Is the Universe computing something?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by arfa brane, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    And does that, somewhat odd, question have cosmological implications?

    There is one immediate problem with it though, which is, what was the initial input?
    Another is, will it halt?
     
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    No, no, none, n/a.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. Read this.

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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    The first response is content-free, the second is a joke I assume, because the computer in that story is just a large one, and artificially constructed.

    But, the universe is expanding, so at least it must be creating new vacuum. How can we treat an increase in volume so we don't have a computation, i.e. no calculating or formulas involved, just a "bare increase" in volume, how would you do this? Or in other words, how would you separate that a physical change is calculable from the actual calculation of the change, and how would this "actual" calculation occur?
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It is not. You asked four questions. He provided 4 answers.

    The entire Earth is the simulation. Kind of like your hypothesis that the entire universe is a simulation.

    What does vacuum and expansion have to do with calculations, and what does it have to do with the thread title?
     
  9. brucep Valued Senior Member

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    What's the difference between more space and more vacuum? No conservation law associated with space. What's conserved is the total energy of the vacuum. Subsequently as space expands the energy density of the vacuum decreases according to that conservation law.
     
  10. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

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    didn't think the "volume" of the universe was increasing, just that the stuff in it is getting further apart.
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Calculation (purpose) is not a requirement of an *unfolding* universe. Only *iteration*.
    You need to read up on CDT (causal dynamical triangulation).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_dynamical_triangulation

    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iteration
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    If the universe isn't computing something, how do you demonstrate that with more than one word? What evidence is there that the universe "does not compute".

    Bear in mind that computation and languages are formal systems, modern digital computers are realisations of a formal system of logic, so how do you show that the universe is not a realisation of a formal system? Where to start?
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Good point.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    The onus is on you to demonstrate that there is evidence of your supposition.

    Consider arguments similar to yours:
    What evidence is there that teapots aren't orbiting the Sun out near Mars?
    What evidence is there that pink unicorns don't exist?
    etc.
    The list of things for which there is no reason to look for evidence is infinite.

    You start with the null hypothesis: assume there is no phenomenon until there is some reason to suppose there may be.
     
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  15. brucep Valued Senior Member

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    The origin and evolution of the universe can be modeled as a formal system of logic. The logic involves conservation laws which are derived from this specific universe. IE the universe revealed the logic that the calculations are based on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  16. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    What you're saying is we can build computers that can model the origin and evolution of the universe (using algorithms based on these conservation laws), but only because the universe "revealed" the formal system to us?
     
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Computation is synonymous to calculation, which requires a purposeful sentience to perform this calculation.
    What goal and for what reason?
    The question of a priori Logic v Probabilistic Mathematics came up in another discussion. I am still mulling this over in context of inherent universal physical properties (constants and potentials) v human modeling of these constants and potentials. (dang semantics)

    The first question that came to mind; is the universe itself a product of logic (a reasonable expectation) or a product of probability, a stochastic function, which may not always seem logical ? The definition of stochastic,
    I am still working my way through the following arguments:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-probability/#ComLogProThe
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  18. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    No, it requires a computer, computers are not sentient, they don't know what they're doing or why.

    But by defining computation as also designing and building computers, then that is something sentient beings do, namely us. However, does that imply sentience is a requirement of (some formal description of) designing and building a device that can reasonably be called a computer or calculator? IE only humans can build computers?

    Consider also that anything that can reasonably be called a clock, is a simple kind of computer--it outputs something like 101010 . . . or some equivalent (swings of a pendulum, e.g.). There are a lot of things in the universe that can reasonably be called clocks.
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. At least, only sentient creatures can build computers.

    Faulty logic. You're using multiple, loosely-defined definitions of clocks, then concluding they're all the same.
    To wit:
    A is a lot like B, and B is a lot like C. Therefore A could be considered C.
     
  20. quantum_wave Contemplating the "as yet" unknown Valued Senior Member

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    Arf, there is no evidence that I know of that would indicate that the universe is or could compute anything. But giving consideration to your comments and speculating, one thing works in favor of the possibility, and that is that the universe may be one big data base. Whether your view is that the universe is expanding, or that our Big Bang is expanding within a greater universe that is infinite, it doesn't change the fact that events leave an impression. Whether that impression is left in the "fabric of spacetime", or in some foundation medium doesn't change the likelihood that there is a permanent or at least a semi-permanent record; a data base of sorts.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree, but a computer, given the same question will always come up with the same answer. This seems not to be the case in the universe.
    Does that define an *a priori* logic or logical function to the universe?
    Who else?
    But does the universe have a sense of time, other than the physical limitation that two events cannot happen at the same time in the same spacetime coordinate?
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Not true!

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    I think the use of word 'sense' answers the question.
     
  23. brucep Valued Senior Member

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    No I'm not saying that. The universe will follow it's logical path whether we're involved or not. Us means us. The universe reveales the way it works through observation. Then we, us, get to couch that in terms which describe those observations.
     
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