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Current Essay Contest


Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
read/discusswinners

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discusswinners

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Juan Ramón González Álvarez: on 2/15/11 at 19:52pm UTC, wrote Dear Alan Forrester, I agree with you on that nature has both digital and...

Alan Forrester: on 2/14/11 at 15:37pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract I argue that both digital and analog information are...


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FQXi FORUM
May 28, 2020

CATEGORY: Is Reality Digital or Analog? Essay Contest (2010-2011) [back]
TOPIC: Reality is Both Digital and Analog by Alan Forrester [refresh]
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Author Alan Forrester wrote on Feb. 14, 2011 @ 15:37 GMT
Essay Abstract

I argue that both digital and analog information are important in the foundations of quantum physics. If it is possible for information present in one system to become present in others without being erased in the original system I will say that this information can be copied. I argue that copying is important for understanding issues like causality and that all information that can be copied is digital. I then explain that analog information that cannot be copied can be understood in terms of decision theoretic probability. Finally, I argue that these ideas can help explain the second law of thermodynamics. The arrow of time we experience is the knowledge arrow of time -- the present contains more knowledge, that is, useful or explanatory information, than the past. That knowledge is created by evolutionary processes that involve copying, variation and selection and such processes increase entropy.

Author Bio

Alan Forrester has master's degrees in physics and philosophy of physics.

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Juan Ramón González Álvarez wrote on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 19:52 GMT
Dear Alan Forrester,

I agree with you on that nature has both digital and analog features. I think that some issues in your Essay need commenting, but I will only comment in some few.

You write: "The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases". One finds this kind of statements in introductory treatises (e.g. general physics or physical chemistry textbooks),...

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