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It from Bit: Is the Universe a Cellular Automaton? (Synopsis)

26 Sep 2017, 14:00 UTC
It from Bit: Is the Universe a Cellular Automaton? (Synopsis)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“It’s always seemed like a big mystery how nature, seemingly so effortlessly, manages to produce so much that seems to us so complex. Well, I think we found its secret. It’s just sampling what’s out there in the computational universe.” -Stephen Wolfram
In the mid-20th century, computers allowed us to explore a brand new idea: that a discrete space, with a simple set of rules and straightforward initial conditions, could evolve in steps to create a rich, life-like environment. While many of us have played or seen simulations of Conway’s Game of Life, a deeper idea is at the core of such a simulation: that at a fundamental level, the Universe itself may be nothing more than a similar cellular automaton.
Encoded on the surface of the black hole can be bits of information, proportional to the event horizon’s surface area. Image credit: T.B. Bakker / Dr. J.P. van der Schaar, Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Started by Ed Fredkin in the 1960s, a simple idea that digital information could represent reality, and that bits of that information in different states and configurations could correspond to what we perceive as different particles in our physical Universe. Developed further by John Wheeler and ...

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