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Self organizing systems : Conway's The Game of Life

  1. Jul 15, 2004 #1

    After reading this article, I thought it would be a good research project to do for a science competition I'm planning on entering. Is it something worth spending a year researching on?

    The thing that intrigues me is the possibility of applying it to our understanding of this question: "why is the universe disorderly". Am I correct to say that without disorder, there can be no "improvements" (by improvements, I mean in terms of human affairs)? Why is it impossible to have an orderly universe? Just what do we mean by "order"?
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  3. Jul 15, 2004 #2


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    A perfectly ordered system would be in permanent equilibrium. With no possibility of chemical reactions, there is no possibility of life.
  4. Jul 15, 2004 #3
    how do we know that order must mean there is equilibrium?

    How do we know that equilibrium isn't disorder? Obviously, the universe, which is in constant entropy "balances itself out" very well.
  5. Jul 15, 2004 #4


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    I remember reading in the 1970s or early 1980s that there was a newsletter devoted to Life. I never saw the newsletter, but it sounded pretty neat. Two-dimensional automata have been thoroughly investigated by Wolfram, but you might want to look into what sort of three-dimensional automata rules give the possibility for interesting evolution from an initial state. I guess the drawback to 3D is the problem of visualizing a state on a flat computer screen or piece of paper. If you wanted to look at the state of a 10x10x10 cluster of cube-shaped cells, you would have to visually examine a set of 10 squares, each one being a 10x10 slice of the cluster.
  6. Jul 16, 2004 #5


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    SUN used this game as what I feel is the best screen saver, ever. It started with an oscillator (usually more complex than just a 2 period oscillator). Then a glider enters and works its way towards the oscillator. When the glider ran into the oscillator, all hell would break lose with all kinds of new patterns emerging. Looked kind of like a virus attacking a living cell.

    This also provided a pretty entertaining moment for our satellite simulation shop. Our simulator had two Sun computer stations, one monitoring the simulation (all the satellite telemetry points, etc) and one for support. Since the support station didn't have to be used much after the simulation was set up, it usually went into screen saver mode. We had a general visit our squadron and he took a tour of all of our facilities, including seeing how we ran satellite simulations for training the satellite operators (I was one of the instructors). Our young briefer sets the general down in front of the operating simulation station, but naturally the screen saver is what catches the general's eye. He turns his chair around and watches the screen saver throughout while the poor, frustrated briefer diligently explains how the simulator works and all the key points on the operating simulation station. I nearly died laughing (afterwards, of course) - I just wonder if anything the briefer said seemed to have any relevance to what the general was watching on the screen and what his impression of our simulator was?
  7. Jul 16, 2004 #6


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    Because that is the way we define the words. They don't mean anything other than what we say they mean.
  8. Jul 17, 2004 #7
    Your question is not a scientific question, but a metaphysical philosophical question. Science is not in the business of making absolute pronouncements about the nature of life, the universe, and everything.

    Note that your assumption can easily be turned on it's head and make just as much sense, "Without order, there can be no improvements." Without a specific context, the words are meaningless, and you can cut and paste any words you want. For example, "Without energy, there could be no improvements," or "Without change there could no improvements."

    You have already indicated what "order" means, words only have demonstrable meaning according to their function in a given context. In this case, you supplied the most basic context which no one can avoid, the context of being human. Order and chaos only have meaning because we give them meaning, and that process is evidently relativistic.

    For me, up is the equivalent of down for a china man on the opposite side of the earth. Sipping on my cup of coffee, it looks remarkably orderly to me. To someone studying thermodymics and the motion of subatomic particles, it is a complete cacophany of chaos.
  9. Jul 17, 2004 #8
    So my questions are meaningless?
  10. Jul 17, 2004 #9
    It just depends upon the context. Any question can be meaningless when taken out of context.
  11. Jul 18, 2004 #10
    Well, the universe is perfectly balanced, is it not? (please answer "yes" or "no")
  12. Jul 23, 2004 #11
    Srinivasa Ramanujan

    You might like this and if somewhat more adventurous, Emergent Realities

    How would such numbered systems arise if we had not realize a immediate consequence to quantum geometry that would have defined any method arising out of some math structure.

    Consider the marble drop as a probability, and from it, an emergent system?

    Discovering patterns

    So how would we find understanding with Srinivasa Ramanujan

    A neurual synapse that allows a extraordinary amount of information to enter yet it is based on harmonical laws?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2004
  13. Jul 23, 2004 #12


    If 1 triangle is seen, it has a tripod effect. In seeing the triangle, you see three points, and define a plane.

    If I understand Einstein, who agreed with newton, and is referenced in plank physics. Gravity is shaped like this - U. In effect, Gravity considers the plane, and therefore the triangle.

    Disorder isn't in the plane/gravity. It's in seeing the plane. There is infinite variation there in considering the human, creatures great and small shifting about, in seeing various planes. In effect What sees the plane creates disorder, right ?

    Time travel is a person saw a plane/experienced gravity, then doesn't see the plane. If seeing is perception, we percieve with our senses, perception = perception.How old are we people anyway. We travel back to a perception made previously and percieve it again. Time travel.

  14. Jul 23, 2004 #13
  15. Jul 23, 2004 #14


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    How can one answer a question this vague? What do you mean by perfectly balanced? It is not sitting on one end of a see-saw with a second universe of equal weight sitting on the other end. I can tell you that.
  16. Jul 23, 2004 #15
    The Fish! The Fish!
  17. Jul 24, 2004 #16
    How is disorder in something?

    In saying this, it seems to me you are implying that disorder is dependent on an observer.
    Time is the increase in disorder in the universe. If, as you say, seeing is what creates disorder, then time is created by seeing...but seeing is an action which takes time. So time must exist in order for you to see anything.
    I think the answer to your question is "no".

    Allow me to illustrate then. If the weak force was slightly weaker, then there would be too much atomic decay. If the ratio between the strong force and EM force was slightly (that is, a minute scale) altered, then there wouldn't be as many chemical reactions (which are neccesary, as you know, for the sustainance of life and its creation). If electrons were slightly bigger, they'd combine more often, and create neutrons and this would mean hydrogen wouldn't exist as well as disrupting other chemicals. If the strength of the gravitational pull on a star was slighlt increased, the rate of nuclear reactions in the star would increase; if it was decreased, matter would not be as we know it, that is, there wouldn't be stars or galaxies.

    I think the universe, in the aforementioned sense is balanced perfectly (from a human perspective).
  18. Jul 24, 2004 #17


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    So you're saying all force and mass constants are such that there exists the possibility of complex systems, including organic life. That didn't seem to be your original point, though. Your original point was about the necessity of disequilibrium, and the ensuing entropy-driven reactions, to the arising of complexity and life.

    As to your initial questions:

    "Why is the universe disorderly?" (Again, I'm going to assume that you mean to ask why the universe is in a state of disequilibrium.)

    The answer is simply that some initial event (big bang, God made it that way, what have you) put the universe into disequilibrium, and the initial free energy was such that there is still a huge surplus today.

    "Am I correct to say that without disorder, there can be no 'improvements?'"

    Again, presumably by improvements you mean [entropy-driven reactions (that is, catabolic reactions) whose energy can be harnessed to drive anabolic reactions and thus build up complex systems, including life]. Yes, disequilibrium is necessary for this to be possible.

    "Why is it impossible to have an orderly universe?"

    I suppose I can annoyingly answer this question with another question: What makes you think an orderly universe is impossible? While it may be true that quantum fluctuations make it impossible to have perfect equilibrium on a subatomic level, the loss of net free energy in the universe, combined with the eventual decay of the proton, should eventually lead to a universe in which no chemical reactions take place, and so chemical equilibrium (substitute in "order") will be achieved.

    "Just what do we mean by 'order?'"

    It should be obvious by now that I mean chemical equilibrium.
  19. Jul 24, 2004 #18
    Q: How is disorder in something ?
    A: A plane is a part of geometry.
    Geometry is called intersection also.

    A perpendicular vertex line segment to a plane is a variable. This is a intersection. This is geometry.

    Geometry is in a plane, and inseperable from a plane. Disorder created by a variable vertex altitude is the perpendicular line, that when the action is created by the vertex to the plane, has a equal and opposite vertex to descend too. This variable is constantly changing.

    No time does not affect the vertex altitude, not in my geometry lessons.

    We see with two eyes, mostly. They make a point of seeing. This is a type of vertex perpendicular line segment that makes a point out of seeing geometry, including planes. ~ .

    Seeing, thus perception, does create disorder. Time is created by the vertex perpendicular line segment variable, thus seeing does create time. And how can there be infinity if there is action to create a equal and opposite reaction ? Huh. :devil:
  20. Jul 24, 2004 #19
    What I said on my previous post is also part of my point. I will arrive at my actual point step by step (I find it helps people understand my ideas better). First, I'd like to go over the idea of a disorderly universe:
    Apparently, (according to my previous post) there is a certain level of order in the universe, right? As I said, if certain forces were either decreased or increased, it would dramatically change the way the universe works. There is a basic order in this, is there not?

    Something put the universe into a state of disequilibrium? What kind of state was the universe in before?

    What's net free energy? :redface:
    I concur.

    Loseyourname: Do you understand yesicanread's usage of "disorder"?? if so, please explain it to me, if it is convenient. :confused:
    Also, have you read my reply in the thread "quantum cells" in the biology forums? I am interested in your opnion of it. :smile:
  21. Jul 24, 2004 #20
    What is entrophy?

    Can boundaries when decreasing, create disorder(collapse of blackhole)?

    If energy is confined what happens? :grumpy: What does the marble drop represent?


    Ludwig Boltzmann


    To move from euclidean perspective to non euclidean perspective, holes become a interesting perspective?

    So if we consider the "energy" of the system, how dynamical could this system become?

    So you know that standard flat space is has a metric equivalent O but energy remains in the system, so how could this be(Quantum Harmonic oscillator)? To a much more complex scenario, supergravity would have to consider supermetric points.( this would have been able to describe a very fluid universe that if topologically considered, is very smooth)

    So how would you effect isolated systems like a Blackhole? Its in the way you can transfer information inside? If you do not understand this, then you would not understand sonoluminence.
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