Max Tegmark's quantum library: nihilo
DOES THE UNIVERSE IN FACT CONTAIN ALMOST NO INFORMATION?
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download a postscript file with the paper.
if you are interested in
other research of mine.
At first sight, an accurate description of the state of the
universe appears to require a mind-bogglingly large and
perhaps even infinite amount of information, even if we
restrict our attention to a small subsystem such as a rabbit.
In this paper, it is suggested that most of this information is
merely apparent, as seen from our subjective viewpoints,
and that the algorithmic information content of the
universe as a whole is close to zero.
It is argued that if the Schrödinger equation is
universally valid, then decoherence together with
the standard chaotic behavior of certain non-linear systems will
make the universe appear extremely complex to any self-aware subsets
that happen to inhabit it now, even if it was in a quite simple
state shortly after the big bang.
For instance, gravitational instability would amplify the microscopic
primordial density fluctuations that are required by the
Heisenberg uncertainty principle into quite macroscopic inhomogeneities,
forcing the current wavefunction of the universe to contain such Byzantine
superpositions as our planet being in many macroscopically different
places at once. Since decoherence bars us from experiencing more than
one macroscopic reality, we would see seemingly complex constellations
of stars etc, even if the initial wavefunction of the universe was
perfectly homogeneous and isotropic.
Published in Found. Phys. Lett., 9, 25-42.
This site also contains the latest versions of a paper of mine on
decoherence and wavefunction collapse which is referenced in
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This page was last modified July 1, 1998.