I am reading about and attempting to discuss the holographic principle, a conjecture in theoretical physics that the three-dimensional universe is a projection of a two-dimensional (i.e., surface area) encoding¹. This would imply that all the particles and properties and everything of our universe may be compressed substantially without losing information: reality is a (logical, not literal) projection of a very large bitmap. The theory also could “explain” surprising properties of the universe, such as the discrete (i.e., quantum) nature² of physics, the origin of gravity, and information density.

Most fixating is the idea that the universe may be regarded as a composition of information. I’ve been obsessed with information, consciously or unconsciously, since I can remember; and, the more I have thought about the nature of reality, the more I have flirted with the conclusion that information is the fundamental problem of existence: processing, encoding, retrieving, organizing, relating, and communicating.

Another thought: In engineering and business applications, numerical analysis is used to approximate solutions to continuous functions; and in scientific theory, continuous functions are used to approximate a discrete reality resulting from the holographic principle. If I’m not mistaken, this would mean that scientific models like the Schrödinger equation may be a little too perfect.

Update (2023): via Andrew Côté:

It’s possible the entire universe is “running” as a black hole computer…

If something with the same mass as the universe was a Black Hole, the event horizon would have a radius of 14 billion light years - which we observe about our own universe.

Black Holes are the most computationally dense possible objects, because they represent the limit on how much information you can pack into a finite volume. [the Bekenstein Bound]

… “computing” is when physical systems “do their thing” - when two atoms bond together, when molecules react, when a cellular organelle churns out a protein, when an animal develops immunity to a disease - all these physical processes are of the nature of transforming information, I.e. the physical configuration of things, according to some state machine or transformation matrix or Hamiltonian operator - some set of rules determine what happens with the next clock cycle.

  1. Can anyone explain the holographic principle?
  2. The Fermilab Holometer, “an experiment to measure the smallest intervals of space and time”.