversible computation, the Fredkin gate represented the essential breakthrough.

Edward Fredkin dropped out of Caltech after one year and, at age 19, joined the USAF and became a jet fighter pilot. Fredkin’s computer career started in 1956 when the Air Force assigned him to work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He worked at BBN in the early 1960s where he wrote the PDP-1 assembler. In 1968 Fredkin returned to academia, starting at MIT as a full professor. From 1971 to 1974 he was Director of Project MAC. He spent a year at Caltech as a Fairchild Distinguished Scholar, working with Richard Feynman, and was a Professor of Physics at Boston University for 6 years. More recently he has been a Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and also a Visiting Professor at MIT.

Fredkin founded Information International Inc. and has served as the CEO of a diverse set of companies, including Information International, Three Rivers Computer Corporation, New England Television Corporation (owner of Boston's then CBS affiliate, WNEV, channel 7) and others.

Enlarge picture
Fredkin moderated the PDP-1 panel in Mountain View, 2006. Image courtesy Computer History Museum
Fredkin has been broadly interested in computation: hardware and software. He is the inventor of many things including the trie data structure, the Fredkin gate and the Billiard-Ball Computer Model for reversible computing. He has also been involved in computer vision, chess and other areas of Artificial Intelligence research. Fredkin also works at the intersection of theoretical issues in the physics of computation and computational models of physics. He recently developed Salt, a model of computation based on fundamental conservation laws from physics.

An interesting profile of Edward Fredkin along with a wonderfully readable explanation of some of his theories can be found in part one of the 1988 book Three Scientists and Their Gods by Robert Wright.

Persondata
NAMEFredkin, Edward
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTIONFighter pilot, physicist, businessman
DATE OF BIRTH
PLACE OF BIRTH
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
Digital physics holds the basic premise that the entire history of our universe is computable, that is, the output of a (presumably short) computer program.

In more detail, it involves one or more of the following hypotheses.
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Digital philosophy is a new direction in philosophy and cosmology advocated by certain mathematicians and theoretical physicists, e.g., Gregory Chaitin, Edward Fredkin, Stephen Wolfram, and Konrad Zuse (see his Calculating Space).
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Reversible computing includes any computational process that is (at least to some close approximation) reversible, i.e., time-invertible, meaning that a time-reversed version of the process could exist within the same general dynamical framework as the original process.
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A cellular automaton (plural: cellular automata) is a discrete model studied in computability theory, mathematics, and theoretical biology. It consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states.
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Konrad Zuse

Konrad Zuse in 1992
Born June 22, 1910
Berlin, German Empire
Died December 18, 1995
Hünfeld, Germany
Residence Germany
Field Computer Science
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Calculating Space is the title of MIT's English translation of Konrad Zuse's book Rechnender Raum (published in Germany in 1969), the first book on digital physics.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1966 1967 1968 - 1969 - 1970 1971 1972

Also:
*:1969 (number)
*:

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The Fredkin gate is computational circuit suitable for reversible computing, invented by Ed Fredkin. It is universal, which means that any logical or arithmetic operation can be constructed entirely of Fredkin gates.
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California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech)[1] is a private, coeducational research university located in Pasadena, California, in the United States. Caltech maintains a strong emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering.
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United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. Previously part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1920s  1930s  1940s  - 1950s -  1960s  1970s  1980s
1953 1954 1955 - 1956 - 1957 1958 1959

Year 1956 (MCMLVI
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MIT Lincoln Laboratory, also known as Lincoln Lab, is a federally funded research and development center managed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and primarily funded by the United States Department of Defense.
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BBN Technologies (originally Bolt Beranek and Newman) is a high-technology company that provides research and development services. BBN is based next to Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
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PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) was the first computer in Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP series and was first produced in 1960. It is famous for being the computer most important in the creation of hacker culture, at MIT, BBN and
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1965 1966 1967 - 1968 - 1969 1970 1971

Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private, coeducational research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing 32 academic departments,[3]
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1968 1969 1970 - 1971 - 1972 1973 1974

Year 1971 (MCMLXXI
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1971 1972 1973 - 1974 - 1975 1976 1977

Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV
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Project MAC, later the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS), was a research laboratory at MIT. Project MAC would become famous for groundbreaking research in operating systems, artificial intelligence, and the theory of computation.
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Richard Phillips Feynman

Richard Feynman, dust jacket photo for
What Do You Care What Other People Think?
Born May 11 1918(1918--
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Physics is the science of matter[1] and its motion[2][3], as well as space and time[4][5] —the science that deals with concepts such as force, energy, mass, and charge.
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Boston University (BU) is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Although chartered by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1869, Boston University traces its roots to the establishment of the Newbury Biblical Institute in Newbury,
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Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It began as the Carnegie Technical Schools, founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900. In 1912, the school became Carnegie Institute of Technology and began granting four-year degrees.
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Information International, Inc., commonly referred to as Triple-I or III, was a computer technology company, particularly noted for early work in computer animation done by the Motion Pictures Product Group.
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Three Rivers Computer

Private
Founded Pennsylvania (1974)
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Key people Brian Rosen
Industry Computer hardware and software
Products Graphics workstation
Employees 150 (1985)

The
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Boston, Massachusetts

Flag
Seal
Nickname: Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe), The Cradle of Liberty, City on the Hill, Athens of America
Location in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, USA
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CBS Broadcasting, Inc. (CBS)

Type Broadcast radio network and
television network
Country  United States
Availability    National; also available in  Canada,  Mexico, and the Caribbean
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trie, or prefix tree, is an ordered tree data structure that is used to store an associative array where the keys are usually strings. Unlike a binary search tree, no node in the tree stores the key associated with that node; instead, its position in the tree shows what key
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The Fredkin gate is computational circuit suitable for reversible computing, invented by Ed Fredkin. It is universal, which means that any logical or arithmetic operation can be constructed entirely of Fredkin gates.
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billiard ball computer as in [1] is an idealized model of a computing machine based on Newtonian dynamics. Instead of using electronic signals like a conventional computer, it relies on the motion of spherical billiard balls in a friction-free environment made
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