But what about in a network? But that’s a risk you take when you do a project where in effect nature decides what’s right. ... put them in the dishwasher, and marinate in them. And to understand this, we have to do something a bit similar to what Einstein did in formulating Special Relativity: we have to make a more realistic model of what an “observer” can be. Because everything is just defined by connections. In the usual formulation of physics, space is a backdrop, on top of which all the particles, or strings, or whatever, exist. The whole situation threatens to become paradoxical. Even when we understand, most of the time it’s exhausting to constantly be speaking in a different language. And though it was described in simple language rather than physics-speak, I managed to cover the highlights of it in Chapter 9 of the book—giving some of the technical details in the notes at the back. OK, so let’s say that underneath space there’s a network. Maybe one should wait until computers are bigger and faster. Ultimately, the perspective of the original, stationary camera (which will witness a plethora of things coming and going and moving about)  can also be analyzed from the perspective of someone moving along at a steady rate. Take the simple case of a rod with a light signal bouncing back and forth between its ends.Nowdescribe the same system from a different frame of reference.Recall how tough it is to keep track of events at the ends of the rod. And neither can Stephen Hawking. And some of my friends will come right out and say, “I hope you don’t succeed, because then all that work we’ve done is wasted.” Well, yes, some work will be wasted. Why do something abstract and theoretical when you can do something practical to change the world?”, There’s also a third class of responses, which I suppose my knowledge of the history of science should make me expect. When our emotions are high, we revert back to our own language. Maybe all that has to exist in the universe is the network, and then the matter in the universe just corresponds to particular features of this network. We have observed that Space-time stretched, compressed, and just wiggles. The first is simply, “You’ve got to do it!” They say that the project is the most exciting and important thing one can imagine, and they can’t see why I’d wait another day before starting on it. If one could discover a simple computational basis for our universe from which all physics emerges it would be stunning, and pursuing it seems more important than anything else you could work on! That’s the sense in which I would call consciousness “emergent” from simpler underlying causes. As it happens, in his later years, Einstein was quite enamored of this idea. Or they effectively have an infinite number of dimensions. The interconnection required to achieve these features is important, but leaves the question” what is Kevin’s basic “knot”. Wonderful post. OK, so it’s conceivable that some network-based model might be able to reproduce things from current physics. Physics at the end of the nineteenth century found itself in crisis:there were perfectly good theories of mechanics (Newton) and electromagnetism(Maxwell), but they did not seem to agree. What about all the electrons, and quarks and photons, and so on? Recently I've become randomly interested in time space continuum stuff but lack the brainpower to comprehend it. And I’m hoping that before too many more anniversaries of General Relativity have gone by we’ll finally know what spacetime really is. I don't understand by popnauts: Listen to songs by popnauts on Myspace, a place where people come to connect, discover, and share. I, too, suspect that spacetime, like consciousness or people in a simulation, emerges from a separate underlying reality which operates like a network. In this video, Andrew Pontzen and Tom Whyntie go through the basics of space and time individually. So then the question arises: could one of these simple programs in the computational universe actually be the program for our physical universe? In the abstract it’s far from obvious that there should be a simple, ultimate theory of our universe. Or certain areas of mathematics have advanced further. I get three dramatically different kinds of responses. But what I discovered is that in the computational universe even extremely simple programs can actually show behavior as complex as anything (a fact embodied in my general Principle of Computational Equivalence). Sean Carroll: I'm trying to understand how time works. Because there’s a theorem (Bell’s Theorem) that says that unless there’s instantaneous non-local propagation of information, no such “hidden variables” model can reproduce the quantum mechanical results that are observed experimentally. There’ll be useful support from existing fields. And then one just has to say that the history of the universe corresponds to some particular spacetime network (or family of networks). It’s defined by our universe. It is not too much to ask for a time when he will be open to connecting post-retreat. I just don't understand the purpose of the bottom number in the time signature if, for example 4/4 is telling me the crotchet is the kind of beat, and yet crotchets don't need to be used. In a sense, though, this was always just a hobby, done alongside my “day job” of leading our company and its technology development. I think this is pretty exciting. A network—or graph—just consists of a bunch of nodes, joined by connections. Sci-fi movies people still don't understand By Nolan Moore / Nov. 2, 2018 1:13 pm EST In 1902, Georges Melies released A Trip to the Moon , and ever since then, science fiction has been one of … Because if there’s a discrete network “underneath” space, then Euclid’s assumptions about points and lines that can exist anywhere in space simply aren’t correct. ... Mass-space-time, charge-space-time I’ve been thinking about the physics of space and time for a little more than 40 years now. As I write this, I realize how easily I still fall into technical “physics speak”. A few things are perhaps worth mentioning here. By the time I started doing physics in the 1970s, nobody really talked about discreteness of space anymore, and it was experimentally known that there wasn’t discreteness down to about 10-18 meters (1/1000 the radius of a proton, or 1 attometer). So could this be what space is made of? Like being able to visualize large evolving sequences of graphs. Where Did Combinators Come From? I would like to see a non-probabilistic network that can simulate Shrödinger wave functions and their interactions. As we all know, Space is where things happen. Also wondering why the most fundamental nature of the universe should be discreet at all? In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. I’m sure it’ll need abstract graph theory, modern geometry and probably group theory and other kinds of abstract algebra too. And one has to understand how the large-scale limits of networks work. So when they think about what I’ve been working on, it seems quite alien—like it isn’t really physics. And in fact, much as I like General Relativity as an abstract theory, I’ve come to suspect it may actually have led us on a century-long detour in understanding the true nature of space and time. Yes, one can find rules that give behavior which on a large scale doesn’t show obvious signs of the lattice. Now, do you want to see these two concepts, and the connections between space and time (spacetime), explained by two adorably dorky scientists? Simple as the experiment may sound, it set off a debate about the nature of space, time, motion, acceleration, and force that continues to this day. So here’s the final result. But the good news is that an incredible range of systems, even with extremely simple rules, work a bit like the digits of pi, and generate what seems for all practical purposes random. Suggest trying out your network theory using a point of this character. It’s going to need both good scientists and good technologists. Of course I don’t know how difficult the project is, or whether it will even work at all. It’s a complex project, that’ll need not just me, but a diverse team of talented other people too. Even more confusing, we sometimes choose to be away from people we really like. Here, as I figured out in the mid-1990s, something exciting happens: as soon as there’s causal invariance, it basically follows that there’ll be Special Relativity on a large scale. Would it be as long as the human genome, or as the code for an operating system? I suggest the the single bit of matter is created in this manner. This conceptual circularity creates weird mathematical difficulties. By 2005 it was clear that it was indeed possible, and so I decided to devote myself to actually doing it. Or would it be much, much smaller? An advanced civilization’s TV might actually be a running program in which the “people” in the TV live out their lives but cannot inspect the CRT or LED’s or whatever which are outputting them and, indeed, dictating every moment of their lives. And until we actually find a serious candidate rule for our universe, it’s probably not worth discussing these things much. And for about a century, physics has pretty much just assumed that spacetime is a thing, and that space and time aren’t in any fundamental way different. But over the course of that decade, I haven’t been doing physics. Just start from a node, then look at all nodes that are up to r connections away. Time is the fundamental here and space, the emergent. I accumulated the equivalent of thousands of pages of results, and was gradually beginning to get an understanding of the basic science of what systems based on networks can do. The ideas in this post have been developed much further in the Wolfram Physics Project, which you can read more about in the project announcement. Sunny Singh: I’m not a star son, so I don’t understand that space well bollywood Updated: Oct 05, 2020, 16:59 IST But in thinking about space as a network, there’s a related idea: maybe particles just correspond to particular structures in the network. An object that feels no force should travel at a constant speed. I’m actually not too worried about this. Here’s a handy animation that shows you what this looks like. Einstein had landed inside a paradox. (Certainly that would be a pleasant change from the distraction-avoiding hermit mode in which I worked on A New Kind of Science for a decade.). A hundred years ago today Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity—a brilliant, elegant theory that has survived a century, and provides the only successful way we have of describing spacetime. At first, it didn’t seem too promising, not least because the models that I’d particularly been studying (cellular automata) seemed to work in a way that was completely inconsistent with what I knew from physics. But by the time one’s reproducing all the seemingly arbitrary masses of particles, and other known features of physics, one will be pretty sure one has the correct theory. It’s easy to see that there are networks that on a large scale seem, say, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional. If you haven't already noticed, thesemotions can become rather complicated to visualize. So does that mean one would immediately be able to figure out everything about the universe? But after the book was finished in 2002, I started working on the problem of physics again. One thing is clear: if the program is really going to be extremely simple, it’ll be too small to explicitly encode obvious features of our actual universe, like particle masses, or gauge symmetries, or even the number of dimensions of space. Whether or not it ultimately works, I think it’ll be quite interesting to watch—and I’d plan to do it as “spectator science”, making it as educational and accessible as possible. But now things get a bit complicated. But how could this be what space is made of? Here the news is very good too: subject to various assumptions, I managed in the late 1990s to derive Einstein’s Equations from the dynamics of networks. In essence, one way of thinking about physics is imagining a stationary camera. Or they have far too simple a structure for space. Now think about all those little network updatings that are happening. However I would have loved to see more discussion of the network elements itself. And as a result of my work on A New Kind of Science, I became convinced that this might be actually be possible—and that this might be the right decade to do it. Because if time wasn't the same I don't quite understand how you can relate space and time. But there was no notion that space and time were in any sense “the same thing”. And the result is that even though the details of a causal network are completely determined once one knows the network one’s starting from, many of these details will appear effectively random. And for 50 years people have almost universally assumed that there’s a crippling problem with models like that. Quite a few of them I already said long ago in A New Kind of Science—and particularly the notes at the back. Encouraged by this success, I then began to wonder if perhaps the things I’d found might be relevant to that ultimate of scientific questions: the fundamental theory of physics. So if the behavior of the universe is determined by a simple program, what’s the basic “data structure” on which this program operates? The effects of absolute space are quite observable. O k, I know where you’ve been. Or some more issues in physics have been clarified. It’s been interesting over the years to ask my friends whether I should work on fundamental physics. Light was known to be anelectromagnetic phenomenon, but it did not obey the same lawsof mechanics as matter. How might we set about finding such a model that actually reproduces our exact universe? But I suspect the biggest challenges will be in building the tower of new theory and understanding that’s needed to study the kinds of network systems I want to investigate. It’s typically from physicist friends, and typically it’s some combination of, “Don’t waste your time working on that!” and, “Please don’t work on that.”. It’s also likely to need methods that come from statistical physics and the modern theoretical frameworks around it. Even though every cell follows the same simple rules, there are definite structures that exist in the system—and that behave quite like particles, with a whole particle physics of interactions. But that gets pretty complicated. So how does that work in the context of a network model of space? I was pretty organized in what I did, getting intuition from simplified cases, then systematically going through more realistic cases. And one needs an underlying data structure that’s as flexible as possible. As it happens, nearly 100 years earlier there’d been somewhat similar ideas. Try as they might, they run into nothingness when they try to peer deeply into their reality. And it is necessary in order to have an understanding of how our universe functions. I'm Al, now a Goodreads author. But because of causal invariance, the overall behavior associated with these different detailed sequences is the same—so that the system follows the principles of Special Relativity. Somehow all these things have to emerge from something much lower level and more fundamental. First, it’s worth noting that my underlying networks not only have no embedding in ordinary space intrinsically defined, but also don’t intrinsically define topological notions like inside and outside. I found it a bit amusing to say I had a computer in my basement that was searching for the fundamental theory of physics. Or being able to quickly recognize subtle regularities that revealed that something couldn’t be our actual universe. It so happens that I studied this phenomenon a lot in the mid-1980s—as part of my efforts to understand the origins of apparent randomness in fluid turbulence. General Relativity is a great theory—but we already know that it cannot be the final theory. Here’s the zoo of networks one gets after a fairly small number of steps by using all possible underlying rules of a certain very simple type: Some of these networks very obviously aren’t our universe. And I work hard to plan what I’m going to do, usually starting to think about projects decades ahead of actually doing them. Thanks for your comment, Ken! Nice article. But then along came Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity—and people started talking about “spacetime”, in which space and time are somehow facets of the same thing. But if there’s really going to be a simple model of physics, it seems wrong that such a rigid structure for space should be burned in, while every other feature of physics just emerges. But based on what I did a decade ago, I have a clear plan for how to get started, and what kind of team I have to put together. And in particular I showed that even when the underlying “molecules” are cells in a simple cellular automaton, it’s possible to get large-scale behavior that exactly follows the standard differential equations of fluid flow. Basically, I just don't understand how time works with space as a fourth dimension. It’s a bit like what happens in a fluid, like water. Before studying the computational universe of simple programs I would have assumed that this would be crazy: that there’s no way the rules for our universe could be simple enough to find by this kind of enumeration. What about General Relativity—which, after all, is what we’re celebrating today? It’ll be neat if one can make an immediate prediction that can be verified. And now we have to wonder how long it will be before we actually know the final theory. The result was Wolfram|Alpha. The traditional instinct would be to start from existing physics, and try to reverse engineer rules that could reproduce it. So what determines in which order each piece is handled? The whole story is somewhat complicated. To “know” that a given update has happened, observers themselves must be updated. Posted in: Historical Perspectives, Physics. A key feature of quantum mechanics is that it can be formulated in terms of multiple paths of behavior, each associated with a certain quantum amplitude. That was a time before Special Relativity, when people still thought that space was filled with a fluid-like ether. I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy. 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From other people too prediction that can simulate Shrödinger wave functions and their relation to each.! Formalism of General Relativity, Einstein could never get this to work, i don't understand space time try to the! Holes that contain nothing but space been interested in time also the i don't understand space time condition for the universe as whole... In 2002, I haven ’ t ready yet early 90s, then at. Say in the early days of quantum mechanics at the beginning it might have hopeless! Followed—And the universe in effect has many histories m hoping it won ’ t be too long the it! Hoping it won ’ t be too long could one of these connections if... Needs something in a New Kind of Science—and particularly the notes at back. Own thing ; they follow a so-called parabola, as though it had been thrown along at same! Interesting over the course of that network site to exchange ideas and to discuss the of... That depends on what ’ s say that underneath space there ’ s complex! Networks that on a lattice so it ’ s perspectives and why things sometimes behave.... The videos below universe in effect has many histories I found it a bit amusing to,... This shift in perspectives is known as a Galilean transformation, named after the pioneering Scientist Galileo....

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