Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tia Ghose — Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain

The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature's Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.
"Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks," said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego...
The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.
"For a physicist it's an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," Krioukov said.
It's more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.
"This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it," Krioukov told LiveScience.
Live Science
Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain
Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer | November 26, 2012


Roger Erickson said...

autocatalysis on a universe scale?

comes down to info-shielding vs info-catalysis?

Tom Hickey said...

This networking thing is big, and open source makes it even bigger. I don't think we have any idea at this point how big.

Ryan Harris said...

The relationships between people, ideas, matter, resources, government or even media follow the same fairly simple and homogeneous pattern. In the old days, a simplistic relational model of two dimensions and relations, like the oracle database model was thought to be sufficient to describe it all. Then Google's modest addition to organization with their big-table, which added an extra dimension and a half to the common table allowed for loosely related things to be organized on a massive scale. That was followed by their Spanner which takes it a step further. The spanner superficially appears like advanced physics with geographically distributed arbitrarily large multidimensional tables with precise directional time, external consistency and atomic schema updates. Then of course spatial information was adopted.

It is superficial though because the universe doesn't need tables and keys, simplified data models, disk drives and satellites to keep it all straight. The real thing is itself with real basic measurable properties with the ultimate paradox that vast regions of near vacuum contain infinite complexity yet are punctuated with infinitely compact and massive areas of almost perfect simplicity that make us able to simplify and model them.

Networks and information look more like the world and universe (or brain) because the maths, methods, knowledge, philosophy and understanding from studying the real things were used to organize data and networks.

The pattern emerges that old fashioned (Mosler/MMT?) simpleton models become a small part of a (Hickey) network that relentlessly gathers and stores more and more information at an ever faster rate with the irony that the network organizes based on relevance to simpleton models and the simpleton models obtain the resources they need from the network.

I think of it like a little seedling, gathering what it can from the world around it. It is no mistake that the seedling exists in the ecosystem where it sprouted. There is far more than what it needs of some resources and not near enough of others that constrain the state of the organism at any moment. That struggle, the search, the waiting for the little seedling is the essence and basic struggle of all the universe and all of life and all studies. It comes down to that same problem of whether or not you have enough data, food, complexity, heat, mass, money, to complete, solve, react finish or understand. It sounds stupid and cliche but it's only because it is so obvious and frustratingly simple. No matter which bottle neck you solve, it only gets us so far. An asymmetry exists, the interconnectedness of state and dearth of something is what keeps everything from completing in one giant instantaneous bang. I sound like I smoked a giant joint but I swear I didn't inhale.

Matt Franko said...

Ryan I want to party with you! ;) rsp

Tom Hickey said...

NIce simple model.

"Seeding" is an old favorite of mine that I learned from an early mentor. Too often we think in terms of solving a problem definitively rather than seeding the future.

Nature is evolutionary = experimental, and we are part of the experiment as well as conscious and intentional participants in it, albeit with limited knowledge/information at any point.

In a larger sense, when the universe expands what is expanding is information. Nature has also evolved information processing systems in the form of nervous systems capable of cognizing and using information.

googleheim said...

A black hole is evidence of a giant brain flagellance