Is the Universe a Simulation?

Simulation is a very rich world, although less often discussed in the context of science, technology, engineering, and math than in the world of gaming. In this post I’ll talk about simulation and how it relates to Neoclassical Physics and Quantum Gravity (𝗡𝗣𝗤𝗚). What new modes of simulation may be possible? Could we be in a simulation?

Simulation is, and has been, a powerful tool employed by research and development. A real system is modeled at the necessary level of detail for the application and a computational system implements the model with appropriate inputs, feedback, and tunables so as to simulate the real system. Value is extracted from the outputs of the simulation. Simulations can run in a variety of environments, including cloud, supercomputer, and parallel systems, and they may use specialized codes, algorithms, and deep learning neural networks. Scientists may use any or all of these methods of simulation, including running lesser-scale trials on their laptops.

Key system-level simulation tradeoffs include scale, accuracy, precision, and simulation rate. The simulation rate is key to understanding economic value vs. response time based vs. enabled applications. What scale simulation? How fast can that simulation run? Can it run in real-time or even better? Can it run in sub-real-time, thus enabling control feedback?

The Neoclassical Physics and Quantum Gravity (𝗡𝗣𝗤𝗚) Universe is classically mechanical, which is natural, but it is also makes for a surprisingly simulatable universe. With the computational software and hardware available, and the amount of physical redundancy and repeatability we observe in nature, it is feasible to simulate portions of the universe.


At a universe scale, my predilection and preference is towards non-simulation, of course, i.e., reality, but I must strive to be unbiased. It’s easy to imagine that a simulation with density X electrino/positrino pairs carrying a density Y energy scattered inside a 3D void space, with physics clock rate set to Z, could evolve like our universe. It’s that simple. Three parameters (X,Y,Z), some distribution of ingredients throughout the 3D void, and the laws of physics inherent in the particles & energy. Then let the clock run and see what happens. This is a passive form of simulation. You would still have free will, which we will discuss later.

This form of ‘initial conditions’ simulation is mentioned in the following podcast discussion of David Chalmers by Lex Fridman. The idea can be extended by allowing the simulating entity to start multiple simulations, with different combinations of X, Y, Z as well as varying the laws of physics that the energetic electrinos and positrinos observe. Reluctantly, I am forced to admit that a starting seed could be a single enormous exposed Planck core which would inflate and explode in a Big Bang (sigh). I am loathe to suggest this alternative because it only lends credence to the one time inflationary Big Bang theory, which is otherwise debunked in a non-simulated NPQG.

Consciousness, AI, Simulation, and More

You can imagine a simulation that starts like a passive simulation, but where the Operator “Op” is occasionally making an adjustment here or there. Tweaking the experiment. That might not be so good, say if for instance Op were to aim something massive or energetic our way!

Reddit uses “Op” as an acronym for ‘original poster,’ the one who initiated the dialog or thread. Perhaps we should pronounce Op for operator as Opie for old times sake. New age Opie can take its place with Siri and Alexa. If we are in a simulation, I sure would rather the operator be called Opie than just about anything else. Wasn’t there a Star Trek episode like this, where some authoritarian leader was just a child? Except on Star Trek it was a misbehaved child. Whereas Opie is cool. Opie generally tries to do the good and right thing. Opie makes mistakes from time to time, just like everyone else. But Opie gets back on the good path, learning the lesson.

J Mark Morris July 2019

When you consider scale and that our current scientific understanding of nature spans over 60 orders of magnitude, well, it’s frankly not that hard to imagine that the orders of magnitude may continue far beyond or far below the ones we can detect. It seems farfetched until you remind yourself we already do science over 60 orders of magnitude, arguably 20 of which we have control or influence over. For any physics-knowledgeable readers, Planck scale does seem limiting if we are not in a simulation.

A good measure of scientific progress would be one that is based on which orders of magnitude we can influence and to what degree we can control them.

J Mark Morris July 9, 2019


If we are NOT in a simulation, then some events are non-deterministic and we have free will. Every quantized energy transfer from structure to structure is a reaction that proceeded. Gravitational energy waves are not so much transactions as they are fluctuations of continuous energy between (condensed) standard matter and the spacetime æther. Therefore energy is both quantized and continuous.

We know that reactions have energy thresholds or barriers. If the energy is below the threshold the reaction won’t proceed. If the energy is equal to the threshold, it may or may not proceed, and if the energy is greater than the threshold, the reaction will proceed.

Now, why are reactions non-deterministic? The reason is that there is no way to control background energy waves through the spacetime æther nor condensed particles that may appear at the moment of any transaction. It could be that a transaction is just a smidgen below the reaction threshold and at just that moment a gravity wave from an approaching celestial object with just enough energy, coincides and pushes the reaction over the top.

Now we have established non-determinism.

As for free will, I will appeal that the logic of any decision could be tipped by the aforementioned gravity wave or arriving particle. It is really only when we are truly on the fence, that we let nature tip us one way or the other. Ponder that thought.

J Mark Morris July 2019

J Mark Morris : San Diego : California : July 9, 2019 : v1
J Mark Morris : San Diego : California : February 10, 2020 : v2

Aside: Earlier in this post, I spoke about the concept of a physics clock rate for the Universe. I haven’t seen that concept in my readings, so maybe it is a new idea. What I am thinking is that if the Universe is a simulation, that Opie may be able to adjust the base rate of time.