Sunday, November 30, 2014
Bomber in flight
...approaching target...wait! Can't fall into that trap again, can I!? No hints about the bomber's location
Since I figure I've beaten the 'finalizing the Octember update' horse to death, instead I'll just throw in an interest tidbit from my day. After mind-numbing hours of work, I needed to take a break, so (for reasons unknown) I settled on watching a rather interesting video
(seriously, it's only an hour long, that's not too much of a break, right!?
It really fascinated me. In a world where I had infinite time (such a tantalizing thought
), I think I would definitely want to study theoretical physics. But just watching this video was enough for now
It absolutely amazes me, though, and the more I think and learn about our universe, the more profoundly puzzled I become. Sadly, I'm completely bottlenecked by my (lack of) physics knowledge here. But from my rudimentary understanding of it all, it would seem to be the case that, essentially, we have shown the informational content
of our universe to be of a lower dimensionality than it appears, or than we would expect. I couldn't help but be reminded of a time long ago when I first read about quantum uncertainty. One of my most immediate reactions to it (after getting over the initial shock) was that it sounded an awful lot like some form of exotic compression -- like the encoding of our universe is perhaps more sparse than it seems, hence the inability to accurately measure every facet of it at a given moment. I didn't give much more thought to it all, again, since I'm nothing short of a plebeian when it comes to physics knowledge. And yet, seeing this video, I once again couldn't help but consider this connection to compression. I don't know much, but I do get the very sharp feeling that, whatever's going on here, it's very, very interesting.
It actually makes me think back to when I was working hardcore on the LT universe simulation architecture. I had developed some rather interesting compression technology to enable simulation of massive regions at lower computational cost. That technology involved something not so unfamiliar to quantum uncertainty: far away pieces of the universe would be compressed into grouped objects, wherein individual units of 'detailed' data would be lost, but the coarse, 'low-resolution image,' so to speak, would remain (and details would be filled in with controlled randomness when it was once again time to expand the coarse data). For example, a far-off battle simulation might result in the outcome that x damage was dealt to (X, Y, Z) group of objects (such as a fleet), but the detail
of exactly which
object had received the damage would not be resolved in memory until it was actually 'observed.' In case you're curious, I ultimately dropped this solution in favor of a more practical LOD mechanism, despite the fact that I still love the underlying theory
of performing coarse simulation via hierarchical data compression. But here's the thing: ultimately, while I did
develop a mechanism for compressing universes for LOD sim, the dimensionality of calculations remained the same. Unless one were to create exponentially
larger groupings (hence, drop exponentially more data at long distances), the underlying time complexity of the algorithms would remain the same, up to a constant factor.
Now, on the other hand, if one were to develop a scheme in which the actual dimensionality
of data were compressed -- one could, in principle, drop the time complexity
of the simulation algorithm. For example, going from O(n^3) to O(n^2). This is not a mere constant factor, but an 'asymptotic' speed-up. If one could develop a mechanism for compressing
a universe into a lower dimensionality, simulating it at that lower dimensionality, and then expanding
it again upon observation, one could actually create the illusion of a full simulation, but while running that simulation asymptotically faster. Do you see why I am so fascinated by our reality?
It's just something to think about, and definitely a long shot. But I'm just saying...if I were going to try to simulate something like a universe whilst appearing to do the whole thing at full detail at all times
(not the case as in LT), I would probably need to find some exceptionally clever mechanism for drastically compressing the information that is actually simulated
. Doing so would inevitably lead to certain patterned artifacts in the expanded information that, given careful enough observation, might even be used to deduce the nature of the compressed simulation.
Anyway. Perhaps that's a more interesting tidbit to read than "update's coming! I promise"
Sometime when I've actually got some time (day off?) I'll be giving this some more reading and thought (in the mean time, anyone who actually knows about these things should absolutely consider schooling me if my understanding is way off the mark
Truly, this place we call our universe is nothing short of an exquisite puzzle. I've absolutely no idea what's really going on here, but I feel quite thrilled just to be a part of it all
In the mean time, I'll carry on creating my own little universes. How exciting