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The Nature of Reality

Is Information Fundamental?

25 Apr 2014, 20:18 UTC
Is Information Fundamental?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

What if the fundamental “stuff” of the universe isn’t matter or energy, but information?
That’s the idea some theorists are pursuing as they search for ever-more elegant and concise descriptions of the laws that govern our universe. Could our universe, in all its richness and diversity, really be just a bunch of bits?
To understand the buzz over information, we have to start at the beginning: What is information?
This is.
So is an image like this:

Credit: Les Taylor/Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.
And an equation like this:

“It doesn’t matter whether something consists of equations, words, images or sounds—you can encode any of that in strings of zeroes and ones,” or bits, says Scott Aaronson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. Your computer is doing it right now, using tiny magnets, capacitors, and transistors to store billions or trillions of binary digits. “These might have been hard concepts for people to understand a century ago, but because of the computer revolution, we deal with these concepts all the time,” says Aaronson. In an age when a USB drive dangles from every keychain and an iPhone strains the seams of every pocket, it ...

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