Yes, Virginia, the universe is (probably) realPosted by David Zaslavsky on
It’s been far too long since I posted anything — almost three weeks, in fact, since the end of NaBloWriMo. So I took the time to make a solid writeup of the speculation that we may be living in a computer. Consider it my Christmas present to the blogosphere. Happy holidays everyone!
Have you ever wondered if everything you know might only exist inside some hyperintelligent alien’s computer?
It’s a fun possibility to consider, that we might be living in a computer simulation, and we might even be able to figure out how to manipulate it. It even makes for some great science fiction (as well as some terrible science fiction :-P perhaps). But in reality, figuring out whether the universe is a simulation isn’t as easy as popping a red pill and waking up in an alternate reality with one less layer of abstraction. If we are in a simulation, the way it’s going to reveal itself is in the tiny details of physical processes that take place on sub-subatomic distance scales.
There is actually a branch of physics, lattice QCD, that is entirely devoted to simulating reality. Right now it only works for very …