According to new estimates indicate that the visible universe may contain roughly approximately 6 x 10 ^ 800, or 600 billion billion billion billion bits of information.
The findings can affect the possibility of speculating that the universe is actually a gigantic computer simulation.
Behind this extraordinary number lies an even stranger hypothesis. Six decades ago, German-American physicist Rolf Landauer proposed a type of equivalence between information and energy, as erasing a digital bit in a computer produces a small amount of heat, a type of energy.
According to Albert Einstein’s famous equation E = mc ^ 2, which states that energy and matter are different forms, Melvin Vopson, a physicist at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, previously conjectured a relationship between information, mass and energy.
“Using the equivalence principle of mass-energy information, I speculated that information might be the dominant form of matter in the universe,”. He added that this information can even explain dark matter, the mysterious matter that makes up most of the matter in cosmos.
Vopson aimed to determine the amount of information within a single subatomic particle, such as a proton or neutron. He said these entities can be fully explained by three basic properties: mass, charge, and spin.
“These properties make elementary particles distinguishable from each other and can be regarded as information,” he added.
The information has a specific definition first given by American mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon in a groundbreaking 1948 article called “Mathematical Theory of Communication.” Shannon introduced the concept of bits, observing the maximum efficiency with which information can be transmitted. It can have a value of 0 or 1, just as information is measured in feet or meters, or temperature is measured in degrees, and is used to measure units of information. Will be done.
Using Shannon’s equation, Vopson calculated that a proton or neutron must contain the equivalent of 1,509-bit encoded information. Vopson then derived an estimate of the total number of observable particles in the universe, about 10^80, to determine the total amount of information in the cosmos. This corresponds to the previous estimate. Their findings appeared in October 19. AIP Advances.
The resulting numbers are high, but still not large enough to cause dark matter in the universe, Vopson said. In his previous work, he estimated that he would need about 10^93 pieces of information to do so, which is 10 trillion times more than one he derived.
“The number I calculated was less than I expected,” he said, adding that he didn’t know why. Important things may not have been taken into account in particle-focused calculations such as protons and neutrons, but entities such as electrons, neutrinos, and quarks were ignored. According to Vopson, only protons and neutrons can store information about themselves.
He admits that the assumptions may be wrong and that other particles may also store information about themselves.
As such, their results can differ significantly from previous calculations of cosmic information, which tend to be much higher, according to Yale University astronomer Gregory Laughlin, who was not involved in this study. Stated.
“We’re not ignoring the elephants in the room, we’re ignoring the 10 billion elephants in the room,” Laughlin told about many particles not considered in the new estimates.
These calculations aren’t immediately applicable, but Laughlin says they can be useful for those who speculate that the visible cosmos is actually a gigantic computer simulation. He said this assumed simulation hypothesis was a “very fascinating idea.”
“It’s interesting to calculate the content of the information, basically the number of bits of memory that needed for the [universe],” he added.
But so far, the simulation hypothesis remains just a hypothesis. “There is no way to know if this is true,” Laughlin said.
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