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Background Information - Data Ecologies 2005

100 years after Einstein published five papers that rocked and then essentially overthrew the then-current physical understanding, the murmurs of discontent are arising. Theories extending, expanding, explaining or just plain overthrowing the tenets of the now-current model(s) are making the rounds.

Fifty years after Wheeler's description of the space-time foam at the Planck scale, the discreteness of time and space that he was implying is becoming apparent, and the ideas behind this vision are becoming clearer, or at least less murky.

In a society filled with computation and processes, it is no surprise that current metaphysics are being built around concepts of computation and process, discreteness and time steps.Pattern formation by self-referential algorithms, diagrams of data structures and their spontaneous self-manipulation, tessellation systems and their dynamics, self-perpetuating flaws and defects in processes ---- these and many other models are creeping out of the woodwork.

This workshop aims to bring together people working in various aspects of these fields, to allow them to talk directly and without needing to couch their claims in unnecessarily standardised terms. We invite algebraists, artists, modelers, writers, computational geometers, physicists and everybody interested in being part of a discussion of what a computational universe is and might be, what it would mean for us and how we might know.

Two aspects are of main importance for this event:

Where does space come from? Does Leibnitz' idea of monads and relations rather than Newton's idea of space and objects have more veracity, does it say more about the way in which space might be? Wheeler's “It from Bit” talks about pregeometry, about some kind of combinatorial / computational structurs that gives rise to what we call geometry, that is, space, from the bottom up. What other spaces are there? How many spaces do we move ourselves within, and in what way can these be made physical or at least pseudophysical.

Given that we have space, what sort of processes might occur? If space is a network, does it have to be clean and regular, or is the noise of the network an essential part of the process that takes part in that space? Are space and action even separable? Spin foam theorists talk about space-time as being a four dimensional bubble bath, with the edges between bubbles arising and dissipating stochastically. They talk about knots in the net as the fundamental parts of nature, twists that are topologically irremovable as irreducible particles.

We welcome contributions to thes themes and the curve that they throw upgenerate. Topics of interest include, but are in no way limited to the following:

combinatorial invariants of knotted nets
artists investigating the production and perception of space in modern media
the determination of structure from noise as the basis of perception
pregeometries in all flavours
interactive explorations of the nature of space, time and spacetime
the nature of a computational nature – what could the universal computer be doing?
experiments to examine the computational nature of the universe
experimental evidence of a preferred frame of reference
possible algorithms for our universe
can we possibly harness the computations in which we are seemingly immersed to our practical use?"
in what respects is quantum computation different from classical computations, and why?

For those in the Baltic region, the "Space and Perception" meeting at RIXC might be interesting,and will
deal with some of the same issues.