Re: I'm hunting wabbits

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 19:11:28 -0700

>> Jacques Mallah wrote:
>>> If b was random, the continutation r will
>>> probably also be random, but now we lose the
>>> specific information about the exact specification
>>> of b. If b was simple, the continuation will
>>> probably also be simple.

I'm a unclear about the example of a Turing machine and its tape. I assume
this is not meant literally, but only as a way of quantifying information. But
is the information being quantified a description of the universe's laws; as
might be represented by some initial finite program on an infinite tape which
is blank except for the part describing the universe's laws and initial
conditions. And then the running of the Turing machine corresponds to working
out all the consequences of these laws and initial conditions - i.e. computing
the universe.

But then what does a segment of tape which is random correspond
to? I assume it is in part of the infinite tape which did not encode the laws
and initial conditions - the part I supposed to be blank above. The
computation is taking place in a mathematically consistent way (I suppose
that's the point of imagining a Turing computation). So the 'random' part goes
into the computation. Hence it must represent some other laws or initial
conditions. Now depending on the program, some or all of this extra stuff on
the tape might have no effect. For example the Turing machine might overwrite
those particular bits without reading them. But in general, i.e. with high
probability, they will have some effect. Is this effect a 'wabbit'?, i.e. an
exception to law-like progress of the universe? Well in the sense that it is
a change from the initial 'laws' I thought of as being encoded on the tape they
are exceptions. But from a consistent viewpoint, isn't the totallity of the
data on the tape a consistent set of laws and initial conditions. The fact
that the Turing machine processes them in a certain order need not imply
anything about the order of events in the universe - so the 'exceptional' part
may be first in 'universe-time'.

I guess my confusion is that I don't see any logical way to distinguish a
'random' part.

Brent Meeker
Received on Sun May 21 2000 - 20:15:20 PDT

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