In foundational ontology, 4-dimensionalism is shorthand for a mathematical-philosophical basis for a rigorous global identity criterion based upon composition. It acquired this name as a vital part of the approach is treating individuals as extended in time as well as space, with two objects composed of the same spatio-temporal parts being considered identical. The opportunity this brings to data sharing and integration on a large scale (both within and across organizations) is that it introduces an increased level of rigour into the way we model the world. This in turn enables a step change in the consistency that it is possible to achieve in data which is critical to enable effective data sharing and integration.

Historically, some have claimed that 4-dimensionalism does not match with how we talk about the world in everyday terms, and this has led to claims it is counter-intuitive which has sometimes been a barrier to adoption.

However, recent years have seen some important advances in the 4-dimensional ecosystem, in how it fits into a wider information management landscape. This enables its exploitation, in improvements to the ways of talking about 4-dimensionalism to make it more approachable, to the formalisation of the foundations for 4-dimensionalism, to the grounding of a 4-dimensional ontology using a constructive approach. These are being brought together in the National Digital Twin Programme and the Information Management Framework at its heart.

So now is the time to take a fresh look at the 4-dimensional ecosystem - to see how it works and the potential it has to help deliver large scale data sharing and integration.
Period22 Apr 2021
Event typeWorkshop
LocationCambridge, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • 4-dimensionalism
  • Application
  • Twin data modelling
  • Engineering
  • Data integration
  • Data architects
  • Statistics