Universe Is A Simulation
Scientists have published a study linking gravitational anomalies and computing power that could provide the key to advanced computer simulations in the future. Reuters

"The Matrix" forever immortalized the idea of slow-motion wall-running and stopping whizzing bullets mid-air with an air of nonchalance and biker shades. It also brought along a scientific theory that has, over-time, forged a vast following in the world of sci-fi theories and conspiracies. The theory that we might all be in a simulation and the world as we know it, is all a computer program.

Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Hebrew University have published a paper in the Science Advances magazine that has proved that such a simulation is impossible, at least with our current knowledge in computing. They went one step further and addressed the complexity and feasibility of such a program existing.

When studying computer simulations of quantum systems, the researchers Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhin, found out that it might be possible for a computer program to simulate life and several quantum systems as we know it. Technically, their theory, if conceptualized, could give computers enough processing ability to simulate an entire life system. But, they found a major stumbling block.

If the resources required for computation processes during a simulation increase linearly with every new particle added to the simulation, then the processing ability required by the simulation to run wouldn't grow too rapidly to be deemed impossible. But, if the need for computational power increases exponentially with every particle added to the system, the need would outgrow the ability to add processing power, rendering the system useless.

A phenomenon known as the Monte-Carlo simulation, which cannot be captured by any local quantum, hence cannot be viewed, is known to exist in many high magnetic fields, low-temperature systems. Since it cannot be measured it has been evading effective numerical simulation algorithms for years.When quantums systems which have been observed, but cannot be simulated exist, these researchers safely determined that this proves that we need to solve the complexities in quantum science such as Monte-Carlo simulation for technology capable of simulating life.

In the field of condensed matter physics, it is called the thermal Hall conductance. In physics concerning the study of high-energy particles, it is known as a gravitational anomaly. The researchers believe that figuring out a small 'sign' problem in this effect could make large-scale quantum simulations possible, effectively making everyone on Earth swallow a red-pill, signaling that it is, in fact, possible that we are all just simulations running around inside a computer program.

The thermal hall effect is the generation of currents in the direction opposite to that of the flow of the temperature particles or medium. It is a basic switch in the symmetry of space-time. The numerical simulation algorithms for this is impossible because of the negative sign they acquire because of the presence of gravitational anomalies in the quantum system. This is known as the sign problem and effectively ruins the application of this because it will not solve the component problem in simulation systems.

"Our work provides an intriguing link between two seemingly unrelated topics: gravitational anomalies and computational complexity. It also shows that the thermal Hall conductance is a genuine quantum effect: one for which no local classical analogue exists," says Zohar Ringel, a professor at Hebrew University, and a co-author of the paper.

By linking gravitational anomalies to computing power, the question of robots taking over human jobs and life is raised, when their computational power exceeds that of a human brain, and they effectively become capable of simulating life.

Ringel added that that amount of complex computing will take years to reach a place where it can outsmart humans and we needn’t worry about it now. "When it comes to a physically important subset of complex quantum data, a class of algorithms as broad as Monte-Carlo algorithms, cannot outsmart us and are not likely to in the near future," he added.