On 15.08.2011 07:56 Jason Resch said the following:


Can we accurately simulate physical laws or can't we?  Before you
answer, take a few minutes to watch this amazing video, which
simulates the distribution of mass throughout the universe on the
largest scales: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W35SYkfdGtw (Note each
point of light represents a galaxy, not a star)

The answer on your question depends on what you mean by accurately and what by physical laws. I am working with finite elements (more specifically with ANSYS Multiphysics) and I can tell for sure that if you speak of simulation of the universe, then the current simulation technology does not scale. Nowadays one could solve a linear system reaching dimension of 1 billion but this will not help you. I would say that either contemporary numerical methods are deadly wrong, or simulated equations are not the right ones. In this respect, you may want to look how simulation is done for example in Second Life.

Well, today numerical simulation is a good business (computer-aided engineering is about a billion per year) and it continues to grow. Yet, if you look in detail, then there are some areas when it could be employed nicely and some where it better to forget about simulation.

I understand that you speak "in principle". Yet, I am not sure if extrapolation too far away from the current knowledge makes sense, as eventually we are coming to "philosophical controversies".


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