On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 04:22:13PM -0400, spudboy...@aol.com wrote:
> Professor, Standish,
> Speaking about Wolfram, some ten years ago, Wolfram opined that "why listen 
> for ETI's when we can use computers to generate all we need to know about 
> Alien civilizations." I tried looking after what Dr. Wolfram meant. 
> specifically, when he said that, but to know avail. Perhaps it was just 
> foot-in-mouth disease, or Dr. Wolfram waxed too, eloquently, or what? H went 
> on to suggest that if we needed designs for a starship from somewhere else, 
> all we needed to do was  computer generate it-once we had the trick of 
> generating a description of an Alien civilization.

I remember him making that comment too - possibly in an interview in
New Scientist. I have heard him speak, and he's just as outrageous in
the flesh!

The problem is that Wolfram is way too optimistic about the curse of
dimensionality. He spent most of his life studying quite simple CAs -
usually the one dimensional, local, single hop neighbourhood rules, of
which there are precisely 256 universes to catelogue and characterise.

The real universe is likely to be 11 dimensional, nonlocal with around
10^{122} states, or 2^{10^{122}} possible universes, if indeed it is a
CA at all. Needles in haystacks is a walk in the park by comparison.

In a very real sense, Wolfram's programme has already been pursued for
25 years in the field of Artificial Life. One can get a sense of just
how hard this problem is just by looking at the successes and failures
of that field.

In light of that, pointing a few radio telescopes into the sky and
analysing the data SETI@Home style looks a lot easier. Of course, the
real problem with doing that is Fermi's paradox, which indicates that
approach will never find anything. Still it is worth doing at some
level of resource expenditure, since it is worth testing (trying to
falsify) our theories, and discovering an alien civilisation would be
a dramatic falsification of Fermi's paradox!

> Perhaps yourself, who successfully has postulated a universe from Nothing 
> (Theory of Nothing), or Professor Marchal, could have a whack at Wolfram's 
> proposition?  Would we need gargantuan, grapheme, quantum computer server 
> farms, to undertake this colossal, task, or uncovering ET's emanating from a 
> gigantic, statistical, program? Wolframs idea was why search, why go, when we 
> can work magic through data processing. Can you or anyone else, advise. 
> Thanks.

I'm as keen as the rest of them to let at the problem with a massive
quantum computer, but given the remoteness of having a pratical Q
computer in my professional lifetime, I haven't put much energy into
working out the relevant algorithms.


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email 
to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Reply via email to