Monday, 4 October 2010

Information Physics - The New Frontier?

As classical reductionist physics collides with the quantum brick wall, an information systems model of our universe seems to be emerging. A recent abstract published on arXiv by Professor Kevin Knuth, from the Information Physics Laboratory at the University at Albany in Albany in New York, articulates ways that "Information Physics" may be a new technique to derive new physical laws.

In this seemingly controversial abstract, Knuth writes:

"At this point in time, two major areas of physics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, rest on the foundations of probability and entropy. The last century saw several significant fundamental advances in our understanding of the process of inference, which make it clear that these are inferential theories. That is, rather than being a description of the behavior of the universe, these theories describe how observers can make optimal predictions about the universe. In such a picture, information plays a critical role. What is more is that little clues, such as the fact that black holes have entropy, continue to suggest that information is fundamental to physics in general.

In the last decade, our fundamental understanding of probability theory has led to a Bayesian revolution. ...I will introduce [a] new way of thinking by demonstrating how one can quantify partially-ordered sets and, in the process, derive physical laws. The implication is that physical law does not reflect the order in the universe, instead it is derived from the order imposed by our description of the universe. Information physics, which is based on understanding the ways in which we both quantify and process information about the world around us, is a fundamentally new approach to science."


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