Topic: physics as computation

topics > science > Group: philosophy of science

quantum electrodynamics
reality is a machine
science as mathematics
science as measurement
thought is computational
what is a computer


Mathematical physics underlies much of the success of the modern world. Quantum electrodynamcis provides an accurate model of electricity, magnetism, light, and electrons. If the lowest levels of existence have a mathematical explanation, then all levels should have a mathematical explanation.

Mathematical models may be continuous as modeled by the real and complex numbers, or discrete as modeled by the natural numbers. (cbb 4/06)

Subtopic: reality as natural numbers up

Quote: Pythagoras discovered that chords are pleasant when in ratios of small integers; first numerical relationship in nature outside of geometry [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: the acceleration of straight motion in heavy bodies proceeds according to the odd numbers beginning from one; i.e., the spaces passed over are to each other as the squares of the times [»galiG_1632]
Quote: reality should have a purely algebraic theory since quantum phenomena are completely described by a finite set of numbers; not a continuous field [»einsA_1956, OK]
Note: perhaps physics is math, math is computation, and computation is naming [»cbb_1990, OK]

Subtopic: reality as real numbers up

Quote: physics is predominant because it is based on measurement [»campNR_1919, OK]
Quote: there is tremendous variety of behavior from the equations for viscous fluid flow with just one parameter; how much more is possible with more complex equations! [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: physics must fuse the continuous and the discontinuous; the universal interaction of things and the simplicity of indivisible elements [»debrL_1937]

Subtopic: physics as measurement up

Quote: quantum electrodynamics describes all physical phenomena except gravity, radioactivity and nuclear physics; there is no significant difference between experiment and theory [»feynRP_1985]
Quote: quantitative relationships are the heart of physics [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: only with quantitative observations can one arrive at quantitative relationships
Quote: before Galileo, the study of motion was based on ideas and arguments; Galileo was skeptical; he measured how far a ball rolled in how long a time [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: if two tracts are measured as equal once and anywhere, they are equal always and everywhere; a foundation for the general theory of relativity

Subtopic: natural laws up

Quote: speculate that the machinery of physics will be revealed and it will have simple laws
Quote: the equations for many physical situations have exactly the same appearance; e.g., steady heat-flow problems and electrostatic problems are the same [»feynRP_1964]

Subtopic: field up

Quote: a field is any physical quantity which takes on different values at different points in space; e.g., electrical and magnetic fields; values may be scalars or vectors [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: a real field is a set of numbers such that what happens at a point depends only on the numbers at that point; no action at a distance [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: the equations for many physical situations are similar because they depend on smooth fields in space with laws that are independent of direction [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: classical physics requires both particles described by 6 parameters and fields described by an infinite number of parameters [»penrR_1989]
Quote: any simple, spatial physical problem, or simplification of a complicated problem, must look like electrostatics

Subtopic: least action up

Quote: the principle of least time: small changes to the path only make second-order changes to the time, i.e., there are many nearby paths which take almost exactly the same time [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: the principle of least action for conservative forces: the path taken is the path with the least action; many nearby paths; e.g., the average kinetic energy less the average potential energy [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: the calculus of variations determines the path in space which minimizes the path's action
Quote: Principle of Least Effort: people strive to minimize the average rate of work-expenditure they must use to solve immediate problems and probable future problems [»zipfGK_1949]

Subtopic: linear system up

Quote: linear systems are important because we can solve them and because the fundamental laws of physics are often linear, e.g., Maxwell's equations for electricity, the laws of quantum mechanics, and the approximations when displacements are small [»feynRP_1963]

Subtopic: Gaussian coordinates up

Quote: a Gaussian co-ordinate system assigns a continuum to each dimension of a Cartesian co-ordinate system [»einsA_1916b]
Quote: a Gaussian co-ordinate system applies to a non-Euclidean continuum if "size" and "distance" are locally Euclidean

Subtopic: physics as massively parallel up

Quote: massive communication has properties of physics--distance important, congestion acts like mass [»hillWD_1985]
Quote: what will computation look like with a mole of processors?; physics [»hillWD_1985]

Subtopic: nanomachines up

Quote: nanomachines will allow us to build almost anything that the laws of nature allow to exist; by arranging atoms [»drexKE_1986]

Subtopic: machinery necessary up

Quote: the machine is essential to intellectual progress; it enables experiments that tie speculative thought to reality [»debrL_1937]

Subtopic: problems with physics as computation up

Quote: currently, the laws of physics require infinite computation in an infinitesimal area

Related Topics up

Topic: physics (51 items)
Topic: quantum electrodynamics (34 items)
Topic: reality is a machine (48 items)
Topic: reductionism (51 items)
Topic: science as mathematics (26 items)
Topic: science as measurement (36 items)
Topic: thought is computational (60 items)
Topic: what is a computer
(62 items)

Updated barberCB 11/04
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