FacebookTwitterYoutubeInstagramGoogle Plus

Rebooting the Cosmos: Is the Universe the Ultimate Computer?

Saturday, June 4, 2011
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

As computers become progressively faster and more powerful, they’ve gained the impressive capacity to simulate increasingly realistic environments. Which raises a question familiar to aficionados of The Matrix—might life and the world as we know it be a simulation on a super advanced computer? “Digital physicists” have developed this idea well beyond the sci-fi possibilities, suggesting a new scientific paradigm in which computation is not just a tool for approximating reality, but is also the basis of reality itself. In place of elementary particles, think bits; in place of fundamental laws of physics, think computer algorithms. But is this a viable approach? Is the universe the ultimate computer running some grand cosmic code? A discussion among the brightest minds in digital physics to explore math, computer science, theories of consciousness, the origin of life, and free will—and delve into a world of information that may underlie everything.


John HockenberryJournalist

Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.

Read More


Edward FredkinComputer Scientist

Edward Fredkin’s computer career started in 1956 when the Air Force assigned him to work at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories. In 1968 he started at MIT as a full professor. From 1971 to 1974 he was the Director of CSAIL and he spent a year at Caltech as a Fairchild Distinguished Scholar, working with Richard Feynman.

Read More
Fotini Markopoulou-KalamaraTheoretical Physicist

A founding member and faculty at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, a research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics, Fotini Markopoulou-Kalamara is a leading researcher in the problem of quantum gravity.

Read More
Jürgen SchmidhuberComputer Scientist, Artist

Jürgen Schmidhuber has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers. His lab’s research on artificial neural nets won several handwriting recognition contests and number one rankings in several computer vision competitions and benchmarks.

Read More
Seth LloydQuantum Mechanical Engineer, MIT

Seth Lloyd was the first person to develop a realizable model for quantum computation and is working with a variety of groups to construct and operate quantum computers and quantum …

Read More