Could the Universe Be A Giant Quantum Computer? (Today’s Most Popular)

MIT scientist Seth Lloyd  proposes that information is a quantifiable physical value, as much as mass or motion -that any physical system–a river, you, the universe–is a quantum mechanical computer. Lloyd has calculated that "a computer made up of all the energy in the entire known universe (that is, within the visible “horizon” of forty-two billion light-years) can store about 1092 bits of information and can perform 10105 computations/second." The universe itself is a quantum computer, he says, and it has made a mind-boggling 10122 computations since the Big Bang (for that part of the universe within the “horizon”).

In Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge, Leading and up-and-coming scientists and science writers cast their minds one million years into the future to imagine the fate of the human and/or extraterrestrial galaxy. First attempted by H. G. Wells in his 1893 essay “The Man of the Year Million”—is an exploration into a barely conceivable distant future, where the authors confront possibilities facing future generations of Homo Sapiens. How would the galaxy look if it were redesigned for optimal energy use and maximized intelligence? What is a universe bereft of stars?

Lloyd has proposed that a black hole could serve as a quantum computer and data storage bank. In black holes, he says, Hawking radiation, which escapes the black hole, unintentionally carries information about material inside the black hole. This is because the matter falling into the black hole becomes entangled with the radiation leaving its vicinity, and this radiation captures information on nearly all the matter that falls into the black hole.

“We might be able to figure out a way to essentially program the black hole by putting in the right collection of matter,” he suggests.

There is a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy, perhaps the remnant of an ancient quasar. Could the Milky Way's supermassive black hole (in image above) become the mainframe and central file sharing system for galaxy hackers of the Year Million? A swarm of ten thousand or more smaller black holes may be orbiting it. Might they be able to act as distributed computing nodes and a storage network?

Toward the Year Million, an archival network between stars and between galaxies could develop an Encyclopedia Universica, storing critical information about the universe at multiple redundant locations in those and many other black holes.

Jason McManus via  Year Million Science


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