# Has James Gates Discovered Computer Code in String Theory Equations?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by khan, May 6, 2012.

1. ### khanRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
130
Is physical reality ultimately constructed of computer code? :shrug:

http://www.transcend.ws/?p=3020

http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.0051

Which leads to the spooky idea that our universe is a computer simulation...

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Simulation_argument

2. ### XoticaEveryday I’m ShufflinRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
456
Most Cosmologists acknowledge the plausible (yet not probable) possibility that we exist in a computer-generated universe.

3. ### AlphaNumericFully ionizedModerator

Messages:
6,697
I don't know why you're singling out cosmologists because all scientists would admit we cannot disprove that notion but that's a long way from saying it's plausible. Atheists acknowledge they (we) cannot prove there is no deity or deities but that doesn't mean we consider the notion to be plausible.

As for the work in question he's dealing with spinor structures, specifically spin 1/2 structures so you get binary representations naturally. This $\pm \frac{1}{2}$ structure can be written as 0,1 structure instead, so it's not like binary representations are unknown things in physics. In this case it happens the particular spinor constructs he's considering also can be put in a graph structure. Again, this is not a new concept, using graphs to represent decompositions of algebras is a centuries old procedure, known to anyone studying theoretical physics, particularly gauge theory. In this case the graph structure happens to be equivalent to error correcting code.

It's important not to fall into the trap of confirmation bias. As I said, there's many many years of physics involving graph structures, spinors, decompositions and symmetries. It's not terribly shocking that at some point someone comes across a structure which has been seen elsewhere. Saying "Wow, this is clear justification for the Matrix view of the universe!" is a bit like me asking someone to think of a number between 1 and 1000, trying to guess it and when I finally guess right after many failed tries I declare it evidence I'm telepathic.

Part of being a good mathematician is noticing structures which link seemingly different concepts. Realising "Oh, if I just write this like that then it becomes a well known expression whose solutions are known" is something every mathematician will do at some point in their research. In this case it's connected error correcting code with string theory and so people have started reading all sorts of things from it.

If this is reason to consider the universe as just a computer simulation can we therefore use the same reasoning to say the thousands of things not related to computer programming in string theory are pieces of evidence against that notion? Because if we can't then you're making a logical fallacy.

4. ### XoticaEveryday I’m ShufflinRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
456
Definition of PLAUSIBLE
1 :superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious

The notion is indeed plausible, albeit fantastical.

5. ### khanRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
130
Math and reality ...what is the connection?

http://arxiv.org/abs/0704.0646

6. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,971
How many scientists have claimed the universe computes? What does it mean?

Does it just underline that any information we record (or observe) is the result of some physical process which can be argued is like an algorithm? Why do scientists balk at the idea of the universe (and all the information in it) being algorithmic? Or why do they mostly take the view that such a claim is somehow "lowering" the status of physical theories, to "just a computer simulation", isn't that like saying "the universe is just a universe"? Well, yeah, I guess that's what it is, just a universe. Maybe only just . . .

It seems a bit contrary: every physical equation I've ever seen is arguably algorithmic, it describes what happens to a given input, or what some physical system does to an input--it either gives an output or perhaps goes into a nonterminating loop of some kind.

7. ### AlphaNumericFully ionizedModerator

Messages:
6,697
It depends on how far you take it. Someone like Wolfram (of Mathematica fame) believes the universe is, at it's most basic, a cellular automaton which is computing the passage of time. This is a somewhat extreme view lacking justification. On the other hand the rules of the universe do seem to be consistent and allow for systems to be set up and then just allowed to evolve under said rules to then spit out some 'answer' to a question encoded within the initial conditions. This is precisely what a computer does, we set up all the electrons and silicon to compute a new state from which we extract an answer. Using this we can even compute the answer to some set of equations which we model the universe (or some part of it) by, so you could argue that the universe itself computes the exact answer to such questions as it evolves in time. The reason a lot of scientists don't like phrasing it that way is that it seems to imply there's some kind of intent behind the universe doing what it does, ie what or who is asking the questions or that the universe isn't just doing whatever it is it does but actually 'computing' something. For example, when I jump in the air I don't have to compute the acceleration imparted on me by my leg muscles so I can compute how high to rise, it just happens. I can indeed make a machine or some algorithm for me to do in my head which will compute those answers but the universe doesn't compute "You will rise 0.442 metres in the air", things just bounce off one another, interact, exchange energy and momentum etc and that's it.

So while anyone doing physics is obviously implementing an algorithm to allow them to determine the outcome of some set of dynamics based on initial conditions saying the universe computes is saying something else and it's that scientists don't like the connotations of.

8. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,971
You're missing something here, I think.
You're implying that "compute" how high you rise when you jump in the air means "return an answer in metres" say, but despite that your height above the ground still changes. The change (whatever you want to call it, or however you measure it) is the output.
That is, the height your body rises above the ground is the output "computed" by the energy you impart to it, via leg muscles, a bungy cord or whatever. You know your height changes because you experience the change, so you therefore "measure" the output, you don't need to specify it in metres or any other standard.

So the universe does compute that you will rise in the air; that it doesn't "tell" you what that is in some arbitrary measurement standard is clearly irrelevant.

But:
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

Last edited: May 9, 2012
9. ### CyperiumI'm always meValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,981
I agree with AlphaNumeric, I think that it is a coincidence. Sort of like the Bible codes found in the Bible, that it correlates to known codes doesn't mean that it was intentionally put there or that they even function the way they function in computers. If they do function as error-correcting methods in reality then you might be on to something though but I don't see from the quote that this is the case.

Another explanation could be that the theory is, in fact, man-made and structures could have been put there that are borrowed from other fields (such as the technology of computers), that a theory works to describe reality doesn't mean that all the structures within the theory has to apply to structures in reality. In fact, if the theory auto-corrects itself through those structures then it could be a indication that it is false.

10. ### riverValued Senior Member

Messages:
4,704
mathematics

it can prove anything it wants

so is string theory the of everything ?

11. ### ChipzBannedBanned

Messages:
838
Well said, Alphanumeric. It still is fundamentally remarkable that our mathematical observation mimic the microcosms we create. The question which is more genuinely remarkable (in my view). Is this observer bias? Or is our fundamental human experience merely a replica of our physical reality? Both solution's are remarkable, but for greatly different reasons.