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Tags Hugh Everett , quantum mechanics

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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:08 AM   #201
steenkh
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It's always possible that I'm wrong, but he seems to be pretty consistent in his discussions of Many Worlds: there's no collapse of the wavefunction, it just goes on evolving, and as it branches no branch is treated as more real than any other. I've heard him talk quite often about how under many worlds before you do a measurement the probability of any of the possible outcomes of that measurement is actually 1, as it will happen in some branch of the wavefunction, so what we mean by the probability (arrived at through the Born rule) has to be more carefully defined (the definition he favors being related to one's uncertainty about which branch of the wavefunction one is on).
I looked up the quote I talked about in ďFrom Eternity to HereĒ, and although it doesnít quite say what I said that it says, it also in my mind does not exactly say what you said - but as I mentioned, I am out of my depth here. The quote is from page 251 in my edition:
Quote:
People sometimes raise the objection to the many-worlds interpretation that it's simply too extravagant to be taken seriously - all those different "parallel realities," infinite in number, just so that we don't have to believe in wave function collapse. That's silly. Before we made an observation, the universe was described by a single wave function, which assigned a particular amplitude to every possible observational outcome; after the observation, the universe is described by a single wave function, which assigns a particular amplitude to every possible observational outcome. Before and after, the wave function of the universe is just a particular point in the space of states describing the universe, and that space of states didn't get any bigger or smaller. No new "worlds" have really been created; the wave function still contains the same amount of information (after all, in this interpretation its evolution is reversible). It has simply evolved in such a way that there are now a greater number of distinct subsets of the wave function describing individual conscious beings such as ourselves. The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics may or may not be right, but to object to it on the grounds that "Gee, that's a lot of worlds," is wrong-headed.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 10:10 AM   #202
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We seem to have lost the plot. The goal is for the mainstream physics community -- as represented by the editorship and readership of the standard literature in that field -- to acknowledge that Mike Helland's proposed computer program expresses what Everett meant by an observer in his theory. I have no interest in whether he can get published on some benign topic associated with his claim. Any publication that fails to address that central question is of no interest to me.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:03 PM   #203
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
We seem to have lost the plot. The goal is for the mainstream physics community -- as represented by the editorship and readership of the standard literature in that field -- to acknowledge that Mike Helland's proposed computer program expresses what Everett meant by an observer in his theory. I have no interest in whether he can get published on some benign topic associated with his claim. Any publication that fails to address that central question is of no interest to me.
Right.

I make a computer model that contains within it, with no special rules for it, a machine that produces measurement records based on its interactions.

I publish it as Everett's Observer, and people go "Oh, yeah, that's definitely Everett's observer."

To me this all pretty self-evident. But someone will have to be the first to actually do it. And the technology is about ready.... maybe.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:14 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Right.

I make a computer model that contains within it, with no special rules for it, a machine that produces measurement records based on its interactions.

My understanding is that this can be done and has frequently been done in Minecraft, entirely within the rules of Minecraft. (I've seen Minecraft calculators, tic tac toe games, and many other state machines).

In what important way will your computer model differ from that?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:21 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
My understanding is that this can be done and has frequently been done in Minecraft, entirely within the rules of Minecraft. (I've seen Minecraft calculators, tic tac toe games, and many other state machines).

In what important way will your computer model differ from that?
The measurement records part.

The internal machine should produce output (like a virtual printer printing a virtual piece of paper) that contains records of what it has observed.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:54 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
The measurement records part.

The internal machine should produce output (like a virtual printer printing a virtual piece of paper) that contains records of what it has observed.

I don't see any way to make a firm distinction between the internal state of the internal machine, and the state of any "output." If they're all virtual and operating within the rules of the simulator, the state of the "virtual paper" is no different from the state of the machine (e.g. the "display" of the calculator). If necessary it's easy using ordinary switching logic to rig some portion of the automaton to lock out further changes once set to certain states. That portion can be regarded as a permanent "output" if you want, but it's still just state machinery acting by its rules. It's all clearly possible in Minecraft.

So would such a Minecraft construct meet the goals of your model?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 03:59 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I don't see any way to make a firm distinction between the internal state of the internal machine, and the state of any "output." If they're all virtual and operating within the rules of the simulator, the state of the "virtual paper" is no different from the state of the machine (e.g. the "display" of the calculator). If necessary it's easy using ordinary switching logic to rig some portion of the automaton to lock out further changes once set to certain states. That portion can be regarded as a permanent "output" if you want, but it's still just state machinery acting by its rules. It's all clearly possible in Minecraft.

So would such a Minecraft construct meet the goals of your model?
It should be possible in any turing complete language.

You could do it in powerpoint if you hated life that much!
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:02 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I don't see any way to make a firm distinction between the internal state of the internal machine, and the state of any "output." If they're all virtual and operating within the rules of the simulator, the state of the "virtual paper" is no different from the state of the machine (e.g. the "display" of the calculator). If necessary it's easy using ordinary switching logic to rig some portion of the automaton to lock out further changes once set to certain states. That portion can be regarded as a permanent "output" if you want, but it's still just state machinery acting by its rules. It's all clearly possible in Minecraft.

So would such a Minecraft construct meet the goals of your model?
You'd basically be using minecraft to build a new computer, and then go about solving the task on the new computer.

So not a particularly useful step to take.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:07 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
You'd basically be using minecraft to build a new computer, and then go about solving the task on the new computer.

So not a particularly useful step to take.

I completely agree.

Please explain how what you're planning to do is any different.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:42 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I completely agree.

Please explain how what you're planning to do is any different.
Take that minecraft calculator.

Now make a minecraft camera and minecraft neural net.

I don't know minecraft at all that well, but aren't there horses?

So, now your minecraft calcualtor can tell us how many horses it can see.

That would be an observer.

Unfortunately, the observer also has to see things like the double slit experiment. Not sure how possible that would be with the physics of minecraft.

But.... you could use the physics of minecraft to build a computer to run another physics on that does produce an observer who see the double slit experiment.

But.... that would be silly. The model will be built in C.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:43 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
I make a computer model that contains within it, with no special rules for it, a machine that produces measurement records based on its interactions.
If what you propose to publish is a computer model, or the description of one, then what you've stated above is underspecified.

Your "machine," as you've previously alluded, must be modeled by a composition of macro-scale objects. You've previously alluded to such things as webcams and virtualized computers. My contention is that Everett intended his observers to operate at the quantum scale. You seem to be contending that he intended macro-scale objects such as those he cited as illustrations. It must be clear in your model and discussion that macro scale is the scale you believe observations happen in Everett's formulation. This is one of the points the mainstream physics community must endorse.

"Measurement records" cannot just be anything. While Everett does not precisely define a "measurement record," he clearly outlines the mathematical properties it would need to have in order to work in his model, and to engage it with the larger requirements of quantum mechanics. And these are not trivial requirements. A representation of a record that you cannot show will satisfy those mathematical requirements does not qualify.

Similarly, "interaction" cannot be just anything you imagine. Everett spells out, in the ordinary terms of quantum mechanics, what the mathematical properties of a qualifying interaction must be in his model. You'll need to show how the interactions that occur in your model satisfy the mathematical properties called out in Everett's papers.

Let's be clear: you don't succeed by modeling what you think an Everett observer is, or only as much of it as you understand, or as much as your computer science skills allow. You seem to think all you need to do is virtualize something like the actual machines Everett named. You must convince the physics community that your model of an Everett observer is complete enough to qualify by standards Everett himself would likely have applied, especially his mathematical requirements.

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I publish it as Everett's Observer, and people go "Oh, yeah, that's definitely Everett's observer."
Let's be clear. Not just "people," but professional and academic physicists who have previously published on Everett's work, or its various follow ups. They have to cite your work.

And acceptance is not merely to say you have a computer program that merely illustrates how an Everettian observer might work. Acceptance includes the endorsement of the proposition that the literal apparatus you model should qualify as an example of what Everett literally intended his observers to be. There can't be any confusion over whether you're "analogizing" or "illustrating" or proposing only a symbolic correspondence.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:44 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
So, now your minecraft calcualtor can tell us how many horses it can see.
That is not an observation as Everett uses the term in his theory.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:46 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
That is not an observation as Everett uses the term in his theory.
According to you.

Everett talks about measurement records as punches on tape.

They could represent horses, or the output of a photon-counter.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:49 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Your "machine," as you've previously alluded, must be modeled by a composition of macro-scale objects. You've previously alluded to such things as webcams and virtualized computers. My contention is that Everett intended his observers to operate at the quantum scale. You seem to be contending that he intended macro-scale objects such as those he cited as illustrations. It must be clear in your model and discussion that macro scale is the scale you believe observations happen in Everett's formulation. This is one of the points the mainstream physics community must endorse.
In my model, there is only the particles, and things built with them.

Web cams in my model are just collections of modeled particles (like a real web cam is just collection of particles)

Quote:
Let's be clear. Not just "people," but professional and academic physicists who have previously published on Everett's work, or its various follow ups. They have to cite your work.
...
And acceptance is not merely to say you have a computer program that merely illustrates how an Everettian observer might work. Acceptance includes the endorsement of the proposition that the literal apparatus you model should qualify as an example of what Everett literally intended his observers to be. There can't be any confusion over whether you're "analogizing" or "illustrating" or proposing only a symbolic correspondence.
Sure.

I mean, in my eyes, it'll be either an obvious failure, or a stunning success.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:50 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Take that minecraft calculator.

Now make a minecraft camera and minecraft neural net.

I don't know minecraft at all that well, but aren't there horses?

So, now your minecraft calcualtor can tell us how many horses it can see.

That would be an observer.

Unfortunately, the observer also has to see things like the double slit experiment. Not sure how possible that would be with the physics of minecraft.

Does the simulated observer observe a real-world double-slit experiment, or a simulated one?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:52 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Does the simulated observer observe a real-world double-slit experiment, or a simulated one?
Simulated one.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:55 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
In my model, there is only the particles, and things built with them.
Then you still don't understand what a level of abstraction is.

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I mean, in my eyes, it'll be either an obvious failure, or a stunning success.
As long as we agree on what constitutes success.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:59 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
According to you.
No, according to Everett.

Quote:
Everett talks about measurement records as punches on tape.
Merely as an intuitive illustration of an observer's abstract need to memorize. And because those are the only parts of his papers that you can understand, you don't know what he actually was trying to say.

Quote:
They could represent horses, or the output of a photon-counter.
No. Everett begins his mathematical discussion by defining, in terms of mathematics, what constitutes a suitable observation. It has nothing to do with horses, photons, or punches on paper tape. Again, you are simply foundering in unjustified literalism. Your job is to convince actual physicists -- who do understand the math -- that your literal reading is correct.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:02 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Then you still don't understand what a level of abstraction is.
Let's say here's the particle array.

var particles = []

Maybe I want to manually add an electron.

particles.push[{mass: ELECTRON_MASS, charge: ELECTRON_CHARGE, entangledWith: [], distance: 1}]

Basically we've added particle that has the mass of an electron, the charge of an electron, and a few other things that might be helpful.

Let's say I don't want to do that all the time. I end up writing something like this:

particles.push[new Electron()]

Ultimately, the Electron class helps me construct the initial conditions. It shouldn't do anything other than that.

I still end up with the same particles array either way.

Is that a new level of abstraction?

Let's let's say I wanted to make a carbon atom now. I'll need electrons, protons, and neutrons.

I could add them all individually, but let's say I make some helper functions for that too.

particles.push([new Atom(6)])

Is that a new level of abstraction?

I still wind up with an array of particles for the initial conditions.

How about if I build molecules, or a glass water, or a lens and a sensor? How about a circuit?

Are those levels of abstractions?

Or are they compounds of fundamental particles?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:08 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Maybe I want to manually add an electron.
Your problem isn't in how you build your data. It's in how you conceptualize its behavior later. I identified that as a flaw in your algorithm a day or two ago and asked you to address it. You didn't.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:11 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
particles.push([new Atom(6)])

That wouldn't be right, of course.

More like:
Code:
makeAtom(6, particles)

function makeAtom(atomicWeight, particles) {
    for (far i = 0: i < atomicWeight; i++) {
        particles.push(makeParticle(-1)) //electron
        particles.push(makeParticle(1)) // proton
        particles.push(makeParticle(0)) // neutron
     }
}
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:12 PM   #222
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Your problem isn't in how you build your data. It's in how you conceptualize its behavior later. I identified that as a flaw in your algorithm a day or two ago and asked you to address it. You didn't.
Yeah.

You'd need to sort through the the particle array and work out where the data you want is stored.

We could probably train an external AI (an non-Everettian observer) to helps us with that.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:13 PM   #223
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
That wouldn't be right, of course.
Is it your contention that every hydrogen atom should have the same initial conditions for all its constituent particles?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:14 PM   #224
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Simulated one.

Okay, I thought so, but I wanted to make sure.

Here's the big question: how will the double slit experiment be simulated?

I see two possibilities.

One possibility is, you calculate the evolution of the wave equation for the entire system (emitter, slits, screen, and all). Unfortunately, this is not practicable.

The other possibility is, you simulate the system using higher-level abstractions such as particles or waves or probability distributions. In which case, you're adding assumptions and not actually testing quantum mechanics.

The same dilemma exists for the "observer" parts of your system.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:15 PM   #225
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Is it your contention that every hydrogen atom should have the same initial conditions for all its constituent particles?
Uh, well, no. Of course not.

The electron of a hydrogen atom would be a shell around the proton of the same atom.

There's the exclusion principle too.

I think you're nitpicking my example code now.

I'll start a github repo and give you updates.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:16 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
You'd need to sort through the the particle array and work out where the data you want is stored.
Assuming you could do that, what do you do then with the subset of particles that you've decided constitute, say, your webcam? How do you interpret that data in a way that tells you something that's proper to a webcam?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:18 PM   #227
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
I looked up the quote I talked about in ďFrom Eternity to HereĒ, and although it doesnít quite say what I said that it says, it also in my mind does not exactly say what you said - but as I mentioned, I am out of my depth here. The quote is from page 251 in my edition:
Everything he said in that quote is correct, but I think you may be misinterpreting it. The "many worlds" are just different parts of that single universal wavefunction that he's talking about. His point is that there is just that wavefunction and it evolves according to the schroedinger equation. But that doesn't mean that wavefunction doesn't include different branches which, due to decoherence, don't interact with one another.

The point is just that the worlds don't spring magically into existence any more than an electron in a superposition of spin up and spin down magically went from one electron in a definite state two electrons with opposite spin. It's wavefunction just spread out. And "many worlds" is just that process continuing across many particles.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:19 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
I think you're nitpicking my example code now.
You're the one choosing to give answers in the form of program code. What I'm doing is identifying deficiencies in your concept of the problem. It's neither a nitpick nor a reflection of your code. You're trying to solve the abstraction problem by sweeping it under the carpet.

Quote:
I'll start a github repo and give you updates.
I have no desire to read your code or babysit your project.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:21 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Assuming you could do that, what do you do then with the subset of particles that you've decided constitute, say, your webcam? How do you interpret that data in a way that tells you something that's proper to a webcam?
I think the process would be something like this

1. photon bounce off an object
2. photons reach the web cam
3. electrical signals are sent to a processor
4. input signals are processed into ouput
5. output is printed on paper

I would define the observer in such a way to print or otherwise display the measurement record.

That is, find the measurement record after the web cam, after the processing (may or may not involve a neural net), and in some basic storage, be it RAM or simulated screens, but I think paper punches or pencil lead (atom(6)) would be the cleanest solution.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:22 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I have no desire to read your code or babysit your project.
Except you seem to be doing that now.

Fine.

I'll go away.

I'll back in 12 months.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:32 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
I think the process would be something like this

1. photon bounce off an object
You don't have objects. You have a array of particles.

Quote:
2. photons reach the web cam
You don't have a webcam. You have an array of particles. Anything expressing the behavior of something called "webcam" occurs at a higher level of abstraction than is expressed in your data model.

Quote:
3. electrical signals are sent to a processor
You don't have "electrical signals" or a "processor." You have an array of particles. I hope you can see where I'm going with this. Your data exists as nothing but elementary particles. But all the behavior you need to model exists as behaviors attached to macro-scale objects. Handwaving allusions to "some AI" aren't solving this problem. You're whiplashing indiscriminately between the macro scale and the elementary particle scale.

Guess how Everett solved this problem?

Quote:
I think paper punches or pencil lead (atom(6)) would be the cleanest solution.
Outline a proof for how that would satisfy Everett's mathematical qualification for a good candidate observation.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:36 PM   #232
Ziggurat
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Yeah.

You'd need to sort through the the particle array and work out where the data you want is stored.

We could probably train an external AI (an non-Everettian observer) to helps us with that.
You have clearly spent a lot of time thinking about this, but itís also clear that you donít actually know any quantum mechanics, because you are thinking about it wrong. You seem to think that your data set will consist of separate wave functions for each particle, and your data set will thus grow linearly with particle number. But it doesnít work that way. There is only one wave function, and the size of the data set needed to describe it grows exponentially (and with a VERY big exponent) for each particle included.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:39 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Except you seem to be doing that now.
Here on this forum I am forced to read your pseudocode because that's all you seem to be able to give as an answer. And that's not especially inappropriate, since what you're proposing to produce is a computer program. But the questions I'm asking are better answered at a more conceptual level. If you write pseudocode or partial code, I'm forced to try to determine what parts of it I should take literally (as finished code is a literal solution), and which parts I should consider placeholders for things to be added later. If you simply discuss the concepts in English -- or better, describe them more rigidly using mathematics -- then there's less danger of taking it literally.

As far as setting up a Github repository for me to follow along as you develop, I'm simply not interested.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 06:08 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You have clearly spent a lot of time thinking about this, but itís also clear that you donít actually know any quantum mechanics, because you are thinking about it wrong. You seem to think that your data set will consist of separate wave functions for each particle, and your data set will thus grow linearly with particle number. But it doesnít work that way. There is only one wave function, and the size of the data set needed to describe it grows exponentially (and with a VERY big exponent) for each particle included.

Which is what I was getting at when speaking of the "not practicable" first option for how to run the simulation. (Not "impractical"; it can't be done.)
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Old 3rd January 2021, 07:09 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You seem to think that your data set will consist of separate wave functions for each particle, and your data set will thus grow linearly with particle number.
I might be wrong. But I don't think his model incorporates any notion of a wave function. I tried to ask him what his particle model was, but I got only a partial answer.
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