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The universe as a computer

  1. Aug 11, 2003 #1
    Seth LLoyd believes that the universe is inside a gigantic computer of 10^90 bits, and that since the Big Bang, have occurred 10^120 manipulations of those bits
    People like Stephen Wolfram also back the idea that the universe is contained inside a PC
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  3. Aug 12, 2003 #2
    um... The mechanical veiw of physics died just as soon as plank and eistein made their contributions. I don't think it would be a machine. As in computationaly perfect. Even scientists said that the universe isn't a perfect geometrical shape (counted that we don't even know what it is).
  4. Aug 13, 2003 #3
    Let's just hope it's not running MicroSoft, then! :)
  5. Aug 13, 2003 #4
  6. Aug 13, 2003 #5
    I think that if the Church-Turing thesis is true, then there's no problem with QM. Perhaps I should change the word PC for Turing machine

    LOL. I don't know if Bill Gates is going to be happy with this
  7. Aug 13, 2003 #6


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    well, not literally (more of a comparative calculation of information processing)
  8. Aug 14, 2003 #7
    Seems that Stephen Wolfram has been hidden ten years writing his thick book "A new kind of science", where he suggests that the evolution of the universe can be described by a simple algorithm. A major result in his book is what he calls "Principle of computational equivalence", he says that it will be Newton's law of XXI century

    Reading about "Game of life" of Conway I wonder if the universe can't be a complex cellular automaton
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2003
  9. Aug 15, 2003 #8
    Nature cannot be too chaotic or too deterministic. If the universe was a computer, or inside one, or controlled by one, everything would be predictable.

    Ok, it just sounds ridiculous...
  10. Aug 15, 2003 #9
    If you don't like it take the red pill :wink:
    Maybe you will prefer keep living with the Rule 110
  11. Aug 15, 2003 #10
    Not if it contains LSD...
  12. Aug 17, 2003 #11
    computer programs can simulate relativity and quantum mechanics very well. Wolfram is a bit eccentric, but it is an eerie thought that it could all be a figment of God's Cray. Utterly unprovable.
  13. Aug 18, 2003 #12

    Another God

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    How do you know it isn't???
  14. Aug 18, 2003 #13
    Because life exists. Life needs both chance and necessity.
  15. Aug 19, 2003 #14

    Another God

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    What if the 'chance' is just an illusion created by our lack of understanding of the universe?

    It is not so easy to dismiss determinism you know.
  16. Aug 21, 2003 #15
  17. Aug 22, 2003 #16
    Who or what programmed the computer? A computer will just sit there "dead" until inputs are applied. What were the inputs? Why were the inputs? Can we reprogram? Where is the keyboard? Now that is just silly. As far as the red pills go, I had some last night and loved them. That Morpheous is full of **** man.
  18. Aug 24, 2003 #17
    What you are saying is implying that the number π is systematic, not chaotic.

    If you are saying chaos and irrationality is systematic, then I can rephrase what I said: life needs both more order and less order. To us, it makes no difference.
  19. Aug 24, 2003 #18
    There are some chaotic processes that show certain underlying order
    Do you know about the Feigenbaum constant?
  20. Aug 28, 2003 #19
    My first guess would be that if something shows signs of underlying order, it's not chaotic...

    And no, I don't know anything about the constant.
  21. Aug 30, 2003 #20
    The Feigenbaum constant is really an amazing thing
    Consider the logistic map, that is a dynamical system simulating the population of species with no predators, but limited food supply
    You introduce an starting number in the logistic map, and the outcome serves like new starting number. Then iterate the process and draw the result in a graph. It will be a curve, until arrive a moment that the outcome of the logistic map oscillates between two numbers. This is chaos! From each of the two points a new line appear but this line, after certain iterations, will oscillate another time between two numbers, that will serve like starting point of a new line that will another time oscillate between two numbers, etc.
    Its surprising that the ratio between two outcomes of the logistic map that provoke chaos , in the limit tend to a number, 4,6... that is Feigenbaum constant
    It could be simply a casuality, but now think in another dynamical system, the Rayleigh-Benard convection. In this convection, there are some cylindrical rolls formed in a warmed mercury. Then, as you vary the Reynolds number of the system, chaos appear. But which is the ratio between two appearances of chaos? It's Feigenbaum constant
    Feigenbaum constant can be found in other dynamical systems, such chemical reactions, or human heart
    It suggest that the universe is governed from a very simple law. In other words, seems like it's governed from an algorithm
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