A New Kind of Science
published: May 21, 2010, recorded: September 2003, views: 1240
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Wouldn’t it be exciting, Stephen Wolfram wonders, to have a little computer program that could function as a precise, ultimate model of our universe? If you ran the program long enough, it would reproduce every single thing that happens. It’s not out of the question, according to Wolfram’s lecture which somehow encapsulates his 1,200-page opus, A New Kind of Science, in a single hour.
Wolfram’s vast and penetrating research uses simple computations to generate complex computer models that resemble designs found in nature. He embraces the really big subjects, and the really small ones—from patterns on mollusk shells and the shapes of leaves and snowflakes, to free will, evolution, and extra-terrestrial life. This new kind of thinking might provide alternatives to evolution in explaining how different forms of life emerged. Wolfram believes his work is already transforming the study of science, as well as making possible a host of new technologies.
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