Living in a simulated world: Scientists explore the theory
2012-12-17 0:00

By Katherine Long | The Seattle Times

University of Washington physicists have come up with one way to test whether our universe is a giant computer simulation being run by our descendants.

It is entirely plausible, says University of Washington physics professor Martin Savage, that our universe and everything in it is one huge computer simulation being run by our descendants.

You, me, this newspaper, the room youíre sitting in ó everything we think of as reality is actually being generated by vast, powerful supercomputers of the future.

If that sounds mind-blowing, Savage and his colleagues think theyíve come up with a way to test whether itís true.

University of Washington physics professor Martin Savage, left, and physics graduate student Zohreh Davoudi published a paper on how to test if the universe is a massive computer simulation.

Their paper, "Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation," has kindled a lively international discussion about the simulation argument, which was first put forth in 2003 by University of Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom.

A UW News posting explaining Savageís paper has gotten more than 100,000 page views in a week, and ignited theories about the nature of reality and consciousness, the limits on computer networks and musings about what our future selves might be like.

Savage has been interviewed by U.S. News & World Report, The Australian and journalists in Finland, and his colleague and co-author, University of New Hampshire professor Silas Beane, has been interviewed by the BBC. UW physics graduate student Zohreh Davoudi also contributed to the paper.

"Itís sort of caught fire," Savage said.

Bostrom, the Oxford professor, first proposed the idea that we live in a computer simulation in 2003. In a 2006 article, he said there was probably no way to know for certain if it is true.

Savage ó who describes his "day job" as doing numerical simulations of lattice quantum chromodynamics ó said a chance discussion among colleagues sparked the idea that there was a way to test the truth of Bostromís theory.

And although it might deviate from the work he usually does, it was a worthy question because "there are lots of things about our universe we donít fully understand," Savage said. "This is certainly a different scenario for how our universe works ó but nonetheless, itís quite plausible."

In the paper, the physicists propose looking for a "signature," or pattern, in our universe that also occurs in current small-scale computer simulations. One such pattern might be a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays.

Because this theory is starting to test the limits of this reporterís scientific knowledge, we are going to rely on the words of UW News science writer Vince Stricherz, who translated the 14-page paper into laymenís terms:

"There are signatures of resource constraints in present-day simulations that are likely to exist as well in simulations in the distant future, including the imprint of an underlying lattice if one is used to model the space-time continuum," Stricherz wrote.

If our world is a computer simulation, "the highest-energy cosmic rays would not travel along the edges of the lattice in the model but would travel diagonally, and they would not interact equally in all directions as they otherwise would be expected to do."

Got that?

In other words, even supercomputers capable of creating a simulation of the universe would be hobbled by finite resources, and one way we might be able to detect those limits is to look for cosmic rays that donít travel the way they would be expected to travel.


Read the full article at:

Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Jim Elvidge - Are we Living in a Simulation, a Programmed Reality?

Jim Elvidge - The Singularity Will Not Occur, Programmed Reality & Infomania

Tom Campbell - The Big TOE (Theory of Everything), Consciousness & Reality

John Lash - Artificial Technomania of the Archons

Related Articles
Whoa: Physicists testing to see if universe is a computer simulation
Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation
Man Plays íCivilisationí Video Game For 10 Years, Simulation World Disintegrates into "Nightmare Of Suffering"

Latest News from our Front Page

ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
2015-11-26 3:33
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.  A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today. It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
2015-11-26 1:07
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape. Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15. The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
2015-11-25 22:56
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material: No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed! ... From: Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
2015-11-25 21:05
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris. Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
Paris Terrorist Was Gay 'Rent Boy', On The Run From Islamic State And Police
2015-11-25 20:16
The elusive eighth Paris attacker and one of three brothers implicated in the atrocity reportedly frequented gay clubs before the attack. He may have backed out of his mission at the last minute, and is possibly on the run from Islamic State as well as authorities. “We had him down as a rent boy, he was always hanging out with that ...
More News »