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digital or analog?


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http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-quantum-reality-analog-after-all

 

Last year the Foundational Questions Institute's third essay contest posed the following question to physicists and philosophers: “Is Reality Digital or Analog?” The organizers expected entrants to come down on the side of digital. After all, the word “quantum” in quantum physics connotes “discrete” —hence, “digital”. Many of the best essays held, however, that the world is analog. Among them was the entry by David Tong, who shared the second-place prize.

 

I'd say both. You?

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With a large enough base any analog system could ultimately be described as digital. People tend to think of digital systems being limited to base 2 or binary but in reality you could have a googol of discrete states in a system and it would be a digital system even if it appeared to be analog.

 

I tend to think reality is ultimately analog, that it is more continuous than could be represented with even a googolplex of discrete values.

Edited by doG
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The number π  (pi) is an irrational number . An irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a fraction a/b, where a is an integer  and b is a non-zero integer.

Now quantum numbers are rational numbers, for example the spin of an electron is 1/2. Now any quantity that is expressed in terms of pi is an irrational quantity, like the circumference of a circle of unit radius which is 2 * pi. So circumference is an analog rather than a digital quantity that can be represented by a quantized value.

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In my opinion, whether reality 'is' digital or analog, Id like to believe that we are experience it as an awesomely analog symphony. Which brings to my mind a quote form the movie Contact, where Ellie said "No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea."

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http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-quantum-reality-analog-after-all

 

Last year the Foundational Questions Institute's third essay contest posed the following question to physicists and philosophers: “Is Reality Digital or Analog?” The organizers expected entrants to come down on the side of digital. After all, the word “quantum” in quantum physics connotes “discrete” —hence, “digital”. Many of the best essays held, however, that the world is analog. Among them was the entry by David Tong, who shared the second-place prize.

I'd say both. You?

 

I participated in that Contest and my answer was "both":

 

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/853

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