Sometimes facts are stranger than fiction (go read some quantum theory and you’ll know what I mean) and scientists at the University of Washington are out to discover if the universe we live in is really nothing more than a computer simulation from the future.
Is the universe just a computer simulation?
If your name is Neo then right about now you’d be saying, “Whoa”. You might also be laughing off the question as if it’s absurd. It doesn’t matter which side you stand on, scientists from the University of Washington are conducting experiments to find out if our universe is just a computer simulation. Here’s an abstract from the paper:
Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.
It may sounds crazy but a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water.Professor Martin Savage, one of the physicists working on the project says, “Imagine the situation where we get a big enough computer to simulate our universe, and we start such a simulation on our computers. If that simulation runs long enough, and have the same laws as our universe, then something like our universe will emerge within that simulations, and the situation will repeat itself within each simulation.”
Our supercomputers today, using a technique called lattice quantum chromodynamics and starting from the fundamental physical laws that govern the universe can simulate only a very small portion of the universe. A REALLY small portion on the scale of one 100-trillionth of a meter, a little larger than the nucleus of an atom. That said, if you made the simulation large enough the physicists will, in a nutshell, be looking at the distribution of the highest energy cosmic rays in order to try and detect patterns that could suggest that the universe is the creation of some futuristic computer technology. Their claim is “If you make the simulations big enough, something like our universe should emerge.” Then we’d just look for a signature in OUR universe that has an analog equivalent in the current small-scale simulations.
In a paper they posted on arXiv they say that the highest-energy cosmic rays would not travel along the edges of the lattice in the model but would travel diagonally, and they would not interact equally in all directions as they otherwise would be expected to do.
You can read more here and decide if you want to take the red pill or the blue pill.