Toward a Formal Foundation for Time Travel in Stories and Games

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9660)


Time-travel is a popular topic not only in science fiction, but in physics as well, especially when it concerns the notion of “changing the past”. It turns out that if time-travel exists, it will follow certain logical rules. In this paper we apply the tools of discrete mathematics to two such sets of rules from theoretical physics: the Novikov Self Consistency Principle and the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Using temporal logic, we can encode the dynamics of a time-travel story or game, and model-check them for adherence to the rules. We also present the first ever game-engine following these rules, allowing the development of technically accurate time-travel games.


Time Travel Temporal Logic Causality Chain Kripke Structure Causality Diagram 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiteit LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Centrum voor Wiskunde En InformaticaAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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