Registered: Jun 2006
The Universe as a CA
I'm an undergrad computer science student at McGill University. I'm pretty new here, because I just found out about this site today from a friend.
I just wanted to say I'm quite amazed. This idea, of the universe as an elementary computational machine, is an idea which I had been entertaining for quite some time, without knowing that there had been work on the concept. From the time I knew what a turing machine was, I kept thinking "The universe must be the largest turing machine and God should be reffered to not as The Great Architect, but The Great Programmer". I find it very interesting to see that this concept is in fact being seriously considered by many people. Cellular automatas also seem like a very interesting form of computational machien to me, which are probably more suitable for "universal" behavior to emerge.
Well, that being said, I haven't really had time to read the book from cover to cover, but from what I did read, I am in love. I always thought that the claims quantum physics make about the discrete nature of the properties of elementary particles were very good indicators that our universe was, in fact, built just like a computer simulation. Where everything is discrete, finite, and there are very real limitations to everything that can be. Virtual particles also seemed to me like they were a good indication that in such a simulation, a random factor could be used to keep things moving.
My only disappointment is that a cellular automaton mimicking the universe hasn't yet been found!
I was just wondering, however. How far has this investigation been taken? Has anyone worked with 3 or 4-dimensional CAs? Has work been done on multiple parallel CAs? For example, a separate CA for handling gravity.
I'm tempted to program my own 3D CA in C++. 2GB of RAM on this PC, should be enough to have my own tiny 1024^3 micro-universe :)
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