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Philosophical: Is the universe a type of Turing machine?

  1. Oct 2, 2012 #1
    Here is a fun philosophical question I wonder about sometimes, given that my background is in computer science and not physics. In the field of computer science, a Turing Machine is considered to be able to carry out any computation. So, philosophically, could the universe be thought of as a type of computation? And therefore, is the universe a type of Turing Machine? Are there any processes/behaviors in the universe that could not be modeled by a Turing Machine?
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  3. Oct 2, 2012 #2


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    A Turing machine is DESIGNED to do computations. If you think the universe is designed, you are on the wrong forum.
  4. Oct 2, 2012 #3
    My post is NOT related to any notion of a designed universe. A Turing machine is a description of the minimal functionality needed to carry out any computation. It is totally unrelated to any notion of religiosity. And Turing was almost certainly an atheist. So my question has no religious/theological overtones.
  5. Oct 2, 2012 #4


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    So you believe that a Turing machine does not have to be a designed object?
  6. Oct 2, 2012 #5
    I'd say a quantum, possibly infinite universe is a bit too much to be equivalent to a Turing machine with a finite or even countable infinite number of states? I don't know enough about quantum computing to know if it could be somewhat Turing-like.

    A Turing machine is whatever behaves like a Turing machine.
  7. Oct 2, 2012 #6
    A Turing machine certainly does not have to be a designed object - in fact, the word "design" is better left off from the conversation altogether.
  8. Oct 2, 2012 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    This thread does not meet the forum guidelines - there's no science to it, and it just encourages wild speculation.
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