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Author Topic: Is it real? Physicists propose method to determine if universe is a simulation  (Read 4436 times)
herzmeister
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October 14, 2012, 10:29:41 PM
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http://phys.org/news/2012-10-real-physicists-method-universe-simulation.html

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Is it real? Physicists propose method to determine if universe is a simulation



(Phys.org)—A common theme of science fiction movies and books is the idea that we're all living in a simulated universe—that nothing is actually real. This is no trivial pursuit: some of the greatest minds in history, from Plato, to Descartes, have pondered the possibility. Though, none were able to offer proof that such an idea is even possible. Now, a team of physicists working at the University of Bonn have come up with a possible means for providing us with the evidence we are looking for; namely, a measurable way to show that our universe is indeed simulated. They have written a paper describing their idea and have uploaded it to the preprint server arXiv.

The team's idea is based on work being done by other scientists who are actively engaged in trying to create simulations of our universe, at least as we understand it. Thus far, such work has shown that to create a simulation of reality, there has to be a three dimensional framework to represent real world objects and processes. With computerized simulations, it's necessary to create a lattice to account for the distances between virtual objects and to simulate the progression of time. The German team suggests such a lattice could be created based on quantum chromodynamics—theories that describe the nuclear forces that bind subatomic particles.

To find evidence that we exist in a simulated world would mean discovering the existence of an underlying lattice construct by finding its end points or edges. In a simulated universe a lattice would, by its nature, impose a limit on the amount of energy that could be represented by energy particles. This means that if our universe is indeed simulated, there ought to be a means of finding that limit. In the observable universe there is a way to measure the energy of quantum particles and to calculate their cutoff point as energy is dispersed due to interactions with microwaves and it could be calculated using current technology. Calculating the cutoff, the researchers suggest, could give credence to the idea that the universe is actually a simulation. Of course, any conclusions resulting from such work would be limited by the possibility that everything we think we understand about quantum chromodynamics, or simulations for that matter, could be flawed.

More information: Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation, arXiv:1210.1847 [hep-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847

Abstract
Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.

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October 15, 2012, 12:37:23 AM
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That would explain the genetically altered orange tribbles, possibly some omniscient entity's pets, seemingly popping in and out of existence.



Seriously, the OP was written so well, I understood 95% of it. Interesting theory.

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October 15, 2012, 12:48:03 AM
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Our reality is not real.

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October 15, 2012, 12:54:16 AM
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Love this subject, I wish there was a way to view what was present before any of the universe was developed ahead of the dark matter expanding.

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October 15, 2012, 02:23:11 AM
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Love this subject, I wish there was a way to view what was present before any of the universe was developed ahead of the dark matter expanding.

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October 15, 2012, 02:28:56 AM
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these people should go, take a shovel and do some real work.

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October 15, 2012, 02:34:47 AM
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Woah, this is getting existential.

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October 15, 2012, 03:21:19 AM
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these people should go, take a shovel and do some real work.

So, theoretical physics isn't "real work," is it?

Go ahead, call Stephen Hawking a slacker. And I suppose you mine Bitcoins with a pickaxe? Satoshi just wrote down some math, same as these guys. I suppose he should have picked up a shovel and gone and done some real work, instead of inventing Bitcoin?

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October 15, 2012, 05:17:46 AM
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Interesting.
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October 15, 2012, 05:37:00 AM
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Since the universe is constantly expanding as is the theory, would constantly spent energy be required to continue the expansion and where would that energy be generated from? Maybe a "weak force" of some sort that is on one of the extra dimensions is fueling it?

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October 15, 2012, 05:43:35 AM
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Too many eyes looking at things is going to crash the system. Only enough computing power to observe so much at a time.
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October 16, 2012, 05:36:13 PM
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Too many eyes looking at things is going to crash the system. Only enough computing power to observe so much at a time.

Thats what I was thinking as well (if you are getting at the same idea as I am).
If the universe and everything what's in it is a simulation, including our very existences and actions, how are we supposed to know?

Two ways come to mind (essentially what those guys are trying to do also):

1.: Go to the boundaries of the simulation.
What that means is: Anything (as far as we know) can only be simulated to a certain degree in detail. After that point either computing power comes to its limits or there is no point in making the simulation more detailed. Like creating a 3D world for recreational purposes. You cannot be infinitely precise with the number of polygones as computing power sets the limits but most of the time you dont even have to, because for most purposes a certain degree of detail of sufficient to create the natural environment you desire for your application/simulation.
Same principle with "reality". If it is a simulation, there will be limits of detail, like definite smallest particles or absolute zero temperature. Limits of whats feasible and/or reasonable to compute in a simulation.

2.: Find inconsistencies.

If we can find (and science has done so many times in its history) inconsistencies in the way the universe works, based on predictions of older theories, we can gather evidence that something is "wrong". What usually happens if some inconsistency is discovered in any theory is that it is changed and adapted to whats observed in order to no more cause friction between what is supposed to happen and what actually happens. That can be seen as a natural and totally justified way of science to approach truth and improve its theories. If we on the other hand find some "real" inconsistencies that expose a flaw in the rules imposed on the simulation by those that created our universe, then we are at risk of disregarding those inconsistencies as flaws our own theories rather then flaws of rules of the universe (what an absurd idea, right?). One of the many still not disregarded inconsistencies is the black hole singularity and also the big bang singularity, where familiar rules of the universe seem not to apply. It may be, because it posed too much overhead for the creators to completely compute those cases, so they just left it untouched and patched that inconsistency up with some exception rule. Who knows. If we look for the borders of the simulation and of what its capable of, we may find some more inconsistencies of the system.
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October 16, 2012, 06:51:40 PM
 #13

We've already reached the boundaries and found inconsistencies. For me, quantum mechanics has sufficiently proved that we're living in a simulation.

Wave function collapse? Game engine rendering at work.

Schrödinger's cat? Lazy evaluation.

Quantum entanglement? Pointers to the same object in the machine's memory.

 Cheesy

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October 16, 2012, 08:53:48 PM
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October 16, 2012, 09:04:46 PM
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Big Bang => simulation rebooted ?

* rewatch "The Thirteenth Floor" *

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October 16, 2012, 09:11:59 PM
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I bet 100BTC that it is not a simulation.
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October 16, 2012, 09:12:03 PM
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uhhhhhhh...you guys know what happens to civilizations that ask this question right?

This is not some pseudoeconomic post-modern Libertarian cult, it's an un-led, crowd-sourced mega startup organized around mutual self-interest where problems, whether of the theoretical or purely practical variety, are treated as temporary and, ultimately, solvable.
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October 16, 2012, 09:18:44 PM
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uhhhhhhh...you guys know what happens to civilizations that ask this question right?

They win the game, then get to play a whole new one.
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October 16, 2012, 10:06:30 PM
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This is a spinoff of the holographic cosmology model where the faster than light expanding universe has an event horizon boundary layer like black holes have an event horizon where matter that fall in appears to stay at the horizon to the outside observer, while the observer inside the event horizon sees matter pass as normal (some math proofs that both realities exist). If that's the case with our universe, galaxies and we exist also on the 2D  surface on the expanding universe and we are just 3d projections of the 2D surface reality.

The argument for this theory is that such a 2D surface on the bit level (the Planck scale in physics), can hold the exact amount of information needed to describe every force and particle in our inside 3D universe.

In my opinion, this is not enough for a theory, and trying to support it with statistics, is just another way to calculate the same known relation, and not adding anything to the theory. What these guys should be doing is to formulate a standard model in 2D+time space, then I would start think they were on to something. But they can't, as they would have to invent a new kind of complex relativity and quantum mechanics to describe what we know so far in a 2D model.




 
 
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Spekulatius
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October 17, 2012, 01:48:47 AM
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This is a spinoff of the holographic cosmology model where the faster than light expanding universe has an event horizon boundary layer like black holes have an event horizon where matter that fall in appears to stay at the horizon to the outside observer, while the observer inside the event horizon sees matter pass as normal (some math proofs that both realities exist). If that's the case with our universe, galaxies and we exist also on the 2D  surface on the expanding universe and we are just 3d projections of the 2D surface reality.

The argument for this theory is that such a 2D surface on the bit level (the Planck scale in physics), can hold the exact amount of information needed to describe every force and particle in our inside 3D universe.

In my opinion, this is not enough for a theory, and trying to support it with statistics, is just another way to calculate the same known relation, and not adding anything to the theory. What these guys should be doing is to formulate a standard model in 2D+time space, then I would start think they were on to something. But they can't, as they would have to invent a new kind of complex relativity and quantum mechanics to describe what we know so far in a 2D model.

Could you elaborate a little on that "we are just 3D projections of the 2D surface reality" part?
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