The universe as a quantum computer

Submitted by JH Wierenga on Sat, 09/08/2018 - 13:45

The universe is a quantum computer, in which each degree of freedom of a quantum contained in the universe  corresponds to a unique register containing a single qbit. All change in the universe is the result of computations in this computer. The universe we observe is the user display of this computer, in much the same way as the screen of an ordinary computer displays information contained in it.

Phenomena explained :

"There is natural law".

The most fundamental property of our universe is that it is subject to natural law. In other words, it behaves consistently, at least as far as we can tell. Any coherent theory of everything will need to account for the following:

  1. All things physical appear to an observer to behave consistently, regardless of the time, place and frame of reference of that observer. 
  2. Some natural law applies to a widely diverse range of things, resulting  in common behaviour. In particular, we observe that the energy of a closed system is conserved, whatever occurs within that system. The same applies for momentum and for angular momentum.
  3. Historically, phenomena that were not understood have subsequently been shown to be susceptible to explanation


'Non-local effects exist'

Changes to entangled particles are observed to instantaneously affect all particles that are entangled with each other, regardless of their physical separation.


QO has a simple and natural account as to how non-local communication takes place, because it draws the logical conclusion from the observations. This conclusion is that physical distance is an illusion, rather than a fundamental property of the separation between particles.

We can understand how this works by making an analogy with computers. When an image is displayed on a computer screen, the bits representing pixels at opposite sides of the screen may be stored within micrometres of each other within the same computer, and a change to the bits representing one pixel can affect the bits representing the other one in only a few clock cycles of the computer, supposing there is a functional relationship between them. This relationship exists in the computer and is expressed on the screen. In much the same way, particles are expressions of sets of qbits in the quantum computer that is the universe. The qbits determine what we observe, just as the bits within the computer determine the display on the screen. The ability of qbits to affect each other are the result of the programming of the quantum computer and are not in principle inhibited by the physical separation of the particles that express them. It just so happens that those qbits that are expressed as physical things are manipulated using algorithms in which their coordinates are translated into ‘physical’ distances, so that all ‘physical’ processes are local. The only exceptions to this rule occur when a single qbit is expressed in multiple physical things, as happens with entangled particles. A change to such a qbit instantaneously affects all entangled particles, by definition.

In this view of the world, the physical universe may be regarded as the display device by means of which we observe the universe. The things we see are no more real – but also no less real – than the images we see on our computer screens. If the connection between the display device and the quantum computer were to be temporarily disrupted, the real business of the universe would go on as usual. Processes in which causes are translated into effects would continue to operate. When the disruption ends and the display device works normally, we would not be able to tell that the disruption had ever taken place.

Note that the logic of the quantum computer is not confined to qbits that are expressed as physical particles. Qbits may equally well correspond to concepts. For example, there may be a set of qbits which describe the concept ‘electron’. A change to that concept would immediately affect the behaviour of all qbits which are expressed as actual, ‘physical’ electrons. In this manner, natural law is merely the by-product of logic and reference data within the quantum computer which is the universe.

What the 'universe' quantum computer consists of

Let us consider the set of all quantum systems, including the sorts of quantum systems that QO postulates additionally to those recognized by mainstream science: natural law quantum systems, higher order concept quantum systems and space quantum systems. Suppose that each individual quantum system in this set is a set of qbits with a cardinality equal to the number of degrees of freedom of the quantum system. Each qbit contains a weighted superposition of all the possible values of the quantum with respect to an individual degree of freedom. Suppose each value contains the weight within the superposition, and either a complex number or a link with a value of a corresponding quantum. Then the qbits together contain all the information that there is in the universe. For example, an electron with a semi-defined location centered on Pluto will contain the following values:

  • for its properties as an electron, a link to the natural order quantum for 'electron'
  • for its location, values for every space quantum in which it is potentially present, in this case the space quantum systems in the proximity of Pluto
  • for its velocity, values for its velocity in each of the x, y , z and t directions

Note that in this model, the universe as we observe it is a simulation produced by the qbits.  There is no such thing as a positive electrical charge, or a physical location, or a velocity; there are only qbits.  All that we are inclined to regard as real is in fact no more real than the illusory reality inflicted on mankind, as portrayed in the film "The Matrix". 

How this quantum computer operates

Within the QO paradigm, this set of qbits can have come into existence by means of progressive quantum system splitting. However, that is not enough for the set of qbits to be a sufficient explanation for the universe as we perceive it. A sufficient explanation must account not just for the current state, but also for the changes between states. That requires 'wiring' which ensures that changes in related qbits are coordinated, thereby producing the natural order which we observe and on which our entire existence is predicated. Somehow, the set of qbits must be able to run a program which produces changes. We suggest that this program is actually very simple, and works as follows:

  1. Per quantum clock cycle,  quantum systems are visited by following the links between qbits, starting with the initial quantum system. 
  2. Each quantum system, when visited, is re-balanced in order to bring the values of downstream qbits into harmony with the new values of upstream qbits, For example,  a change in the magnetic field of an upstream quantum system results in a change in the velocity of a particle. Harmony, in this sense, is defined by resonance within degrees of freedom. That is a mechanism which takes the property which resonates as a parameter, but is agnostic to the nature of the property. It is  generic mechanism. It may include quantum system splitting. It may include what is generally termed 'collapse of the wave function'.
  3. Because  a quantum system is related to very many others, most quantum systems will be visited very many times, and be changed incrementally in some or most visits.
  4. When all quantum systems have been visited, the clock cycle ends and a new one commences. From the point of view of the set of qbits, a single unit of quantum time has elapsed.

We suggest that the combination of the set of qbits and the program is sufficient to produce the universe as we perceive it. And if not, why not, we ask.

Note that a quantum computer which contains less qbits than the sum of the degrees of freedom over all quanta cannot do the job, because it will contain less information than the universe.

If the universe is a quantum computer as outlined above, it follows that causality is a quantum phenomenon.


This explanation is the only possible explanation of natural law and non-locality which does not require mechanisms which are as yet unknown. That makes it at least three notches better on the Occam Scale than other explanations.  Therefore this explanation is foundationally credible.