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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

The Computational Universe: Quantum gravity from quantum computation

Ever since my cellular automata days, I've been interested in the "digital physics" or "computational universe" advocated by Edward Fredkin and, more recently, by Stephen Wolfram in A New Kind of Science. This "everything is computation" worldview has always been suspect because each generation tends to interpret "everything" through whatever's happening in their own epoch and yet, and yet . . . computation does have the ability to generate great complexity from the simplest underlying rules, and that's just what you want in a Theory of Everything.

Digital physics speculations have usually involved a great deal of arm-waving, so it's interesting to see an attempt to show how the spacetime of general relativity could be an emergent property of a low-level quantum computation, for example a quantum cellular automaton.


If you see a blank page when you click the above link, try reloading the page in your browser. We may be closing in on the ultimate structure of reality, but we don't seem any closer to fixing bonehead cache currency bugs in software used by hundreds of millions of people.

Posted at March 1, 2005 01:12