Is the Universe computing something?

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

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,596
    Whatever gave you this convoluted idea which does not even remotely resemble anything of what I am talking about.
    I think you have an oversimplistic idea of computing and mathematics in general.
    Oh, I see, you don't understand what I am talking about, because it seems too simple and the universe must be more complicated. Only then will it be acceptable for presentation? Let's just do away with Occam's razor altogether, then we could predict the existence of Unicorns.
    I am not alone in this There is a bunch of MIT scientists who recognize that those *human* symbols are representative of *observed* natural *values* and "functions*, and that the processing of these values and functions is a natural form of computing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_epistemology

    and
    and
    and
    http://www.nature.com/news/1998/020527/full/news020527-16.html

    and


    P.S. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Tegmark
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
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  3. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Because you took our ability to write about things as evidence of those things.
    I'm not sure why you think that using a link to a discipline about how minds know things is supporting your claim that we can have computing without minds.

    I'm happy that you have found some authorities to base your position upon. However, none of that changes by belief. I am concerned with what a computation is or is not. I see no reason to abandon the definition that originates computer science.
     
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  5. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    What's wrong with prof. Lloyd's argument?
    I can spot a bit of a fudge, where he says "elementary particles bounce off each other", he's implying locality, but I would say he's well aware that he's talking about a nonlocal theory. So that sentence might be because he's keeping it simple. Otherwise . . . ?

    BTW, by an information processing revolution, he means for example the invention of the printing press, which depended on the invention of written (symbolic) language, which depended on the invention of spoken language, which . . .
     
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,596
    No, I took the ability of science to write (interpret) about things *because* there IS evidence for it.
    We *know" things, because we have observed the natural computational processes at work everyday and all around us. Do you think universal values and function will alter if we scrapped every computer on earth?
    Ok, if you want to stay in that binary digital box is perfectly acceptable to me. Nothing wrong with that. After all, Newtonian mechanics also work at a *local* level.

    I try to see things at a more fundamental level. And thank you for acknowledging that I have provided links to "respectable scientists" who seem to support the notion that the universe is a non-sentient natural computer, naturally programmed by the 4 fundamental laws (the essence) of spacetime itself . Even as those fundamental laws are natural phenomena, I my book that counts as a program, *without* an intentional sentient programmer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    What you wrote was, "Well, if we can model natural functions with symbolic representations of *natural values and functions* with computers, these values must be present in some form to begin with or we could not symbolize them in the first place."

    That is not a good argument.
    You are now defining natural processes as computational processes. If that is the rock you want to stand on, fine.

    You still don't understand the difference between computers as a set of physical goods and computation as a branch of mathematics. This does not help your case.

    I certainly believe that you think this is true. However, it is not true.

    You provided links to your authorities. I do not, however, necessarily respect them nor do I think that their statements on this matter deserve undue weight.
     
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,596
    One might argue that it depends on the potential inherent in those particles. Some bounce because they repel, some stick because they are attracted. (4 forces at work), the equivalent of a natural calculus (computation) of the inherent potentials of the particles.
    Depended on actions accompanying the spoken language, which is actually a series of grunts and clicks.. I don't need to read the word *growl* or have someone say *growl" to know that if I approach a dog and it growls at me, it is communicating its state of mind to my presence. And how does another animal *understand* this is a warning? Perhaps a few billion years of "observational* experience?
     
  10. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    5,305
    Ok, PhysBang and Write4U seem to be arguing something like, humans have invented mathematics, and built computers based on mathematical logic, but this is because humans define what information is. We can't use the anthropological argument and expect the universe to say "ok, you win".

    Prof. Lloyd appears to be arguing that humans have symbols and computers because the universe is fundamentally symbolic and computational, he cites the process of evolution and the existence of life as an information processing revolution, for example. So, the universe, via evolution, "computed" humans and their computational, logical brains into existence, hence that humans are logical, understand the universe mathematically and build computers which model physical systems like stars and black holes, is no surprise.

    Just to reiterate: a computation is a computer design, or a build or construction (which would include the construction of an operating system with its design) of a computer, or a program (algorithm) running on a computer, which will have its own design and build (in its "Newtonian" past).

    Each process has an input and an output, and information in each case is clearly context-dependent.

    There is one quite big corollary though, even quantum computers are in this Newtonian domain. The classical stuff is all the equipment you need for some quantum computation, the computation itself is localised, but explaining what it is requires some extraordinary logic.

    Nonetheless, quantum logic gates and circuits have been designed and built . . .
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
    Write4U likes this.
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,596
    Then you may want to look at Galileo's "Law of falling bodies" which destroyed Aristotle's view which had held for nearly 2000 years.
    Thank you, I do believe that the terms *mathematics* and *computation* can be used in the abstract as fundamental abilities (potentials) of the universe. We just discovered that we can use these functions in the applied sciences, by symbolic representations of these functions. If you watched the Tegmark clip, you will find confirmation of this abstract viewpoint.
    Oh I see a clear difference, I have done mathematical computing for 20 years and wrote a few small programs myself. But that is why I can see a larger scope in these concepts which we have named Mathematics (values) and Computing (functions).
    I believe the evidence supports my generalization.
    I find it interesting that you would use that particular mathematical/computational phrase in the abstract to dismiss these natural values and functions, which are currently being studied.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    An excellent summation!
    Minor correction "a computation" is not a thing, it is a function.
    I agree.
    That does not surprise me, we are entering the nano world and I hope we can confirm more of what seems theoretically possible in this universe.

    But of course, the Universe already functions at Planck scale (albeit probabilistically), so we still do have a long way to go yet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  13. hansda Valued Senior Member

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    2,182
    Why Planck's scale, at every moment universe is changing. We can say universe is functioning at infinitesimal(dt->0) scale. Our universe is not probabilistic but deterministic. Our math to predict the universe, may be probabilistic.

    Our universe must be following some basic Laws/Principles. All the changes happening in our universe is following these Laws/Principles.
     
  14. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    I am quite familiar with the thought experiment. What I cannot fathom is how you think it supports your point.

    If anything, it is an example of how the basic conception of our physics rejects the notion that anything is truly distinct. The thought experiment relies on us understanding that simply identifying something as a single object or as two separate objects does not change the dynamics of a physical system.

    But this sort of identification is required for computation. We have to be able to have distinct outputs. And the world, as far as we can tell, is continuous.

    And, please, let's not bring any more Plank scale mythology here.

    So you seem to be happy with begging the question. Fine by me.

    pquote] Oh I see a clear difference, I have done mathematical computing for 20 years and wrote a few small programs myself. But that is why I can see a larger scope in these concepts which we have named Mathematics (values) and Computing (functions).[/quote]
    You still have deep misconceptions about computing. Not all functions are computable. Whether or not a function is computable depends on a choice of symbols used to encode real numbers. What is the choice of coding in nature?
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,596
    Are you suggesting that spacetime has no inherent properties which can be codified? The natural universal computational program is based on the following parameters.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Please note that human *numbers* and *equations* should be interpreted as natural *values* and *functions*. The universe does not use numbers or equations, those are human symbols, representing the inherent natural values and interactions of these values (potentials).

    In the
    conceptual model of fundamental interactions, matter consists of fermions, which carry properties called charges and spin ±1⁄2 (intrinsic angular momentum ±ħ⁄2, where ħ is the reduced Planck constant). They attract or repel each other by exchanging bosons.

    The interaction of any pair of fermions in perturbation theory can then be modelled thus:

    Two fermions go in → interaction by boson exchange → Two changed fermions go out.
    This sounds to me like a natural computational process.


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    An example of a natural computational tree:
    http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Computation_tree

    Conclusion: The phrase *physical interaction* is a generality which does not explain how this physical interaction actually functions. (One of the previous quotes citing particles bouncing off each other was justifiable questioned as an inexact description).

    Thus *physical interaction* (such as *attraction* and repulsion*) tells us nothing about any expected *results*, but when we add parameters such as values and equations, we are *computing*. And so it is in nature. If we just had particles bouncing or joining, we would still have chaos. But it is the identification of inherent natural constants, such as *values* and *specific interactions* processed through the 4 fundamental forces, that these dynamic interactions yield a specific result, a product of computation of these action within the existing natural parameters (the Universal Computational Program).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  16. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    OK, let's address what is perhaps salvageable from this wall of (irrelevant) pictures.

    I am trying to address computation, the topic of this thread. There is no computing without encoding, this is one of the basics of computer science. If the universe is computing something, then what is the encoding that the universe is using?

    If one cannot answer this question, then one cannot claim that the universe is computing something.

    So, what you are saying is that, unlike all of computer science, you are merely defining every function to be a computation.
     
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    If you call the parameters of the inherent universal functional program as irrelevant to the OP , you are implying that those charts, which humans have been able to *represent in our language, of the fundamental parameters of all universal functions are irrelevant in any consideration of the OP question. IMO, that limits us to a discussionof the *current state* of human *computer industry*.

    But I am addressing the *implication* of our ability to build and use computers to *imitate* the functions of the universe. To me there is a very strong implication, that *IF* we can imitate universal functions with hardwired human binary computers, *THEN* to say that the universe does *NOT* act as a computer is contradictory in terms.
    Look at the links and the charts. It is computing values (potentials).
    One thing is for sure, the universe does not use a human symbolic encoding language. Universal encoding is wholly dependend on values (potentials) inherent in the things it is computationally processing and which yields a deterministic result.
    If we can imitate the aggregate of universal properties and functions with human computation *mechanics* you cannot then dismiss the notion that the universe itself uses a computational *mechanism*.
    Actually yes, but at a much deeper level than any human computer can currently *imitate*.
    Example: IMO, even *natural selection* is a universal probabilistic computational function of sorts.

    As Tegmark proposes: "the universe does not have *some* mathematical properties, it has *only* mathematical properties".

    And processing mathematical properties and values is called "computing".
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  18. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    5,305
    According to Seth Lloyd, it's superposition, interference and entanglement.
     
  19. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    Ok, we get it, you think that the universe is a "computer", and by "computer", you mean something completely different from the definition in computer science.

    This is all great. Keep using your own language. Just don't expect that anyone will be persuaded.

    No, I dismiss the notion because of the standard definition of "computation". Since you would rather ignore that, there is not much else to discuss.
    Sure, you are merely defining the universe to be a computer. That makes your argument pretty vacuous.
    By your definition. Not by the computer science definition.
     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    He is qualified to say that , I am not. I am just attracted to Bohmian Mechanics.

    Have you noticed the common use of the word "Mechanics" in all sciences to describe a recurring
    theoretical universal function or constant. In what context is that word used? Does the useage of that word imply a universal mechanical construct or action, a computation of values, a common denominator of the entire system?
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    Read the OP question again.

    You say the universe is not computing anything, only logical sentient beings do.
    I say the universe is computing everything , in context of prevailing conditions and potentials.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  22. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    Yes, let's break that down, shall we?

    The OP asks, "There is one immediate problem with it though, which is, what was the initial input?"

    The input of a computer, in the standard computer science definition, is a sequence of symbols. You want us to ignore this and instead accept that the input is a set of mathematical relationships between whatever the content of the universe is. You don't know which set of relationships, but because we can approximate physical systems with mathematics and because a couple of popular science articles have physicists using computer language, you are prepared to abandon the definitions of the mathematical science of computing and forge ahead.

    However, the OP also asked, "Another is, will it halt?"

    This is a rather hard question to answer if one has abandoned computer science and is simply defining computing as any function. Because the halting question is one that can only be answered relative to a choice of how to encode the real numbers (or some equivalent choice of encoding).

    Halting problems do not apply to mathematical functions.
     
  23. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    459
    There are only four operators in mathematics as previously addressed:

    +*-/

    ...but if we are to assign numbers to these operators we must know in which order they occur. I am writing they occur in the order I have presented:

    1+2*3-4/5=1

    Does anyone know anything about ordered mathematics? When the posted sequence is entered into a calculator the machine does the division first:

    1+(2*(3-(4/5)))=5.2

    ??? (Trying to work without parentheses (brackets.))
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016

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