# The universe is a computer, life is an algorithm

**pesco**#1

**nixiebunny**#2

The world is a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bit computer.

**nixiebunny**#3

More seriously, the world is much more like an FPGA than a computer. An FPGA contains many logic circuits, all acting in parallel and not generally following a list of instructions as a computer does.

**MrScience**#4

I came here to post about Wolfram's "A New Kind Of Science," but in searching for a good BB link (I know you've covered him in the past)... I found a cached page of this very BB article, not two hours old, that *did* include reference to Mr. Wolfram's huge tome. Apparently it was removed... Usually you have links to previous articles.

**Turnips**#5

If this world computer has a finite number of bits wouldn't irrational numbers become rational at a certain resolution?

**sklivvz**#9

No seriously, the universe is **not** a computer:

- The hypothesis does not really make useful predictions
- Every time we tried to see any form of "discrete" or "digital" physics, we found, that, in fact, the universe is analog and continuous.

So, no, we do not live in a computer, unless we postulate the computer is undetectable, which makes the theory completely unuseful.

I don't understand why this keeps on popping up, even on relatively skeptical sites like this one...

**caze**#11

Every time we tried to see any form of "discrete" or "digital" physics, we found, that, in fact, the universe is analog and continuous.

can you back that up?

string theory is not infinitely scaleable for example (distance measurements invert once they reach the planck length), it could be that a discrete version could solve some of it's problems. quantum theory obviously operates on discrete units of energy as well, why not discrete units of space and time?

real-number based physics has hit a brick wall, general relativity can't explain quantum effects, and quantum theory is a mix of continuoius and discrete methods, and is obviously incmoplete. that's no guarantee that the real answer lies in a fully discrete theory, but the discovery of the planck constant certainly suggests it's something worth investigating. I've not heard much about Wolfram's approach though, sounds interesting.

**caze**#13

...doing a bit more reading on the subject and it seems to that most discrete models break lorentz symetry, something which is forbidden due to experimental results. it seems certain discrete model proponents claim they have ways around this, but I'm not qualified to judge.

**gatto**#15

no, no. you see we're *programmed* to think the world is continuous. i have it on good auhority the actual resolution is around a meter.