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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

James Hoover: on 3/11/11 at 7:45am UTC, wrote Stephen, I am probably guilty of fixating on the macroworld in positing an...

Author Yuri Danoyan+: on 3/9/11 at 19:09pm UTC, wrote Digital supporter http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/946

Peter Jackson: on 3/7/11 at 17:50pm UTC, wrote Stephen Thanks for a very insightful and readable essay. I happen to agree...

Don Limuti (digitalwavetheory.com): on 2/28/11 at 18:47pm UTC, wrote Stephan, Your essay gets my highest vote. You do not solve the problem...

Georgina Parry: on 2/23/11 at 21:32pm UTC, wrote I didn't check your reference list. So you would have got away with it! I...

John Benavides: on 2/20/11 at 10:16am UTC, wrote Dear Stephen I read with interest your essay. I agree with you in many...

Stephen Lee: on 2/19/11 at 7:00am UTC, wrote Hi Alex, Yes, I'd certainly be interested. I've always envisaged the...

Alan Lowey: on 2/18/11 at 10:56am UTC, wrote An excellent essay Stephen. I liked this part: "Indeed, if computer...


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FQXi FORUM
October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: Is Reality Digital or Analog? Essay Contest (2010-2011) [back]
TOPIC: It’s Digital but Not As We Know It by Stephen Lee [refresh]
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Author Stephen Lee wrote on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 10:22 GMT
Essay Abstract

I describe some of the problems which occur when we think of the microworld as having similar properties to the macroworld of our everyday experience. In mathematics this leads to an over-reliance on approximation, and in physics to problems related to thermodynamics, problems which I see as underlying some of the weirdness of quantum theory. I explore some of the possible ways to deal with this, and look forward to a greater use of computer simulations in science, and in particular in investigating foundational issues in physics.

Author Bio

Following a PhD in Mathematical Quantum Theory, my work as a self employed programmer has included writing compilers and management training software. I have also created several websites, the most recent being quantropy.org, a repository to which anyone can submit an academic paper

Download Essay PDF File

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Constantinos Ragazas wrote on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 01:32 GMT
Hello Stephen,

Interesting essay. Since your essay deals with some of the same foundational issues of Quantum Physics, I want to draw your attention to my essay (“A World Without Quanta?”) that among other things presents a continuous derivation of Planck's Law of blackbody radiation. This derivation shows that Planck's Law is an exact mathematical truism that describes the interaction of measurement (and energy exchange more generally). I think you will find this both interesting and significant. It may even trigger some new thoughts along these lines …

best wishes,

Constantinos

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 01:37 GMT
Dear Stephen,

I really enjoyed this essay. Very clearly set out and easy to read. The sub titles helped and the very first one immediately captured my attention. You start by really setting out the problems that are relevant to the question, something that many other contestant have not done. Then you discuss what we have available in the tool box.

I think this is a very useful reference text as it contains such a lot, so clearly set out. Very accessible. I also loved the quote of Issac Asimov. I had not heard that before so it made me smile. I think it is the lack of a complete concept of reality that leads to some of that puzzlement and within that there is the "problem child" time.

Very well done. I hope you get lots of readers who also appreciate the fine job that you have done. Good luck.

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Author Stephen Lee replied on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 09:28 GMT
Hi Georgina,

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Author Stephen Lee replied on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 09:38 GMT
Hi Georgina,

This time I'll know not to do Tab' followed by 'Enter' as that submits the post.

I'm glad you liked the Asimov quote. I nearly removed it from the essay, as this year fqxi seem to be stricter about referencing such quotes. Although the quote is attributed to Asimov, I couldn't find any saying where he actually said it, (and found several discussion threads where people said they would try to find it in his works, but didn't succeed). Mind you, Asimov wrote a huge amount, so it's quite possible that it's in his work somewhere.

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Georgina Parry replied on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 21:32 GMT
I didn't check your reference list. So you would have got away with it! I also have a quote by Einstein that I was unable to find the source for, despite spending quite a while searching for it. I think it was similar to many things that he said and illustrates his way of thinking, though it might not be his precise words at any one time.I wouldn't worry about the source if I was you but well done for putting your hand up. If an Asimov fan reads your paper he/she might know the answer.

Good luck, Georgina.

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 12:34 GMT
Hi Stephen, I totally agree with your sentiments regarding "the greater use of computer simulations in science, especially in investigating foundational issues in physics". I have a background in simulation modelling and have a pseudocode visualisation of just such a program but I'm looking for a computer programmer to implement it.

Apologies, but I can't access your essay at the present moment for some reason. I'll try again later.

Best wishes,

Alan

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Alan Lowey replied on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 12:39 GMT
You take a look at my proposal laid out in my essay if you have the time. Many thanks. Alan

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Alan Lowey replied on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 10:56 GMT
An excellent essay Stephen. I liked this part:

"Indeed, if computer simulations came to the fore as a way of expressing physical theories, then it would open up a new way of judging new ideas. Expressing ideas in words can be more a matter of persuasiveness than anything else. Mathematical formalism is better, but relies on a deep knowledge of the subject to spot any problems. Computers, though, are unforgiving. If you claim to have produced a computer program which simulates some feature of the real world, then it is not that hard for others to check your claim."

Yes, computer simulations should privide a new way of judging and thinking about how the real world can be effectively modelled in a succinct and all encompassing way.

Alan

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Alexander Lamb wrote on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 02:32 GMT
Hi Stephen,

You mention you have a software background and believe their should be more computer simulations used in physics research. I work on simulations of this sort, and use them to replicate experiment that capture phenomena like basic special relativity and particle self-interference. Are you interested in having a dialog on this topic? Are you, for instance, interested in seeing an open-source framework for this kind of exploration?

Alex

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Author Stephen Lee replied on Feb. 19, 2011 @ 07:00 GMT
Hi Alex,

Yes, I'd certainly be interested. I've always envisaged the work I put on the tachyos.org site as becoming part of a more communal effort at some time.

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John Benavides wrote on Feb. 20, 2011 @ 10:16 GMT
Dear Stephen

I read with interest your essay. I agree with you in many points but I disagree with the conclusion. All the issues that you point about our actual measurement systems are right, but for example the fact that we describe real numbers as limits of sequences, is strongly linked with classical logic. Thus, what you are missing is that interpretation is the central point. Once you change the logic to describe reality your abstractions are no more valid (the continuum is no more limits of sequences). Probably within a new logic we will conceive new measurement tools more powerful. What quantum mechanics is telling us is that cannot be abstracted using classical logic and classical set theory (i.e real numbers, limits etc). I try to explain this in my essay I hope you will read it, I would like to hear your comments.

J. Benavides.

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Don Limuti (digitalwavetheory.com) wrote on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 18:47 GMT
Stephan,

Your essay gets my highest vote.

You do not solve the problem of analog vs. digital

but like a supernatural hunting dog point right at the beast.

If you havent, take a look at the work of Lev Goldfarb in this contest.

My intuition is that you two should collaborate.

Don L

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 7, 2011 @ 17:50 GMT
Stephen

Thanks for a very insightful and readable essay. I happen to agree with what you say as well as the nice direct way you say it, and your retained link with reality. Definitely a high scorer for me.

I'd appreciate your view on whether or not the treatise in mine may be algorithmically described. I believe it describes a fundamental paradigm changing logical discovery, unfortunately, however simple it would make physics, it's a little too complex for most to grasp in terms of visualising and manipulating moving variables. Would a computer cope.

It also needs little maths beyond Doppler's but needs some to be taken seriously, but I hope you won't let that prejudice your view! Do give me your views.

Many thanks and best of luck.

Peter

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Author Yuri Danoyan+ wrote on Mar. 9, 2011 @ 19:09 GMT
Digital supporter

http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/946

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 11, 2011 @ 07:45 GMT
Stephen,

I am probably guilty of fixating on the macroworld in positing an analogue universe and I do use model concepts in supporting my view though I see models as simulating discrete points in time.

Your essay is quite impressive.

Regards,

Jim

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