Information Physics explained

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by rjmichie, Oct 6, 2013.

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  1. Son Banned Banned


    Reality is more than just a set of facts.
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  3. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    What a stark contrast to the OP. Imagine approaching this author and asking him if he can "decode" the properties of elementary particles (I gather that's part of the thrust of this thread) using CDMA? I think he'd direct us to the English dept, to consult with the prof who teaches science fiction. That or the psych dept diagnosticians.

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    Some things just make no sense . . . and this OP is one of them. As I recall this is the guy who describes himself as a child prodigy. I guess that explains his post better than anything.
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Just a guess, but I bet it doesn't involve mathematics to more than a simple degree.
    It's philosophy. A variety of Idealism perhaps.
    Nothing wrong with that, but I wonder why the poster has put it in the Physics section.
    Does his work involve experiment and the scientific method?
    I doubt it.
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Information is only information when it is communicable.
    A library of books holds no more information than blank paper,
    if no-one is able to read the language in which they are written.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  8. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

    Information Physics was never explained. I feel cheated.
  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    I "think" this relatively new subject or discipline starts with Shannon's thesis which connects information and entropy. So, you need to understand thermodynamics in an informational context.

    Something to google in that regard is thermodynamics and algorithmic entropy. In this context a molecule of gas in motion is like an algorithm with a measure of complexity.
    There's this page from Wikipedia:

    To me, the important thing to do is simplify things as much as possible. Information theory is about messages being transmitted and received, thermodynamics is about work and the flow of heat (as a 'form' of energy).

    This diagram:

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    has a vacuum in the left, and a gas in the right, partition or chamber. You reduce the number of molecules to one, and since you know where it is, you can move the left hand piston up to the barrier, then remove the barrier to extract work from the system. So the amount of work the system can 'perform' is connected to the amount of information "in" the molecule's position.
    Then with N molecules and N "amounts" of position information, the work done equals the amount(s) of information about the system, which is where Maxwell's demon shows up.

    You can see that adding an external pressure which 'freely' compresses the piston on the left would mean the system doing work on this if the barrier is removed. So the location of this piston, whether or not an external pressure exists, is one of the "amounts" of information. The idea is that it can move without changing the state of the gas in the other partition (and since there is nothing in the left partition, it doesn't change either. I wonder if that's vacuously true? arf, arf).
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  10. eram Sciengineer Valued Senior Member

    @arf that's quite an interesting point.

    The OP talked about figuring out why light HAS TO exist. To me, that's more of metaphysics than physics.

    I don't think information, rather than material, is what the universe is made of. Rather, information is a concept of the human mind used to understand any situation we can think of.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Let's please stick with the formal scientific definition of "theory" as "a hypothesis that has been proven true beyond a reasonable doubt." Evolution, plate tectonics: those are theories.

    And no, "String Theory" is not a theory, it's just a bunch of interesting hypotheses linked together by a lot of arm-waving. Scientists are poor communicators who don't even use their own terminology consistently, as I've often mentioned on this website.

    No, actually that is not clear. A "principle" is "a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived." Since a principle can be a fundamental truth, to say that a fundamental truth precedes the principles of physics is self-contradictory.

    I think we all know by now that "material" is a poor choice of words for describing the universe. To most people it's synonymous with "matter," and people who are interested in this topic know that much of the universe is comprised of energy.

    What you need to define is "information." Every definition of the word (except for the argot of the world of computers, etc.) says that it is more-or-less synonymous with "knowledge," either inside our heads or stored inside a computer (or books, for us old folks

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    ). If you want to talk about the existence of information before brains composed of either carbon or silicon existed, you have to tell us what you mean.

    Huh??? You could say the same thing about everything. A tree is nothing more than the facts we discern about it. It differs from an electron in that one of those facts is its visual image on our retina which we have stored in our brains after seeing a few trees, but that's not a substantive difference. A tree is also made of "stuff," and our knowledge of that stuff is "just facts we can discern about it."

    We can say exactly the same thing about trees. You have failed dismally to make your point. The way we gather these facts is different, since we can use our visual and tactile sense (and in some cases olfactory), but in the final analysis a "tree" is nothing more than a set of facts stored in our brain, just like an electron.

    Indeed, and that applies to trees as well as to electrons. You're not making your point.

    There's a point in there that may deserve to be presented. But drawing an important distinction between electrons and trees muddles your point, rather than making it clearer.

    But much more importantly, any definition of "information" presumes the existence of brains to hold and process that information. So any model of the universe that deconstructs itself down to pure information is useless for studying the universe in its early stages before there was intelligent life, or life of any kind..

    But you're misusing the word. Information is an attribute of thought and consciousness. Physical reality exists even when there are no creatures capable of thought and consciousness.

    This is starting to sound suspiciously like the agenda of a non-scientist who is trying to impugn science as detrimental to civilization.

    Indeed. And scientists have been working on that for a long time, especially in the recent generations since the discovery of elementary particles and relativity. They've made some amazing progress. We view the universe in an astoundingly different way from the people of the mid-19th century, and their view was astoundingly different from the people in the Dark Ages.

    Seems to me that we're making colossal progress. There's no need to start redefining common words in confusing, counterintuitive ways, and building what is, in essence, an anthropocentric model of the universe based on information that falls apart when there's nobody around to experience the universe and think about the information.
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    That isn't quite how Information Theory defines it. Information is not restricted to human's brains.
    Information is just binary strings in the theory. How those strings are interpreted is arbitrary.
    Physical information is a redundant use of words, because there is no unphysical information. Just as energy is conserved, so is information.
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    So it's been proven that the universe is digital rather than analog?

    When did that happen? I can't believe I missed the headline.
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