Article in question: http://humansarefree.com/2013/01/science-strange-computer-code.html

Problem: no credible looking or sounding site has anything on it. Only bunch of youtube videos. And some sites.

Here is the relevant paper on ArXiv

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The work being described is by Prof S. James Gates and it has a serious basis. He has noted that the supersymmetric equations of string theory contain some binary codes built in. These are the same as codes sometimes used in computing for error correcting. I think he means the self dual 8-bit Hamming code in particular. He constructs mysterious looking diagrams which he calls "adinkra" to encapsulate these structures. I don't think many other people have adopted this terminology.

Gates has hyped this quite a bit suggesting that it is a sign that we are living in a computer simulation as in the film "The Matrix". The video linked to is hyping this even further.

In fact these codes are ubiquitous in several areas of mathematics. They are associated with sphere packings, lattices, reflection groups, octonions and exceptional Lie algebras (especially E8) It is not particularly remarkable to see these coming up in string theory. There are other string theorists looking at these structures in a less hyped way to understand the role of algebraic concepts such as octonions and E8. See e.g. papers by Mike Duff and collaborators.

People working on quantum computing are also looking at these codes which are examples of stabilizer codes that can be generated as eigenvectors of Pauli matrices. They hope that the codes can be used to prevent decoherence and that this would make multi-qubit quantum computation feasible.

It is always possible that these codes could play some kind of error correcting role in string theory preventing uncontolled decoherence of spacetime, but this is pure speculation and it is not clear if such a mechanism is even needed. In any case these are natural mathematical structures and there is certainly no indication that they have been programmed in to the laws of physics as implied in the video. It is not as if they have discovered sequences of coded instructions that the laws of physics are following.

It is an interesting intellectual exercise to think about the way the universe might run like a computer or quantum computer. but suggesting that we are living in a matrix-like simulation is unjustified.

protected by Qmechanic Sep 30 '14 at 19:22

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