Universiteit van Amsterdam

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Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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31 October - 2 November 2008, "What is computation? (How) does nature compute?", 2008 Midwest NKS Conference, Bloomington, USA

Date: 31 October - 2 November 2008
Location: Bloomington, USA

In 1964, in one of the six Messenger lectures he delivered at Cornell University, Richard Feynman said: "It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time ... So I have often made the hypothesis that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed, and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities."

The topic of the conference has been chosen with this quote in mind. The conference will host a most distinguished group of scientists supporting different views of a computable universe, from those supporting the thesis that Nature performs (only) digital computation and does it up to a maximal level, to those supporting the thesis of nature as a quantum computer. Some strongly suggest however that the true nature of Nature can be only explained by the study of randomness. Randomness however preserves its mysterious reputation, for some of these authors it seems that randomness can be generated deterministically in the classical sense, while others claim the existence of "true" randomness from the principles underlying quantum mechanics necessarily to explain the complexity seen around. This event will become the place of confluence in which all these views will be presented, discussed and analyzed by the guests and the conference participants themselves. After presenting their views during the first three days of the conference, the keynote speakers will then participate in a round table discussion on the topic.

For more information, see http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~dgerman/2008midwestNKSconference/.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.