[ExI] Evolved Complexity

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue May 5 09:40:08 UTC 2020

On Mon, May 4, 2020 at 8:31 PM The Avantguardian via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

Leave it to Wolfram to try to brute force a theory of everything. I have
> been looking over his website but I can't seem to find where he mentions
> specific figures like the 10^35 parts to an electron. I am a little
> skeptical of his claims to be honest. To say that the entire universe could
> arise from a simple recursive rule that adds nodes and edges to a
> hypergraph sounds a little bit like saying that 42 is the answer to
> everything. And we certainly can't experimentally probe distances that are
> smaller relative to a Planck length than the Planck length is to us. With
> our best supercomputer, we can't even iterate candidate rules 10^35 times
> within the age of the universe in order to see if we can simulate an
> electron. His theory is not experimentally testable and is not practical to
> compute with modern hardware.
> ---------------------------

### See here:

"One feature of our models is that there should be a “quantum of mass”—a
discrete amount that all masses, for example of particles, are multiples
of. With our estimate for the elementary length, this quantum of mass would
be small, perhaps 10–30, or 1036 times smaller than the mass of the

42 is just a number in Douglas Adams' imagination. Wolfram on the other
hand proposes a research program into the mathematics of hypergraphs that
so far produced intriguing results, so it's certainly more than just idle
musings. It's true that at present there are significant computational
obstacles to precisely following a hypergraph's evolution until you reach
realms accessible to experiments but that's not a reason to reject the
idea. There is structure to the space of rules, as he mentions in his
introduction, so who knows, maybe there will be shortcuts. Also, the idea
of "oligons" as candidate dark matter could help bring the program closer
to being testable.

> -------------------------------------
> Where do the moving parts come from one?  It seems like he is saying that
> you can start with platonic bits and get matter particles out of them after
> an insane number of iterations. I don't see how that is possible by
> mathematical induction. Or is he positing some sort of ur-particle more
> fundamental that the standard model of which quarks and electrons are built
> and that his nodes and edges represent?

### Well, he says the world is made of math, and that would be much more
fundamental than the Standard Model. His ur-particle would be a graph, and
the passage of time is defined by a simple rule applied to the graph,
weaving both space *and* matter out of that ur-particle. Since there is an
infinity of graphs and rules and their combinations, there is an infinity
of deterministic universes created from such entities, with infinite
strands of time issuing from each graph thanks to different rules, and
infinite parallel worlds following each time dimension given different
starting graphs. That's trivial - but the interesting part is that he is
finding structures that have parallels to physics and "naturally" produce
some high-level physical concepts even at the basic level he is

A big difference from many other physical theories here is that the
hypergraphs create both space and matter, rather than having objects
(particles) play out against a background of pre-existing space.

> --------------------------------
> I have to admit that Wolfram's theory seems superficially similar to my
> recent work on what I call "synergistic systems" or systems comprised of
> simpler components that display emergent properties that the individual
> parts themselves do not have. I have been mathematically analyzing how the
> whole can be greater than the sum of the parts as it were. An example
> application for my theory is deriving a mathematical description of why
> water is wet or how cells can live while composed of unliving molecules.
> The main similarity between our theories is that we both use hypergraphs
> but his approach is recursive and my approach is more closed-form and
> holistic. I am trying to explain how complex systems work and not
> necessarily trying to be "fundamental". For example, my theory assumes
> quantum mechanics instead of trying to derive it from simpler theory.

### Give him a call!

> His description of time is problematic. It seems to assume a sort of
> universal time that would violate GR. How do you resolve conflicts between
> hypergraph elements as to which came first in temporal order and so would
> be able to have the rule applied to them to generate the other?
> Does F(chicken) = egg or F(egg) = chicken?

### The rule is applied to the parent hypergraphs in all possible ways to
generate all possible daughter graphs (but at each step the number of
entities created is finite, since we are talking about a finite starting
graph and a finite rule). He mentions that some of his hypergraphs
replicate GR, he defines spacelike and timelike directions in the graphs,
but of course as a non-physicist I can't visualize it in enough detail.

> It is an interesting idea, I just think it gets a little hand wavy about
> at which step the bit becomes an it. Of course a Platonic modal realist
> might say that all self-consistent maths correspond to the laws of physics
> in some universe somewhere but then how did those laws get sorted from the
> Platonic commons to a universe near you? Also, how does pure determinism
> simulate quantum randomness? Or does a single simple rule generate ALL
> possible universes?

### Well, the anthropic principle would sort us out to the universes that
make us possible. Since there is an infinity of conceivable rules, there is
an infinity of independent hypergraph-universes created by such rules, thus
it takes an infinity of rules to create all possible universes.

I am a non-physicist and the understanding of quantum randomness eludes me
completely but Wolfram does mention that his hypergraphs give rise to
entanglement and some other features of quantum physics, like the path
integral. Since you are the physicist here - How about you read Wolfram et
al. accompanying two 60 page technical articles and give us peer-review?

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