Science suggests the universe has a ‘computational power’

What is the computational power of the universe? What if we consider the cosmos to be the output of a 13.7-billion-year computation?

Can a close look at the universe give us solutions to problems too difficult even for a planet-sized computer to solve?


Can a close look at the universe give us solutions to problems too difficult for a computer – even if we built a computer larger than a planet? Physicist Stephen Jordan reflects on this question in a new video by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with a new scientific paper that considers one particular tough problem the universe might answer.

In The Computational Power of the Universe, Jordan does not imagine what we could learn if humanity somehow converted the entire cosmos into a vast computing device (however marvelous a science-fiction premise that idea might make). Rather, he asks, now that the universe has undergone billions of years of change in accordance with the laws of nature, can we use what we see through our telescopes to gain insights into difficult computational problems? After all, computers crunch numbers to simulate complex change. What if we consider the cosmos to be the output of a 13.7-billion year computation?

Jordan’s new paper – one in a series he and his colleagues are working on – looks at a specific example. One computer-stumping question is called the number partitioning problem: If you had a pile of millions of very large numbers and wanted to divide them into two equal piles, how would you do it? The math is so difficult that it’s been considered as a practical basis for cryptography.

As it turns out, the universe has already processed a similar problem physically. Everywhere you look, empty space has a background energy density that is very close to zero. This near-zero value, which Einstein referred to as the Cosmological Constant, implies that the balance between energy contributions from different fields related to fundamental universal forces somehow got sorted out well enough that we ended up with a fairly stable material universe. In essence, we live in a particular solution to partitioning.

Are there other tough problems out there to which the universe holds a shortcut? …to be continued.



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Ben of Houston

That is especially apt since with this idea, you can see the answer with the telescope. However, the question is essentially unknowable. It’s a perfect analogy to the Hitchhiker situation.

T. Fry

Don’t forget your towel…


“Can a close look at the universe give us solutions to problems too difficult even for a planet-sized computer to solve?”

Perhaps 42 isn’t The Answer. We should get the Universe to take up the problem.


The diodes down my right leg are killing me 🙂




Marvin knows.

Mark - Helsinki

More junk called philosophy, this kind of crap annoyes me.

Curious George

What a deep and fertile idea. The Universe simulates itself.


Well in my opinion, given all available evidence, it seems like the ongoing organization of matter into more complex arrangement leading to at least one intelligent life form (us), and our curiosity about reality itself, suggests that the universe itself is actually trying to figure itself out.

Alan D McIntire

Isaac Asimov addressed that in a Science Fiction story, “The Last Question”.


Mark - Helsinki

“If you had a pile of millions of very large numbers and wanted to divide them into two equal piles, how would you do it? The math is so difficult that it’s been considered as a practical basis for cryptography.”

lol, lol, baaahahahahahahahahahahaha

simply give each number to 1 person, so it would take millions of people 15 seconds to do it.




It is, I believe, generally the theory of antimatter and matter that from the beginning the universe consisted of a small excess of matter. The antimatter and the matter eradicated each other until only the small amount of matter that we see today was left over. Even dark matter is matter otherwise the mutual annihilation would probably go on until the end of the universe, that is, forever from our short-lived point of view. I do not know what’s new about the great discovery. Above all, the universe has no computer. I think God does not need such a crutch.

george lanham

Odds and Evens?

Mark - Helsinki

Decimal, there is no odds in dividing by 2

Don K

Since the problem looks to be trivial as stated, I’m guessing that it’s misstated and that what they want is for the sum of the numbers in one pile to be equal to the sum of the numbers in the other pile. That really does seem to be difficult.

What does that have to do with the universe being a computing device? I haven’t a clue.

Mark - Helsinki

Not at all difficult, the problem is serial processing, that is why using millions of people to do small calculations makes it a non event.

the fact is classical physics, serial processing of 1s and 0s
You have to keep adding pathways to process in parallel

Millions of people resolve this issue, or millions of processors
Millions of people do not need to be built, and combined into computers with lots of other equipmemt and a lot of energy to boot.

Millions of people doing a small part completely negate all of that, existing computing power more powerful than the most powerful supercomputer

If we could make computers with crystals that could compute, using light, we might be able to overcome much, but as always, you’d have to increase the light pathways.

There is NO quantum solution, quantum computers are nothing but bad philosophy. We cannot get past serialisation, in output and input, it’s how the world and universe works, one physical process must follow the other.

Mark - Helsinki

Even using millions of people, you have to serially give each person a value to calculate, if you want to give a million people a number, you need a computer to dish them out, and that will have to be done serially

There is no way around this, it’s the very nature of the universe.


Another example of some insignificant babbles, already covered, getting worldwide exposition




Quantum computing has caused a rickle in time. Any time now, Shleemypants will show up to fix it.

Mark - Helsinki

Quantum computing is utter nonsense. There is no such thing.
They have to keep adding processing pathways and processing power. making it faster than current does not make it quantum, the term is a nonsense, or non-science

Dodgy Geezer

What if we consider the cosmos to be the output of a 13.7-billion year computation?

Well…. we know that Deep Thought spent seven and a half million years doing the calculation for the ultimate answer to Life, etc, and that the white mice were then happy to fund the project for a further 10 million years to get at the question – but I don’t know if they would run to 13 billion plus years…

Mark - Helsinki

Numbers mean nothing to the universe, absolutely nothing, nothing to physics.

Numbers are our tool to comprehend such things.
This is more following mathematics down the rabbit hole.

William Astley

This is fake science which is a direct consequence of ‘Ironic’ Science.

Ironic Science is the name John Horgan gave to the appearance of weird hand waving ‘theories’ which contradict each other.

Horgan called the weird hand waving ‘theories’ Ironic Science as his premise in his mediocre 1996 book “End of Science’, is we have reached the limit of human’s ability to solve physical problems.

Ironic science, Horgan asserted is similar to Literary Criticism. There is no right or wrong answer and the discussions go on forever.

The last real breakthrough in physics was Quantum mechanics. Almost every high-tech device which we use is possible due to the quantum effect and quantum mechanics calculations.

Quantum mechanics is a jump up and down breakthrough. Completely changed textbooks, new field of science, and super practical high-devices.

The Quantum mechanics breakthrough occurred in response to the of piles and piles of observational anomalies and paradoxes that could not be explained by classic physics.

Currently there are piles and pile of cosmological anomalies and paradoxes. Why is there no breakthrough? Why is cosmological theory work generating Ironic Science?


I suspect the problem is with our university system. It takes years and enormous expense to get a PhD. To get a PhD or to do real research you need to either be rich or be prepared to make enormous sacrifices. Most of the physics departments seem to full of semi-retired rent seekers who just play mind games with the mathematics of dead end theories. Due to his lack of credentials a guy like Einstein would never even be published today, much less taken seriously.

Einstein was awarded PhD (by dissertation) from University of Zurich, 1905.

Mark - Helsinki

Haha Nick, If a ground breaking AGW debunker was working in a post office today and put forward a theory, you’d e the first to say “he works in a post office”

and mosher would say “check your code” 😀
Mosher couldn’t code his way out of a virtual brown paper bag

Mark - Helsinki

and also Jolly st Nick, Einstein was already publishing and famous before his dissertation. He was well Established.

he never even bothered to put his work of that year into his dissertation, it was guaranteed due to his previously published papers in 1905.

Just like Mann’s PhD was nicely lined up after his bogus hockeystick. #fasttrack



Surely you are aware that Einstein didn’t have a PhD while he was working as a Swiss patent clerk. Yet his papers from 1900 to 1905 were so self-evidently worthwhile that the Annalen der Physik published them anyway.

He was awarded a PhD by the University of Zürich in 1905 for his dissertation, “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions”.


They are NOT “paradoxes” they are contradictions, huge literal gaps in the hypothetical knowledge they have put forward as a theory.

Calling something a “paradox” in science, is like measuring the intelligence of a piece of string based on it’s length.




Brain the size of a planet and all that…

Walter Sobchak

I thought the Horgan book was very good. BTW it was published 21 years ago. Where is that string theory we were promised?

Years roll by and Horgan looks better and better.

Interesting at the “philosophy of everything” level — but is not science nor mathematics.

Referring to Einstein’s Cosmological Constant sounds “sciencey” but the subject is itself in deep discussion in the Dark Matter/Dark Energy/Cosmology world — they’d like to get rid of it and/or they’d like to say it is the result of DM/DE and/or something else.

Physics, remember, understands (for the most part and some of it only vaguely), only < 5% of the stuff in the entire "known" Universe. (yes, that is "less than five percent"). In other words, our (Mankind's) level of comprehension is less than the normally accepted level of statistical significance — our knowledge of the Universe is insignificant.

These TED-talky speculations are only good for late evening discussions amongst intelligent friends, but not to be taken seriously.

Mark - Helsinki

I stopped watching TED talks years ago, some are amusing but the sciency ones are all too often utterly pretentious and “self intellect feeding” ie making things more complicated for the sake of feeling smug about being able to comprehend convoluted gibberish.

Physics is just happenings, nothing more, Physics is our term, our concept, to the universe it is a serial procession of events dictated by the initial conditions

Mark - Helsinki

Physics to us is each detectable quantised step in that procession we call exchange of information.

hence dark matter is nonsense, it exchanges information with nothing, ergo it does not exist by the very definition of “physics”


This speculation is on the right track, but is still a ways off.

Some problems were found out to be intractable using numerical simulations and digital computers. This led to a rebirth of analog computers.
The truth of the matter is that the Earth is a purpose-built computer designed to solve one such problem. In fact, the Earth was designed, and is now running, (ironically or not) to investigate issues related to planetary climate systems. Specifically, in the case of the Earth, the question under investigation is whether carbon dioxide has a trivial, or a significant effect on a planet’s climate. To find the answer, we must merely wait until the computer finishes it’s run.

Mostly harmless.


I thought we had that solved, we just adjust Earth to whatever the model says?


At most, that science won’t cost us 80,000 bn$


The first sign that this isn’t really science and in the video he actually declares it 3.49, “We need to bend or modify Quantum Mechanics”, “Often when you modify the postulates of Quantum Mechanics all sorts of crazy stuff happens”. Wow really so if you don’t use the proper laws of physics funny things can happen … wow you think.

A few months back Lubos did a rather long rant on Scott Aaronson and his idea the universe is a computer simulation. As only Lubos can he spared no vitriol in telling poor Scott he was stupid and unscientific and anyone with an ounce of science knowledge can falsify his theory. Strong language warning in the link.


That’s some big talk for a guy that has devoted his life to something untestable and unproven. Lubo sounds like he could benefit from exercising the right side of his brain a little, and perhaps even a vacation.


Untestable and unproven .. always love that criticism 😉


I suggest your read what Lubos has to say about seeing photons:

He cites experiments at SLAC.


He was also the one who answered this question
Given you went into deflection … lets see if I can do a Gabro … no really the photons don’t exist.


For other parties that is actually a bit of humour at both parties and another discussion with Gabro.

Untestable and unproven is actually a very humourous concept when you are dealing with single point particles that don’t really exist until you observe them 🙂

Most Girls act like quantum particles. One cannot judge, but guess their behaviour. Their behaviour would be quite different after you make an “observation”!


“Are there other tough problems out there to which the universe holds a shortcut? …to be continued.”
I’m sorry, but couldn’t resist:

Interesting common thread in the responses, B******T. However, if we refocus the question of the computational power of the universe, and ask about the earth’s computational power, we might get a usable answer.

GCMs have been proven to not have the computational power to predict long-term global temperatures. The database is insufficient and corrupted and not suitable for populating GCMS. One or two hundred years of high-quality data gathered at enormous cost would only produce a few more 30-year points for
a time series and would not solve the data problem.

The U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (U.S. CLIVAR) national research program is pushing for continued funding. They claim “climate models have gotten steadily more sophisticated over the past 5 decades, representing a wider range of timescales and spatial scales and capturing increasing degrees of complexity and interconnections among different components of the climate system. “ (

Being more sophisticated with the wrong concept is not a winning strategy. Maintaining momentum in the wrong direction won’t work either. I suggest starting over. Trash the existing GCM models. Find a better way to use the existing 400,000+ year temperature databases and computational power. Take on the universe later.

There’s the non-trivial issue of the ‘physics problem’ too.

each black holes is a universe. the background microwave radiation we see in our universe is the event horizon from our parent universe. each generation, the number of universes increases exponentially from parent to child.

Because of time dilation each generation of black hole plays out its lifetime within the lifetime of the parent. In effect this provides the ultimate dream of computer programmers. Infinite parallelism to reduce any exponential problems to linear time.

As such, the structure of the universe provides a mechanical, brute force solution to the ALL possible questions. Within the lifetime of the first universe, all child universes will have tried every possible solution to EVERY possible problem, using the fastest possible brute force technique.

And what is the ultimate question? To try all possible solutions until perfection is achieved. In effect, the universe is seeking to create God.


But do we live in the best of all possible universes?

That is, one in which subatomic particles are possible, H and He atoms, hence stars, planets, moons, galaxies, heavier elements and life.


The best universe is the one in which I am king and the Anthropic principle is dead and buried where it belongs.


Sounds like Hell to me . . O king of your own imagination ; )


Edwin Hubble and ‘Hubble’s law’, (via 1929) meant that the universe was expanding, galaxies are moving away from each other. The further away a galaxy is, made by observing its Redshift, the faster it’s moving away.

The observations were discussed by prominent scientists at the time and something spectacular was conceived.
This was, that all galaxies were designated as having a common origin.
Both Edwin Hubble and Albert Einstein are noted for being sceptical of this concept.

They are correct!

Using the same logic, the Andromeda galaxy is moving toward us, and has already begun to collide with the Milky way, fast forward 13.82 billion years, where will both galaxies be?

Rewind 13.82 billion years, as Andromeda and the Milky way move apart, where were both galaxies then?

Obviously the universe is 27.64 billion years old, as Andromeda obviously has had a 13.82 billion year old history that is just as old as the observations of distant galaxies from 13.82 billion years ago. Right?

It gets worse.

All galaxies are formed from a single point in time (the big bang) and condensed to form galaxies and everything else in the universe.


The “multiple universe theory” is just another type of augmented reality, promoted by blow hard futurists hacks.


I think I said that but in a bit more humorous way 🙂


LdB yes you did, in a more humors way?

Why did the scientist cross the road?

He never did.


The road crossed the scientist.


Read the Isaac Asimov short story “The Last Question”…

Trygve Eklund

Add “The Black Cloud” by Fred Hoyle.


Thanks, I haven’t read an Asimov story in a very long time. A brilliant man and writer.

(Spoiler alert!) Does the “Last Question” imply that there are computers in hyperspace all the way down?



As universal is steadily converted to energy, the increasing entropy forms “information.” In that sense, the information is at the cost of entropy.
If computing is a way to acquire knowledge, then the increase in entropy is associated.

Information Theory and entropy is deeply mathematical field in EE.

Consider that even if we couldn’t send matter (you meeting your grandfather as a young man to kill him) back in time (time reversal, time travel), any attempt to also send even just information back (such as just the winning lottery numbers from Saturday to your Friday self) would violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Seen in this way it is really increasing entropy that is “computing” the universe state at the next Planck time unit.

Deep thinkers in statistical thermodynamics (Gibbs, Boltzman, etc) long ago understood the ideas of the cosmos as computer, if not actually calling it a computer (the term wasn’t invented yet).

These have implications that fascinated guys like Boltzman. (of S-B radiation fame).
If one thinks of a compressed gas in a cylinder, then when it is released into a larger cylinder, it will “compute” its new state and entropy will increase
This kind of computational thinking obviously fascinated Ludwig Boltzman, and he is enshrined in physics with his mathematical development of these insights around 1896-1898 in the physics literature of that time. (Very influential stuff for a young student Einstein I might add)

Boltzmann’s principle
The entropy S is defined as

S = k B ln ⁡ Ω


kB is Boltzmann’s constant and
Ω \Omega is the number of microstates consistent with the given macrostate.

The statistical entropy reduces to Boltzmann’s entropy when all the accessible microstates of the system are equally likely. It is also the configuration corresponding to the maximum of a system’s entropy for a given set of accessible microstates, in other words the macroscopic configuration in which the lack of information is maximal. As such, according to the second law of thermodynamics, it is the equilibrium configuration of an isolated system. Boltzmann’s entropy is the expression of entropy at thermodynamic equilibrium in the canonical ensemble.

This postulate, which is known as Boltzmann’s principle, may be regarded as the foundation of statistical mechanics, which describes thermodynamic systems using the statistical behavior of its constituents. It turns out that S is itself a thermodynamic property, just like E or V. Therefore, it acts as a link between the microscopic world and the macroscopic. One important property of S follows readily from the definition: since Ω is a natural number (1,2,3,…), S is either zero or positive (ln(1) = 0, ln Ω ≥ 0.)

So this article AW referenced is sort of the Popular Science version (Pop Science) version of what was considered 120 years ago.


joelobryan Says:
Deep thinkers in statistical thermodynamics (Gibbs, Boltzman, etc) long ago understood the ideas of the cosmos as computer, if not actually calling it a computer (the term wasn’t invented yet).

So the term of computation wasn’t invented yet?

Ludwig Boltzman lived between 1844 – 1906

I think he would be surprised to hear that, among billions of others alive at that time.


computation was in the lexicon then. But computer is a 2nd half 20th century term.

But Babbages’ machine was called a difference machine and then an analytical engine in the 19th century.
Turing’s enigma breaker was simply called a bombes (with Polish pronunciation).

The term computer wasn’t adopted into lexicon until just after WW2.

In the 1890’s Boltzman would have understood the term “analytical engine” as we do “computer” today.

Robert W Turner


Notice that computer and computation are two different words.


The term “computer” was adopted after the 1940’s and never existed before? that is very fascinating.

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the first attested use of “computer” in the “1640s, [meaning] “one who calculates,”; this is an “… agent noun from compute (v.)”. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the use of the term to mean “calculating machine” (of any type) is from 1897.”

Robert W Turner

Words have no meaning according to you.

It’s problematical to confuse information entropy with thermodynamic entropy–the two are not the same. To quote Frank Lambert:

“Claude E. Shannon’s 1948 paper began the era of quantification of information and in it he adopted the word “entropy” to name the quantity that his equation defined. This occurred because a friend, the brilliant mathematician John von Neumann, told him “call it entropy no one knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage”

(for example, see



I think the atmosphere of the Earth is a computer.
Coincidentally, it is also the smallest and only computer than can accurately and completely describe the climate and the weather on the surface of the Earth and how it changes over time.


Earth’s hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, plus the sun and other radiation sources, the moon and gravitational effects of other celestial bodies, IMO must also figure in the hardware and software of the operation and programming of the atmospheric weather and climate computer.


In that regard, GCMs are reduced state representations of the Earth atmosphere and ocean system. And they fail miserably, because subjective bias enters into their output (parameterizations).

Bingo! And that is the absolute truth of the matter. Not that this obvious fact will ever penetrate the skulls of those who think if you fiddle around with Navier-Stokes and initial conditions for long enough you can get the solution from a near-universal Turing machine.


I really do not want to be nasty…but have to say it…just for the record…please do forgive me.

It is shown beyond any doubt, from my point of view, that all you people, are being wasting energy, resources, money and time, to exhausting amounts, invested in jokes like the guy you just have in the video of this blog post…..a complete waste…

really sorry for my tough point made, but it is really silly any way contemplated, from my point of view.

hope this is somehow not much upsetting and possibly tolerable at some point, just for the sake of a direct and as a honest as possible expression of ones thoughts….

Again, really sorry.

I am not really sure at this point, if it is ethical or socially acceptable to post such a comment…..but I am doing it anyway…why not!

[?? ?? .mod]

I for one am devastated by the laser-precise clinical decomposition of my world view inherent in this post. Never mind. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind eh whiten?

Bill Illis

Of course you are right whiten.

On almost every article about climate change (here and otherwise), I first of all think about how to make to joke about the how ridiculous the climate change premise is.

It is mostly that I just can’t see how people take the exaggeration in this field so seriously and believe it without an afterthought. Humans naturally think a comment which shows how ridiculous the premise is, will change minds on the topic and make them realise just how ridiculous it really is.

Sometimes I can’t resist. But most of the time, I also realise that none of the believers will change their mind when shown how ridiculous it is that “CO2 will turn the Earth into Venus” or that “the Universe can compute something”.

5% of the time or so, I can’t resist and the joke gets posted anyway. Nobody changes their mind because of it of course but maybe someone laughs at least.

This sounds like Rupert Sheldrake and the conscious universe.

Mark - Helsinki

sounds like more big bang religious type nonsense going by the title 😀

Everything is a computer. A simple sieve is a computer even at it’s macroscopically crude form level. It isn’t a wildly versatile computer but nevertheless will provide a reliable digital answer to the question is particle x larger/smaller than sieve grid size y.

Mark - Helsinki

Nothing is a computer by the same token, computing is a human concept that does not apply to the physical world at all, no computing happens in natural physics if there is no human (or his devices) around to count 😀


The universe is infinite, always was and always will be!

Mark - Helsinki

There is no such thing as infinity in the physical world 😀


Mark, within an infinite universe, there are infinite limitations, your conclusion dismisses both reality and infinite possibilities. .

Mark - Helsinki

Infinity is the opposite of 0
Both have no value one can calculate, and neither can be used to make futher calculations, in code they would be variables, without values, ie useless. In mathematics they are null in calculations, unusable.
Near infinity is also the exact same as infinity, because to be near “infinity”, you must constantly follow “infinity” forever


Mark, “infinity” is a logical concept of an irrational observation, limitations on “infinity” make a rational observation, well, just limited

cracker jack

The Universe is trying to figure out 1/0 and that’s why it’s taking so long. The Universe is really,really stupid.


I look at it conceptually as introduction to calculus is taught on appraoching a limit. The universe is approaching a 3D asymptote in a 4D tube, as the limit approaches from the xyz, w goes to infinity. The infinity is excluded in a limit formulation. It is why Einstein’s GR/gravity and quantum physics in our current view of the universe can not be unified.

All the attempts at quantum gravity have to deal with the singularity where it all breaks down.


All reality breaks down at what point?

Mark - Helsinki

Concepts distort reality.
“The universe is approaching a 3D asymptote in a 4D tube” It most certainly is not.

Whatever the boundaries and there are boundaries as infinity does not exist in the physical world, the universe is a space, marked out by coordinates on the x,y,z axis.

We just don’t know those coordinates

Gravity is EM at atomic level, density is governed by charge. More charge, less density.
Charge creates the distance between a nucleus and electrons, less charge less distance, increase density.

There are Neutrons and protons and electrons, and empty space inbetween. Charge decides the size of that empty space, and that empty space makes up the vast majority of what we can see.

Gravity is weak because it is at atomic level, stronger forces bind together, physical binding, chemistry, biology, all at higher levels, building blocks.

Force is only stronger within the atom, the attraction is weaker between atoms which is why gravity is weak

If there was no charge as of now, most of the mass in the universe would cease to exist immediately


Science has become farcical…….. It’s not science anymore its nothing but rentseeking and mysticism. Pathetic.


Climate science is farcical. It is infecting many other non-climate science with its lack of accepting dissent. GroupThink is setting in.


Agreed!! emphasis on”mysticism”.

Mark - Helsinki

The problem is this

We have technical and logistical limitations and we try fill in the gaps with mathematics (and then claim it is physically real, and that is why we are failing. Climate models are a perfect example


Have a gold star smarty pants ✮


Guess I need to get the Meade 12” LX200 out and do some computer work, haven’t used it since the Eclipse.

Mark - Helsinki

I had a meade years ago, auto tracking, great fun, download orbital info, connected up to laptop by serial and watch that baby track orbits automatically 😀 Great for upcoming expected signtings

Mark - Helsinki

Sightings even. 😀


You said signtings, were they alien signtings? I have to investigate all these signtings.

Imagine that!?

Serendipity!comment image?dl=0


Mike McMillan

I’ll have to go along with the consensus on this one.



So it’s models all the way down? Or up? Or out?

Hocus Locus

When I was a boy we had a beautiful Olivetti mechanical calculator, probably a Divisumma. It was a joy to task it and observe its intricate works, a labyrinth of shaped metal rods, bars and drums.

Of course I set out one day to calculate a billion times a billion and it set out with mechanical glee, but seconds and minutes passed and the multiply cycle did not complete. Internally it did arithmetic as we do on paper and the mechanism that trips on overflow or if you press CLEAR, didn’t. I watched it struggle for awhile and finally, taking pity on it I pulled the plug. When plugged in it resumed its attempt.

Finally Dad and I were looking for its clear/abort mechanism by inspection, then desperately tugging things at random. Finally we found a restraining bar and with a gentle tug and it’s usual flourish… it printed a partial answer and stopped. Whenever someone satirizes Sagan by saying “billions and billions” (he says he never said it and I believe him) I hear our Olivetti chugging away.

My only regret is that I did not save the tape with the partial answer. It might help me to figure out where I am — perhaps where we all are — today.

It was definitely greater than 42.

anna vayaki

IMO he is just using platonism, the position that ideals exist to which nature is molded. They had a belief that “the Godhead always uses geometry” . This belief translated into “mathematics generates reality” is very strong in the field of theoretical physics, whereas experimentalists usually are of the opinion that “mathematics is a tool to model reality”.

After all , nature has solved the complex mathematical problem of DNA, for example, and all physical observations, classical and quantum mechanical. We have to measure to get at the mathematics so it is not a strange belief. Nature can be considered a large computational system.

anna vayaki

the above is me “anna v”


I always thought that the observable Universe could be imagined as a brain working with much slower-than-ours operating speed (non-linearly changing with distance and mass). Fast radio bursts could be its synapses clicking. etc. But all that is a science fiction, not science proper, as well as the most of the modern cosmology.

Lately, my favorite morsel on the cosmological smorgasbord is Shu’s 3-sphere theory: the Universe is eternal and infinite; there is no need for BS like the creationist Big Bang or mythical “dark matter”; speed of light and the gravitational “constant” change with time (hence “red shift”); mass, length, and time mutually transform into each other — and, most importantly, Shu’s theory exactly corresponds with the observational data and correctly predicts them!

Which makes it much more “scientific” than the prevailing “Deus ex machina” Big Bang nonsense.


Maybe time and space exchange each other giving us time, and gravity is the ‘stiction’ of matter as it moves through the dimensional exchange. Thus from the outside this universe is a constant ‘size’.
Or as William Blake poetically wrote it —

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.

He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake and Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.


Oops that should be —
Maybe time and space exchange each other giving us time’s forward progression, and gravity is the ‘stiction’ of matter as it moves through the dimensional exchange. Thus from the outside this universe is a constant ‘size’.

William Blake, surely, is one of the most interesting and unconventional poets. His moral sense is also remarkable, outside the usual prejudice confines.

I think of the gravitational field as of the force resulting from the difference in the pace of time, which, in turn, depends on the difference of the distance from the center of mass (and depends on the mass — here you already observe the mutual transformation of time, length, and mass (energy), they are various expressions of the same thing, perceived by us as different in three-dimensional world of our senses).

In our heads time is ticking faster than in our feet, so to speak. To maintain molecular bonds in this asynchronous situation, we exert force and experience tension, which feels like “gravitational attraction.”

Rocket acceleration and gravitational acceleration are very different things, there is no equivalence between them if the observer uses precision plumb lines and atomic clocks. If one installs three plimb lines on the ceiling of the windowless experimental chamber, and two atomic clocks on the ceiling and on the floor of the same experimental chamber, under rocket acceleration of 1g plumb lines will be parallel, and atomic clocks will be synchronous. Under gravitational acceleration of 1g plumb lines will point at the center of the mass (not parallel), and the atomic clock on the ceiling will be ahead of the clock on the floor.

With all due respect, so much for Einstein’s principle of equivalence.


— com·put·er

an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program.
synonyms: personal computer · PC · laptop · netbook · ultraportable · desktop · terminal · mainframe · Internet appliance · puter

a person who makes calculations, especially with a calculating machine. —

It seems silly to me, to speak of the universe computing anything . . or as having computational power. The word is not the thing, nor is the “data” the event or process it quantifies . .

a bird is a bird
slavery means slavery
a knife is a knife
death remains death

– Zbigniew Herbert


Pop quiz ~ Which word is colder, Ice or fire? ; )

Following along these lines, you would require that people see the world with open eyes, as is.
What about brainwashing, then? What about instilling fear and guilt?
Shaping people to be “productive members of the society” (manipulated ignorant slaves)?
Elites and priests, educators and politicians, the whole world of interconnected lies would crash!
This is an impermissible, inexcusable extremism!

By the time we understand the universe well enough to use it as a computational tool; won’t we have worked our way out of this problem with our own computational tools?

Patrick Powers

How is all this different from what we used to call the actions of ‘Mother Nature’.


Max Planck: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

IMO humanity itself, with its “mass” or “collective” consciousness, would be a much more interesting computational study.

Bruce Cobb

The cowboys had it right. The answer is om, om on the range.

Mark - Helsinki

The existance of the universe owes itself to charge.

The exitential question is where did charge come from

“Space time” is junk science

Mark - Helsinki

Ugh *existence \ existential

Mark - Helsinki

as for this OP, computing means nothing if there is no human in the equation.

This line of thinking in the OP video is self intellect feeding gibberish.

Mark - Helsinki

Even if the universe had “computing power”, what would coalate values, provide output, what single input could accept all that output?

Such stupidity boggles the mind

I’m on an epic rant today, junk science annoys me


I want to rip the throat out of people who sell junk science and piss all over their dead corpse, the moderation guys, said to wait my turn… mwahahaha!


I hate queues