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Science Technology

We're Not Living in a Computer Simulation, New Research Shows (cosmosmagazine.com) 403

A reader shares a report: A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University in the UK has shown that life and reality cannot be merely simulations generated by a massive extraterrestrial computer. The finding -- an unexpectedly definite one -- arose from the discovery of a novel link between gravitational anomalies and computational complexity. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible -- not just practically, but in principle. The pair initially set out to see whether it was possible to use a technique known as quantum Monte Carlo to study the quantum Hall effect -- a phenomenon in physical systems that exhibit strong magnetic fields and very low temperatures, and manifests as an energy current that runs across the temperature gradient. The phenomenon indicates an anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry. [...] They discovered that the complexity of the simulation increased exponentially with the number of particles being simulated. If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of partices would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale -- where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added -- then the task quickly becomes impossible.
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We're Not Living in a Computer Simulation, New Research Shows

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  • by HumanWiki ( 4493803 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:05PM (#55293249)

    There is no viability to Pro or Con studies for this. We simply would not be capable of knowing if we're simulated as our own thought processes would in fact be governed by the same rules of the system we're attempting to prove or disprove. You're trying prove a proof by using the proof as proof. It's just an exercise in futility as any civilization or system capable of creating such a complete simulation will undoubtedly have put in to place provisions for "what if the simulation starts questioning reality".

    • Yeah, but it also rules out simulations that we might come up with, and there's no reason to believe problems like this wouldn't exist in the "real" world if we are indeed in a simulation. The fact is that simulation of a universe is kind of far-fetched.
      • by HumanWiki ( 4493803 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:21PM (#55293459)

        If you've not already watched the movie, then go watch The Thirteenth Floor.

        As complex and complicated as our Universe seems to us, we have no way of knowing how far that extends beyond it. Our Universe could be rather basic and boring compare to the reality beyond. We would have no way of knowing.

        Do you think a simulated colony of Ants in a computer system would be able to understand the nature of the physical reality? To them, their little world could be comparability very complex and decree it would be unable to be duplicated as it's just too complicated.

        • by MouseR ( 3264 )

          Or read a book!

          Philip K Dick's The Labyrinth.

        • by MouseR ( 3264 )

          Or read a book!

          Philip K Dick's A maze of death.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 )

            Just read it. It has zero argumentation for how such a simulation would be possible. Books and movies aren't real, people.

            The most realistic way to simulate a universe would be solipsism -- you only have to simulate one person's experiences, and you don't have to keep the rest consistent beyond what that person is likely to notice... which isn't much, especially if the person isn't a scientist.

            • Exactly. And if want to have a little fun with the simulation, you can have some of the non-scientist people encounter weird phenomena (ghosts, UFOs, etc.), especially when they're alone, but then when more people, particularly scientists, attempt to investigate, just reset the local parameters of the simulation to "only normal physics".

        • Ah, yes but one of the popular arguments for a simulated universe is that any advanced species will simulate their past out of curiosity. Therefore, there are more simulated "pasts" than real ones and chances are higher we are living in one of the simulated ones than the only real one. If so, the simulated universe must be very much like the real universe. So, if nothing else, this is at least a dent in that argument.

    • We simply would not be capable of knowing if we're simulated as our own thought processes would in fact be governed by the same rules of the system we're attempting to prove or disprove.

      Sure - that's what they *want* you to think...

    • I know of a popular simulation of a city of millions of people and no dogs. But the only "people" you see are the ones within the horizon threshold. If I were an extra-universal consciousness creating a universe simulation, this would be the first thing I'd think of: reduce detail for what isn't observed. Simulate the macro if there's no-one there to see it: galaxies still spin if there's nobody there to see the quantum Hall effect. Making the assumption that every subatomic particle is simulated is a n00b

    • In addition, even if we that the simulation doesn't deliberately work to make us think it's not a simulation, this still wouldn't prove we're not living in a simulation.

      The simulations we create don't operate by trying to simulate every particle. There are simulations that do this, called finite particle simulations, but they're exceptional, not the normal case. Instead, we simulate at a higher level, assuming, for example, that the motion of objects can be modeled without paying attention to the huge num

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:49PM (#55293801) Homepage Journal

      There is no viability to Pro or Con studies for this. We simply would not be capable of knowing if we're simulated as our own thought processes would in fact be governed by the same rules of the system we're attempting to prove or disprove.

      What you're proposing is a philosophical proof, and it's not rigorous.

      It turns out that we *can* prove or disprove certain statements about our universe. The fundamental fact (to prove, or disprove) is whether the universe is computable.

      Computability has a couple of slightly different meanings in the literature depending on certain assumptions, but in general terms it means that the results of a computation can be done with a) a computer, b) using finite memory, and c) in a finite amount of time(*).

      The Church-Turing thesis implies that all computers are equivalent, so the type of computer doesn't matter.

      What *does* matter is the finite limits on time and memory. You can't use real (in the mathematical sense) numbers, because they take an infinite amount of memory to store, and would take an infinite amount of processing just to load one into a register. This implies that position, if your universe has this as a feature, must be quantized in some way. The amount of information in a particle's position must be finite. Time also has to be quantized.

      If time and position are quantized, you might need some sort of "fuzzing" algorithm to avoid jaggies and other artifacts in your universe. Something like Bresenham's algorithm [wikipedia.org], or some other anti-aliasing method. Maybe use sines and cosines to represent the probability of a position between two quantized locations or something similar.

      If we can identify an effect that the universe has that is non-computable, then we could (at that time) definitely state that the universe is not some sort of simulation.

      That being said, I don't think this paper rules out computability per-se. The fact that complexity is exponential does not specifically rule out being computable, the thing about exponentiality comes from the post and not the abstract of the paper, the paper abstract itself states that the question is still open, and the paper is speculative and might be subject to re-interpretation or dispute by subsequent papers.

      It's also really, really dense.

      Whether the universe is computable is a really interesting question. Consider the resolution of the probability values of QM experiments; ie - is there a limit to the resolution one can have on a probability measurement? If it's a finite amount of information, it's kept in a finite number of bits, which means that it has a fundamental fractional resolution.

      Is there an experiment that would show this fundamental resolution limit? (Do photons from distant galaxies arrive in tiny quantized angles, for instance?)

      (*) With one possible exception, which is the overall program of the universe. The universe itself can run for infinite time, so long as each interaction can be computed in a finite amount of time. Basically, you can have exactly one while(1) in the main() of your universe, and all subroutines must return in a finite amount of time.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        Why assume that the external computer wouldn't be a hyper-computer? At most this research may (if it's done correct) prove that the simulator must be more powerful than that described by Church-Turing.

      • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionaryNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday October 02, 2017 @01:19PM (#55294101) Journal

        Congratulations. You appear to be the first poster who understands the article.

      • It turns out that we *can* prove or disprove certain statements about our universe. The fundamental fact (to prove, or disprove) is whether the universe is computable.

        Possibly, but in this case the "proof" that this aspect of the universe is not computable, it through sensor readings delivered via the possible simulation... any hard proof is similarly done through observations potentially managed by the simulation, so there cannot be absolute proof of simulation/no simulation.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        The problem is again, our concept of computability may be limited.

        But more to the point, we don't know that whatever effect we are 'observing' is actually really as complex as we think it is. We know what shows up on our displays that we see. We infer that means real exotic stuff because the most sane and simple explanation is that we are seeing data as it is, not as it is made up.

        But in presuming a simulation, it cannot be taken for granted that the data we see is nothing more than a made up thing on a

      • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @02:00PM (#55294457) Journal

        Bresenham's algorithm is not an anti-aliasing method. It's simply a path approximator for line segments. If you want anti-aliasing, you're going to have to use Wu.

        I agree with the broad brush of your post.

    • provisions for "what if the simulation starts questioning reality"

      You mean by injecting doubt and uncertainty into any discussion around whether we are in a simulation?

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Further, we don't *know* even what we observe.

      For all *I* know, all that's simulated is what I personally see. There might not even be a simulation running with any detail for things even a foot behind me. What we think we observe may not be how thnigs are. We only get input through 5 senses. Anything beyond we just have to trust that displays are outputting real data not made up stuff.

      For example, if you were an NPC in Half-Life, you might think 'there's no way we could even simulate a test chamber, th

  • by LQ ( 188043 )
    What if the programmers tricked them into convincing themselves that they're not living in a simulation?
    • What if the programmers tricked them into convincing themselves that they're not living in a simulation?

      I doubt any "programmers" if we were a simulation would be studying the minutia of an individual of a tiny species in a tiny spec of the universe.

      I'm in the, I doubt we're in a simulation camp; but if we were a simulation, the questions is what is the purpose? There comes down to two main possibilities. Research, or Entertainment. If it's research, then the simulation of the universe might be to solve a problem such as "how to prevent the heat death of the universe"; that's the type of problem a species

    • What if the authors of this paper aren't actual people, and this paper is really made by whoever's running the simulation, to try to fool us?

      What if none of you are real, and I'm the only person in this simulation?

  • ... from ideas about what is possible derived from observing the universe in operation.

    This only works if you take this as an axiom: what is possible in our universe is impossible in any possible universe.

    • Not true. They deduced it from pure logic.

      What it comes down to is this:

      A simple thing can not simulate a complex thing. That is inherent in the concept of simluation and complexity.

      For this reason, all simulations use complexity as currency - they only use it when they need it.

      In a weather pattern simulator, they don't bother to simulate people at high complexity. In a war game, they don't bother to simulate the weather in high complexity.

      Our universe has uniform complexity, EVERYTHING is complex, not

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        What it comes down to is this:

        A simple thing can not simulate a complex thing. That is inherent in the concept of simluation and complexity.

        A simple thing like Conway's Game of Life can simulate a CPU.

        The assumption is that because complexity increases exponentially, it would be infeasible to do a simulation. That assumes finite resources, like time, which is not a given. And it assumes that the simulation cannot take shortcuts like making up data or retroactively change data, which is also not a given.

        • Conway's game of life is NOT simple. The software running it is simple, but it requires an incredibly complex hardware to run.

          What is actually going on is a piece of very complex hardware called a CPU, is using a very simple software to simulate another complex CPU.

          • by Megol ( 3135005 )

            One can implement it with a few gates. There need not be a processor as such.

            If you have some kind of processor fetish the processor needed to run the software can be a one-bit one implementable in a few hundred gates. Not complex.

          • but it requires an incredibly complex hardware to run.

            Not really, no. We typically run it on complex hardware, but you don't even need a CPU if you were to build an implementation from scratch. It's an undergrad electronics project, if you're into that kind of thing.

      • by MagicM ( 85041 )

        Our universe has uniform complexity, EVERYTHING is complex, not just one thing.

        True, but most of that doesn't need to be simulated. Only the parts that I interact with are actually relevant. Everything else can be optimized away.

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        Let me ask you one question.

        What proof is there that the host universe from which ours is simulated has the same laws of physics we do? What if our simulation is a post-grad's "What If?" project?

      • Not true. They deduced it from pure logic.

        Seemingly with an assumption of a deterministic simulation. If the simulation is not deterministic, not repeatable, then a heuristic that simplifies computation can be substituted for a perfect theoretical computation.

        If I instantiate an atom out of view of simulation viewers do I need to have computed the history of all the electrons back to time=0 or can I just allocate them ad hoc, randomly, during instantiation with a reasonable probability distribution? Can I not do the same thing with a deer in the

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Well, your argument about complexity is essentially circular. "Complexity" refers to the resources needed to produce a thing (program length, storage space, time etc.).

        You can prove something is inherently simple by example, but you can't prove it is inherently complex that way. Avoiding that particular pitfall is responsible for a lot of verbal yoga in computer science. Solutions have complexity; problems only have best known solutions.

    • Suppose the parent universe is one in which computational complexity for any given problem is a constant? Or even where this particular problem can be solved via an operation that is infinitely replicable at zero or near-zero cost? Or even at a non-constant cost? Or perhaps the parent universe is one in which the speed of computation increases with complexity. We don't know the math of the parent universe. We don't even know if the math of the parent universe is consistent with itself.

      This study make it les

  • Either the aliens live in a universe where the rules are different and simulating this is easy, or the scientists being convinced of this is part of the program, or I'm the only one in the universe and me typing on Slashdot is something that the aliens in the zoo find interesting. Nobody can disprove any of that.... assuming anybody exists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:12PM (#55293337)

    There's a fundamental problem with this conclusion. It shows that we are incapable, in this universe, of simulating this phenomenon due to its complexity. However, if this universe is a simulation, the laws of this universe do not necessarily apply to the universe in which this simulation resides. We can say nothing as to the characteristics of such a universe, and therefore cannot conclude at all whether we are in a simulation or not. This merely shows that it isn't feasible for us to simulate such an effect should we choose to create our own simulated universes.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      No, it shows that we are incapable of simulating this phenomenon on a classical computer. It probably works fine on a quantum computer.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        AAARGH!! NO!

        Quantum computers ARE _NOT_ HYPER-COMPUTERS!!

      • No, it doesn't. They've proven that the problem's complexity is beyond the bounds of our universe, not just that it's beyond our ability to compute. They're saying that to solve this problem, you'd need something more than our universe. Advancements in computing machines will certainly allow us to solve more complex problems, but we're still bounded by the limits of our universe. If problems go beyond those bounds, no advancements in computing will ever allow us to solve them.

        Of course, as others have point

    • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      We are also unable to proof whether this is a simulation. The question is also not scientific, as simulation is not the opposite to reality. Assume there is a reality. What is it running on? And if you refer to physical properties and rules: What are processing them? Or how do they do what they do? In the end, you cannot distinguish a simulation from reality from within the simulation. Also it makes no real difference for a being. The question behind that reality vs. simulation is essentially: (a) Is there

  • God already has quantum computer !

  • The researchers calculated that just storing information about a couple of hundred electrons would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.

    If the simulation exists, which is likely doesn't as this is nothing more than modern Genesis religion, why would the storage be bounded by the simulation and not external to it?

    • Yeah, as another poster said above with the SimCity analogy, if the Sims pointed out that simulating their reality would require something magnificently more complex than possible in their world to generate it, they'd be correct.
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:17PM (#55293399) Homepage
    What they do suggests (but does not prove) that a purely classical simulation would require exponential size. So, nothing here rules out using a quantum computer to efficiently simulate a quantum system. Moreover, they don't give any proof of the claim, just a strong plausibility argument with an identified potential obstruction; rigorously proving what they want would be a stronger claim than P != PSPACE. Here P is the set of problems which can be solved on a classical computer in time polynomial of the input, and PSPACE is the same thing but for space, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSPACE [wikipedia.org] . This is about one step away from the very famous P ?= NP problem. In fact, their claim if they had a proof would be even stronger than P !=PSPACE because it essentially comes down to making what amounts to an argument that P != BQP (where BQP is what a quantum computer can do in polynomial time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BQP [wikipedia.org]). We already have very good evidence that quantum systems cannot be easily classically simulated even without gravitational effects like they are talking about here; In particular, Aaronson and Arkhipov's work on Boson Samplying https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boson_sampling [wikipedia.org] strongly suggests that even a system just trying to accurately simulate the behavior of photons cannot be simulated classically without superpolynomial sized resources. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that they don't cite or mention boson sampling at all. It is possible that I'm misinterpreting this new result, but if I'm correct this really isn't a big deal at all.
  • The computational complexity is undeniably vast - but it's not infinite.

    If the simulation hypothesis is true then we know NOTHING WHATEVER about the nature of the "real" universe - only that of our own. We're probably OK with assuming that our mathematics are applicable - but we can determine nothing about the physics of this place.

    So, for example, in the real universe, the speed of light might be infinite.

    This would allow computers to perform calculations infinitely quickly - and to access memory storage

  • You fail to note the elasticity of the word "sufficiently".

    A sufficiently advanced civilization that is running this simulation would set up parameters that will inhibit our cognition that we are in a simulation. It would take explicit steps to allow for us to prove that we are not in a simulation, so that their simulation results are perfect.

    This "proof" that we can not possibly living in a simulation itself is an indication of how advanced that thing running the simulator is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    True believers of the simulation hypothesis, that there exists some otherworldy all-powerful other responsible for the whole of creation, should sound familiar. They're basically those drawn towards spiritual or other woo-woo thinking, but have been raised in a technological society.

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OldMugwump ( 4760237 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:19PM (#55293435)
    At best they've shown that our universe can't be simulated by a Turing machine. But machines simulating our universe, if they exist, are not constrained to be Turning machines. Indeed, we know nothing of the physics of the universe such machines inhabit, and therefore can't say anything about what physical or mathematical limits they may face. This may be interesting in the sense that it shows limits on what *our* computers can simulate, but it says *nothing* about what God's computers can do.
    • It doesn't really matter, because whether or not we exist in a simulated universe doesn't really answer anything. If a civilization has the computational power to simulate a universe, one that we are living in, so what? My next question would be whether or not that civilization exists in a simulation.

      It's not unlike the question asked by those who believe in God, "Don't you wonder where it all came from?" Yes, I do, but that is not evidence of God because my next question would be, "Where did God come from?

    • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Drethon ( 1445051 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @02:24PM (#55294691)

      Not to mention why limit yourself to a standard CPU architecture where one CPU is simulating frames for many objects? Instead you could do a massively parallel system where a single processor could simulate a single atom or even subatomic particle. Then with a flexible network it would communicate only with the other particles it directly communicates with (even have "particles" representing parts of space for EM radiation).

      You could possibly do this with something like a 3 dimensional FPGA where x number of gates are used to simulate the particle and are connected through gates to other "particles" in the simulation. Reprogramming those gates on the fly based on state changes could let the simulation effectively move through the FPGA. This is something we could almost do on a small 2d scale now.

      Sure a lot of this is prevented on a large scale by physics but if we are in a simulation, that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about the real universe we are living in. The parent universe could have more than 3 dimensions, possibly a lot more. Now it could be almost trivial to simulate a 3d universe of very large scale. It doesn't even have to be able to simulate it quickly, who says we would notice that a second of our time takes a century in the "real" universe, or whatever time they might have?

  • This assumes the super-universe simulating us has physics even remotely like ours. It could be trivial to perform uncounted gooleplex operations a second. Indeed, a cosmic speed limit sounds suspiciously like something one might add to a universe to prevent control over everything.

    • This assumes the super-universe simulating us has physics even remotely like ours. It could be trivial to perform uncounted gooleplex operations a second. Indeed, a cosmic speed limit sounds suspiciously like something one might add to a universe to prevent control over everything.

      I remember when I was a kid with my ZX Spectrum computer loading a game... as the cassette spun- the loading graphic would slowly show... one line of pixels at a time. Sometimes part of it would animate.

      If that animation were a "simulation" it would have no idea that it took 90 seconds for it to load to "blink".

      Not that we're in a simulation... but if we were, we would have no idea how "time" works outside our universe... but suppose it works the same... one second in our universe could take a trillion yea

  • Clearly it's all part of the simulation. The computer is far more powerful than we can ever comprehend, and the devs are actively patching/updating areas that we keep snooping around in.
  • Just because something is exponential, that doesn't mean you can't compute it. Maybe our overlords have really, really big computers.
  • But no impossible for our computational overlords.

    I believed I used free will to type that, but in fact, I did not.

  • by TuringTest ( 533084 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @12:27PM (#55293529) Journal

    "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

    There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

  • Since they measured it they changed it.

  • Anyone who ever read the Well World novels would be able to reason that if our so-called 'reality' and 'Universe' is all just a simulation, we'd never know it. If true then it would be simple for the 'simulation' to lead us to the conclusion that everything is real.
  • Regardless of whether certain aspects of the universe can be seen in discrete terms or represented by continuous functions, "on paper" you can make up any set of rules and you could even build machines which would work in a way that allows to "compute" the stuff in one or the other way. Therefore, you cannot determine if this is a simulation or not a simulation. This is rather a 'is there a god question' than it has something to do with science. To better understand my point, lets ask two questions. (1) Wha

  • WARNING! This universe is copy-protected with Q-Lock(TM) Digital Rights Management. Any attempt to create a copy of the universe without quantum Hall effect will not boot.
  • XKCD: https://xkcd.com/505/ [xkcd.com]

    As long as our universe's time doesn't run 1:1 with the simulator's universe, our universe could be simulated on a TI-83 calculator.

  • The effect could be caused by the simulation. I'd wager it would be almost impossible to ever tell if you were in a simulation unless it had some bugs that were brought to light. However, much like the matrix, those bugs could be fixed and time rolled back. No one would be the wiser.

    • You don't even have to get that fancy... like in Westworld you just set some parameters for what the simulacrum can even try to understand and have it ignore anything else. "That doesn't look like anything to me"
      • "That doesn't look like anything to me"

        That's a really good point. Assuming we a simulated brains (rather than plugged into a matrix) then our software could simply be designed to remove and/or ignore what they don't want us to see or find. You could literally have an agent/bot/whatever five feet from you and it would be invisible.

  • ...then the task quickly becomes impossible.

    But that's what the simulation wants us to think.

  • As far as I know, there is no mathematical algorithm to generate true randomness. So would it be possible to write an algorithm simulating the universe? Would testing the universe to see if it is random or pseudo-random tell us anything about whether it is a simulation or not?

  • No fucking shit huh?

    When we were looking for a justifiable reason to think everything we've done was "A'OK" because "Hey, we're just a simulation." went wrong; we just had to make an article about it eh?

    Can we just finally move to a world where every human-being has a chance through "food/water/then figure it out" kind of world? I'm trying to move towards that and looking at daily news going "Seriously?..."

  • TFA misses the point entirely. People who consider the simulation hypothesis don't claim that the quantum effects are part of the simulation.

    "The phenomenon indicates an anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry"

    Exactly. Quantum effects show the limits of the simulation. They are not being modelling; they are, in essence, errors. Artifacts, not intent. That would also be why the Planck length (smallest possible physical distance) exists: that is the resolution of the simulation.

    By exploiting the limits

  • What this article demonstrates clearly is that most comentators are mostly ignorant about the subject but feel confident in deploying their ignorance to answer the question. This is great news for Man as these are great survival skills when faced with hungry tigers. Sadly it also indicates that societal decision making is now a complete lottery as we all comment whether we understand or not.

    No a simulation like the one that a computer game uses will never be able to simulate anything as large as the univers

  • It just proves that you can't simulate it the way they modeled it. One (of many) possible interpretation is that the _model_ is bad.

  • There is no reason to believe that we are in a sim.

    That said, if we were in a sim, the simulation could fake the complexity that you're observing, without doing as much computation. You can't disprove the sim hypothesis from "here" in the alleged sim because all of your evidence would be tainted.

    The sim hypothesis is just another religion. You can't confirm it or disprove it.

  • "If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of partices would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale – where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added – then the task quickly becomes impossible." - cosmosmagazine.com

    "Oh that's easy, imagine a computer that could generate that with a procedural algorithm!", exclaimed the geeks, who then

  • To do random sampling on problems with lots of degrees of freedom? I've seen it used in plenty of quantum mechanics problems. It basically gives you some kind of probabilistic distribution of where particles can be. Because obviously that can not be determined precisely.
    It got quite complicated with 3 particles after a small period, let alone billions of particles.
  • Correct me if I am wrong (and if I am wrong, be gentle -- this is not my field of expertise!), but to me this sounds like a proof that the simulation we are in (if any) is not "recurseable".

    Our universe cannot be simulated by a machine that "exists" within our universe, because that machine would have to be built within, and follow the physical rules of, our universe -- which are not rich enough to perform a self-simulation.
    Perhaps our universe CAN be simulated by a machine running in a hypothetical "real"

  • 1. There are certainly physical mechanisms that we do not understand.
    2. Therefore there are certainly machines that we could not comprehend.
    3. Therefore there are certainly logical constructs that we can never think.
    4. Therefore there are theories we can never test.

    Simulations are likely one of them. We cannot currently imagine certain mechanical constructs that could perform the simulation.

    I can argue that continuing with our current scientific approach we will eventually explore and solve #1. This unlo

  • ...or can we now prove negatives? If this is all an advanced-enough simulation we'd never know, nor could we, by design. It's like if there was an omniscent
    & omnipotent being that made all this instead, by definition of their omnipotence could ensure we'd never know. Some people can't handle dealing with that, and apparently some of them go to Oxford.

  • The universe is infinite in all directions and time is infinite. And someone believes a simulation is impossible.
  • This is just proof that the computer running the simulation that we're in does not have the processing power to host a simulation inside of a simulation. Just give it a few years. When our overlords get around to upgrading their super computer, we will see that we do finally possess the power to run such simulations.
  • To all the nay-sayers (correctly) pointing out that there could be absolutely any universe whatsoever outside of our universe (if ours is simulated) and so this proof of what's possible in our universe doesn't disprove anything about whether we're in in a simulated universe or not, there is still something important that this disproves, or rather an argument that it undermines, which someone between the researchers and Slashdot have failed to communicate well.

    There's a popular argument going around lately t

  • All this simulation bullshit's a stupid fucking idea held by morons. Why the fuck?

  • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Monday October 02, 2017 @04:39PM (#55296207) Homepage

    I will let you know if we are living in a simulation once I find access to the console log in.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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