From Silas Beane, at the University of Bonn in Germany, comes new evidence that the universe we live in is indeed a computer simulation:
It's this kind of thinking that forces physicists to consider the possibility that our entire cosmos could be running on a vastly powerful computer. If so, is there any way we could ever know?
Today, we get an answer of sorts from Silas Beane, at the University of Bonn in Germany, and a few pals. They say there is a way to see evidence that we are being simulated, at least in certain scenarios.
First, some background. The problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time.
The question that Beane and co ask is whether the lattice spacing imposes any kind of limitation on the physical processes we see in the universe. They examine, in particular, high energy processes, which probe smaller regions of space as they get more energetic
What they find is interesting. They say that the lattice spacing imposes a fundamental limit on the energy that particles can have. That's because nothing can exist that is smaller than the lattice itself.
So if our cosmos is merely a simulation, there ought to be a cut off in the spectrum of high energy particles.
It turns out there is exactly this kind of cut off in the energy of cosmic ray particles, a limit known as the Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin or GZK cut off.
Let's just hope they keep running the simulation through to completion. Also, this suggests all kind of interesting Inception-style questions: e.g. At just what level of simulation are we running? Or Matrix-style: Can we hack the simulation and modify our own limits?