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In C. Freksa, ed., Foundations of Computer Science: Potential - Theory - Cognition

Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 201-208, Springer, 1997.

A Computer Scientist's View of
Life, the Universe, and Everything

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Jürgen Schmidhuber

IDSIA, Lugano, Switzerland

December 1996


Is the universe computable? If so, it may be much cheaper in terms of information requirements to compute all computable universes instead of just ours. I apply basic concepts of Kolmogorov complexity theory to the set of possible universes, and chat about perceived and true randomness, life, generalization, and learning in a given universe.

Post publication note: Konrad Zuse was the first who seriously suggested the universe is being computed on a grid of computers or cellular automaton (digital physics); compare similar ideas by Ed Fredkin. They did not talk about computing all computable universes though. This paper and related ones are being discussed on the "everything" mailing list ( created by Wei Dai. Follow this link to the archive. Pointers to more recent papers on the computable universes can be found here and here.


Juergen Schmidhuber

Related links: In the beginning was the code! - Zuse's thesis - Algorithmic Theories of Everything - Generalized Algorithmic Information - Speed Prior - The New AI