Consciousness and how it got to be that way

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Finite Universe Must Contain Finite Information

I've recently been criticized for not using quantum computing arithmetic in my meaningless arithmetic post. I assumed that the amount of "stuff" in the universe amounted to rougly 10^80, using fundamental particles. Berkenstein and Schiffer* put a limit on quantum information in the universe at 10^122. Fine. In fact, let's say that even the various quantum computing cheerleaders are all hopelessly narrow-minded and we aren't even near the real upper limit. There is still an upper limit. The point is this: the amount of possible information about a finite universe (and therefore encodable by the universe) is also finite. It must be, if reality exists at all.

*Jacob Bekenstein and Marcelo Schiffer, "Quantum Limitations on the Storage and Transmission of Information", International Journal of Modern Physics v1, pp. 355-422, 1990.


  1. Well, then, it's time to work on better compression algorithms, eh? Either that or conquer parallel universes for space to save our mp3 collections.

  2. Fortunately the universe is lossy. If the universe cannot contain infinitely dense information, it must be.

    There's a Bell Labs paper out there arguing that gravity is a form of information compression. In fact I would extend that to all natural law.