Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?


Is the universe that we live in a simulation? Notice that I didn’t ask if it was JUST a simulation, because I don’t want to demote a simulation. It may be all we have.

Mathematical truths are objective, necessary and timeless. They teach that in match classes. Of course, math is also a product of the human imagination. And we don’t all agree on the math.

At the risk of sounding like another sequel to The Matrix, people do seriously consider the possibility that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics. We don’t live in the world that we perceive as real.

This kind of theorizing might require a very good computer programmer of the future who could create this simulation that we are part of. You can argue amongst yourselves about who is that very powerful programmer.

So, when we discover a mathematical truth, we are decoding the programmer’s work.

In “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” a group of physicists give their ideas on what they believe is a method that might allow us to decode our world’s simulation. Physicists have been doing computer simulations for quite a while. They do it on rather small scales – like in an atomic nucleus. From their little piece of the universe, they build a three-dimensional grid and run the program.

Okay, it doesn’t show them the matrix of our computer-simulated world, “just” the motion and collisions of elementary particles. But give it a few years…


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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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