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Héctor Gianni: on 8/10/13 at 19:49pm UTC, wrote Dear Franklin Hu: I am an old physician and I don’t...

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Jonathan Dickau: on 8/7/13 at 6:52am UTC, wrote Well then, Since your essay was so short and easy to read I went ahead and...

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FQXi FORUM
October 23, 2019

CATEGORY: It From Bit or Bit From It? Essay Contest (2013) [back]
TOPIC: The God Computer by Franklin Hu [refresh]
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Author Franklin Hu wrote on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 16:00 GMT
Essay Abstract

In 1990, the physicist John Archibald Wheeler suggested that every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself can be described as being derived as part of an apparatus or machine which handles binary data. This means that the entire universe could be nothing more than an elaborate digital computer – God’s computer. This paper explores the idea that it is possible to break down all of the complex physical observations we see in the world to actions which are only binary in nature. This will be done by postulating a digital space which runs with minimal rules and reproduces the behavior of empty space and positrons and electrons. From there, the rest of the particles and fields of force are derived.

Author Bio

Franklin Hu graduated from MIT in 1986 with a degree in computer science. Since 2003 he has been investigating physics questions. He lives in the Seattle, WA area.

Download Essay PDF File

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Roger Granet wrote on Jun. 6, 2013 @ 03:07 GMT
Mr. Hu,

Hi. While I don't agree with everything in your essay, I totally agree with the way you start with minimal rules and assumptions and try to build a universe from them using logic and common sense. I think this bottom-up approach, which I also use in my essay, will yield more and faster results in humanity's attempts to figure out the universe than in using the current top-down approach. From my layperson's point of view, neither physicists nor philosophers seem to use this strategy. Another essay, by Kjetil Hustveit, also used this approach.

On specifics, if one starts out with an existent state as the fundamental building block of the universe, then it seems clear that the universe, as perceived from within the universe, will be digital, as you assume, too. But, I think it's possible that a hypothetical, infinite sized observer could view this universe as continuous. It all depends on the perspective (or size scale) of the observer relative to the thing being observed.

When you say "In order for there to be any movement in this system, there must something that “moves” or “changes”, I totally agree, but this doesn't seem to register with a lot of other people who never say how this change can occur in a physical, mechanistic way.

I also like the way that you try to explain why charges can repel or attract each other. I'm probably unaware of it, but I've never seen physicists provide a physical mechanism for this. They just say they do it by the exchange of photons, but I've never understood how throwing a "ball" back and forth would cause repulsion or attraction. One nice thing about biochemistry, the field I'm in, is that biochemists try to provide a physical, mechanical mechanism for everything that happens. I think too much mathematics has pulled physicists away from this type of thinking.

Anyways, good essay!

Roger

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jun. 6, 2013 @ 17:23 GMT
Respectfully Mr. Hu,

I found your essay to be quite informative about computer science. If I may, I would just like to make one comment about it.

As I have pointed out in my essay BITTERS, one real unique Universe could only be occurring in one real unique infinite dimension, once. Length, breadth and depth are limited aspects of the same unique infinite dimension. Abstract 1 and 0 are not unique; therefore, the real occurring Universe cannot possibly be binary coded.

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Author Franklin Hu replied on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 04:46 GMT
Why would "abstract 1 and 0" not unique? I would agree that the universe is only occurring "once". Patterns of 1's and 0's create unique patterns and I see no problem with a binary coded universe.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jun. 8, 2013 @ 02:51 GMT
Dear Franklin

Congratulations for your paper which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I also looked at some of your other papers and presentation on your website. Your research fits rather nicely in the framework of the It-Bit paradigm. A bottom-up research for a new physics theory is really necessary because the piecemeal and sometimes conflicting grand theories now being used simply do not make physical sense.

As you can see from my Beautiful Universe Theory and also from the current fqxi contest essay, I too have long been working on a bottom-up model. I have chosen a qubit spherical building block with units of Planck's constant as the building block because it describes spin and also provides a mechanism (dielectric + - forces) for the exchanges of momentum between the building blocks. Other interactions such as gravity and inertia, etc. therefore differ from those in your model, but the essential idea is the same. I know that there are others' models based on a single type of block - for example a tetrahedron.

I hope that our approach will be taken seriously by the mainstream and because they can explains so much.

I think your other papers and experiments about electrostatics and gravity are very important I will need to study them more - they are also in line with my model where I have spin the basic 'cause' of gravity something that I think you also hinted about in your work.

I am now trying to simulate my model but the "Basic!" program I am using on my iphone is buggy. I need to study python but at my age these activities take a bit more effort than they used to!

Best wishes

Vladimir

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basudeba mishra wrote on Jun. 8, 2013 @ 22:43 GMT
Dear Sir,

You start with the assumption with a digital space like grains of sand. But does it correspond to reality? In between the sands, there is an interval (we call it space). What is in the interval between the grains of space? If there is no interval, then how can it be called digitized? Your Figure 1 shows one surface of a cube. But Fig. 2 cannot be 1 dimensional, as anything...

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Jun. 9, 2013 @ 10:54 GMT
Hello Franklin,

I agree with most commenters that your effort is fundamental in approach. You may wish to compare your efforts with those of Stephen Wolfram, Edward Fredkin who propagate Digital Philosophy (check their websites) and have done much in this regard. You can also google Cellular Automata.

RE: In order for there to be any movement in this system, there

must something that “moves” or “changes”.

Yes. I agree but I propose a more economical form of 'digital motion' in my essay 'On the road not taken'. In that way parts of space need not change features to that of the moving object.

Then Basudeba asks you, "In between the sands, there is an interval (we call it space). What is in the interval between the grains of space? If there is no interval, then how can it be called digitized?"

There is no way to escape this and you will end up describing a continuous space not a digital one. As I have suggested in my essay, "time" is what separates the grains and recovers the digitality of space. In my contribution the good old 'monad' is the "grain of sand".

All in all I believe we both are on the same road and your computer expertise would come in useful to unravel more truths.

Cheerio,

Akinbo

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basudeba mishra replied on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 12:32 GMT
Dear Sir,

We think scientists should face questions on their theories and answer them precisely. This is a forum for finding the truth and not scoring points or advertising oneself. We have justified whatever we have written in our essay. Hence we are waiting for a response from Dr. Hu.

Regards,

basudeba

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Author Franklin Hu replied on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 05:23 GMT
In a digital world, there would be no "interval" defined between the digital cells of space. I do not understand your assertion that this couldn't be digitized. Everything I explained could be implemented in a digital computer. Speaking of "intervals" that exist between the computer memory bytes seems irrelevant. What intervals appear between the bytes in your personal computer? None, of course....

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Koorosh Shahdaei wrote on Jun. 9, 2013 @ 04:45 GMT
Dear Hu,

You wrote "Digital space is made out of a sea of closely spaced poselectron particles.", this reminds about Dirac sea. Do you mean this is analogous to Dirac sea, please explain further.

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Author Franklin Hu replied on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 05:29 GMT
I wouldn't say that the sea of poselectron dipoles is similar to the Dirac Sea. Dirac was trying to have a sea of separated charges or holes. This is needlessly complex and unsustainable. If you just let the positron and electrons do what they would naturally do - which is to fuse together and not annihilate, the world of space is neutrally charged, hard to detect and supports EM and magnetic fields.

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Antony Ryan wrote on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 09:18 GMT
Hello Franklin,

I enjoyed reading your essay. One quick question - why cubes? Equidistant sphere would give all points as equivalents. Cubes aren't equidistant, so in the 2D example, the result of 8 might be reduced to 6 as per Newton's Kissing Number Problem (sphere packing). Perhaps it is that cubes fill space?

This is just a query rather than criticism - I look forward to your response. The ideas are nicely thought out and your essay looks great.

Hopefully you’ll get the chance to look at my essay and I look forward to any comments you have for me.

Best wishes,

Antony

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 14:41 GMT
Hello Franklin,

Your ideas are great as I earlier indicated.

But I wont let you get away easily...

In your reply to Basudeba above you said, "All that is requited is that space come in some smallest dimension and this is easily implemented digitally". While I agree that space can be represented discretely how is this implemented digitally?

When you ASSUME two representations and find there is no "interval" whatsoever would you not label them as ONE representation? And if there is an interval what is its nature?

This is not to say I agree with Basudeba that space cannot be digital.

It is this difficulty of 'is it MANY or ONE?' that was the origin of the dialectic of Parmenides and Zeno which remain to be fully resolved.

I have my ideas for a solution. You can check them in my essay if you have the time.

Best Regards,

Akinbo

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Author Franklin Hu replied on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 14:50 GMT
To implement a simple digital space, you can use 8-bit bytes to represent discrete points. You just need to represent the properties with 1 byte each.

X location

Y location

Z location

Field property

The scale used for the x,y,z axis is arbitrary. There are no positions that cannot be represented by an integer binary value (0-256) and there are no positions outside of those integer values.

You would never run into Zeno's paradox as there cannot be anything less than an integer amount of movement in the system.

This is perfectly computable and I'm sure systems like this have been used to simulate problems dealing with space.

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Michael Helland replied on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 11:45 GMT
For what it is worth, Zeno's paradox consists of four puzzles, which have conflicting answers, hence the paradox.

The puzzle of the stadium seats shows that in a system where the smallest movements are spposedly indivisible that relative motion makes them divisible.

That in itself isn't a big deal, but when combined with the puzzle that says time can't be infinitely divisible, how can it be that time must be infinitely divisible and cant be infinitely divisible.

The true resolution is to challenge the assumption that change happens in a medium of time.

Ala Barbour, change simply happens, and time is something we deduce from that.

Put that way, there is no paradox that prevents things from changing.

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 21:47 GMT
Dear Franklin

Your analysis may not be completely accurate, but I so agree the view point "The God Computer" .

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1802

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 04:28 GMT
Send to all of you

THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

To change the atmosphere "abstract" of the competition and to demonstrate for the real preeminent possibility of the Absolute theory as well as to clarify the issues I mentioned in the essay and to avoid duplicate questions after receiving the opinion of you , I will add a reply to you :

1 . THE...

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Michael Helland wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 22:18 GMT
Nice.

Another essay that begs for a more interactive medium.

One could quite easily make a JavaScript version of your legoblocks and play with them.

I did something similar at http://monadpad.com/whatis.htm#workstation

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Marcus Arvan wrote on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 02:43 GMT
Franklin: you're not exactly the first to suggest that the universe is a giant computer. But a theory of this sort must not only explain electrons and positrons in empty space. It must explain *why* the universe instantiates quantum-mechanical phenomena, as opposed to merely deterministic laws. In my essay, I explain how this is possible only if we understand the universe as the result of a peer-to-peer-like computer network. Another problem is that not all parts of the universe -- redness, yellowness, etc. -- seem explainable in purely quantitative, computational terms. But anyway, I do agree that thinking of the universe on a computational model is still helpful

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 19:14 GMT
Franklin,

If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries, I have a month to try. My seemingly whimsical title, “It’s good to be the king,” is serious about our subject.

Jim

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adel sadeq wrote on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 01:59 GMT
Hi Franklin,

You theory is one of the better tries that I have seen that can generate reality. The reason why it seems so because it has very small elements of truth to them. My system however sort of extends your system to the real mathematical reason why reality exists. I gave you good marks, but please check my system.

Please if you have the time run The programs which are at my website

http://www.qsa.netne.net

please make sure you unzip the file properly, the code is in JavaScript, the programs are very simple. also see the posts in my thread for some more info.

you can find my essay at this link

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1877

see the amazing formulas in section 6, like this one

alpha/FSC =.007297352568, charge ^2=3, 27=3^3, m_e, m_p are electron and proton mass

M_p/m_e= (27/2)*(1/(alpha) -1) -1/3 = 1836.152654

Adel

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Hugh Matlock wrote on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 04:54 GMT
Hi Franklin,

I enjoyed your Cellular Automata version of the digital cosmos, and agree with you that a virtual world is possible. You wrote:

1. "As you consider larger and larger volumes, the "squareness" of the space will go away and any set of wave spreading from a center would take on a 1/r^2 relation as a simple matter of geometry, so the non 1/r^2 force relationship would only...

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 13:18 GMT
Dear Franklin. Hello, and apologies if this does not apply to you. I have read and rated your essay and about 50 others. If you have not read, or did not rate my essay The Cloud of Unknowing please consider doing so. With best wishes.

Vladimir

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Manuel S Morales wrote on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 16:06 GMT
Hi Franklin,

Your essay title caught my attention and so when I began to review your essay I was pleased to find your (lego) approach to be original and insightful. Although you have a different approach to the essay topic than I do, I found your essay inspiring and most worthy of merit.

I wish you the best of luck in the competition.

Manuel

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Than Tin wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 04:51 GMT
Hi Franklin

Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech

(http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/19
65/feynman-lecture.html)

said: “It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but with a little mathematical fiddling you can show the...

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sridattadev kancharla wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 01:24 GMT
Dear Franklin,

Please see the universal mathematical truth of zero = I = infinity. Theory of everything is that there is absolutely nothing but I.

LOVE,

Sridattadev.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 06:38 GMT
Hello Franklin,

Seeing the comment you just left on Giacomo D'Ariano's page, you might actually enjoy my essay. Perhaps it won't be exactly your cup of tea, but it is intended to be readable by everyone (though of interest to experts) and it actually addresses the question. I shall give your essay a look before the closing bell and comment if I've something worth saying.

Regards,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 06:43 GMT
I almost forgot..

I'll be creating a page of links on www.itcomputes.info and your ideas resonate well with that theme. I'd like to include you. So stay in touch. Mail me at jonathan@jonathandickau.com.

Have Fun!

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 06:52 GMT
Well then,

Since your essay was so short and easy to read I went ahead and finished it. It was interesting and fun. As I've said to a few others; this is a toy model at this time, and not a robust scientific theory, but you made me think. What you've constructed with Legos vaguely resembles a Turing machine. Very creative!

Your standing will now go up a bit.

Regards,

Jonathan

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Paul Borrill wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 19:16 GMT
Dear Franklin,

I have now finished reviewing all 180 essays for the contest and appreciate your contribution to this competition.

I have been thoroughly impressed at the breadth, depth and quality of the ideas represented in this contest. In true academic spirit, if you have not yet reviewed my essay, I invite you to do so and leave your comments.

You can find the latest version of my essay here:

http://fqxi.org/data/forum-attachments/Borrill-TimeOne-
V1.1a.pdf

(sorry if the fqxi web site splits this url up, I haven’t figured out a way to not make it do that).

May the best essays win!

Kind regards,

Paul Borrill

paul at borrill dot com

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Aug. 10, 2013 @ 19:49 GMT
Dear Franklin Hu:

I am an old physician and I don’t know nothing of mathematics and almost nothing of physics. maybe you would be interested in my essay over a subject which after the common people, physic discipline is the one that uses more than any other, the so called “time”.

I am sending you a practical summary, so...

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