Human brain, internet, and cosmology: Similar laws at work?

Human brain, internet, and cosmology: Similar laws at work?
Simple mapping between the two surfaces representing the geometries of the universe and complex networks proves that their large-scale growth dynamics and structures are similar. Credit: CAIDA/SDSC

(—The structure of the universe and the laws that govern its growth may be more similar than previously thought to the structure and growth of the human brain and other complex networks, such as the Internet or a social network of trust relationships between people, according to a new paper published in the science journal Nature's Scientific Reports.

"By no means do we claim that the universe is a global brain or a computer," said Dmitri Krioukov, co-author of the paper, published by the Cooperative Association for (CAIDA), based at the (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego. "But the discovered equivalence between the growth of the universe and complex networks strongly suggests that unexpectedly similar laws govern the dynamics of these very different complex systems."

Having the ability to predict – let alone trying to control – the dynamics of complex networks remains a central challenge throughout network science. Structural and dynamical similarities among different real networks suggest that some universal laws might be in action, although the nature and common origin of such laws remain elusive.

By performing complex of the universe and using a variety of other calculations, researchers have now proven that the causal network representing the large-scale structure of space and time in our is a graph that shows remarkable similarity to many complex networks such as the Internet, social, or even .

"These findings have key implications for both network science and cosmology," noted Krioukov. "We discovered that the large-scale growth dynamics of complex networks and causal networks are asymptotically (at large times) the same, explaining the structural similarity between these networks."

"This is a perfect example of interdisciplinary research combining math, physics, and computer science in totally unexpected ways," said SDSC Director Michael Norman. "Who would have guessed that the emergence of our universe's four-dimensional spacetime from the quantum vacuum would have anything to do with the growth of the Internet? Causality is at the heart of both, so perhaps the similarity Krioukov and his collaborators found is to be expected."

Of course the network representing the structure of the universe is astronomically huge – in fact it can be infinite. But even if it is finite, researchers' best guess is that it is no smaller than 10250 atoms of space and time. (That's the digit 1 followed by 250 zeros.) For comparison, the number of water molecules in all the oceans in the world has been estimated to be 4.4 x 1046.

Yet the researchers found a way to downscale this humongous network while preserving its vital properties, by proving mathematically that these properties do not depend on the network size in a certain range of parameters, such as the curvature and age of our universe.

After the downscaling, the research team turned to Trestles, one of SDSC's data-intensive supercomputers, to perform simulations of the universe's growing causal network. By parallelizing and optimizing the application, Robert Sinkovits, a computational scientist with SDSC, was able to complete in just over one day a computation that was originally projected to require three to four years.

"In addition to being able to complete these simulations much faster than previously ever imagined, the results perfectly matched the theoretical predictions of the researchers," said Sinkovits.

"The most frequent question that people may ask is whether the discovered asymptotic equivalence between complex networks and the universe could be a coincidence," said Krioukov. "Of course it could be, but the probability of such a coincidence is extremely low. Coincidences in physics are extremely rare, and almost never happen. There is always an explanation, which may be not immediately obvious."

"Such an explanation could one day lead to a discovery of common fundamental laws whose two different consequences or limiting regimes are the laws of gravity (Einstein's equations in general relativity) describing the dynamics of the , and some yet-unknown equations describing the dynamics of ," added  Marián Boguñá, a member of the research team from the Departament de Física Fonamental at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

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Journal information: Scientific Reports

Citation: Human brain, internet, and cosmology: Similar laws at work? (2012, November 20) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
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Nov 20, 2012
There are many scales. Just assume you will always find the pattern you seek when scales exist that are too numerous to count.

Right. Provide enough dots and you can draw any figure you want. Unfortunately, this little epiphany has nothing to do with the article.

Nov 20, 2012
All dynamically self-organising networks are optimised for efficiency by the conservation laws governing their various options. Similar selection pressures evolve convergent solutions... same reason we get common graph curves like the bell, normal distribution etc., no?

Nov 21, 2012
While interesting it's not really surprising that structures which form due to

a) forces with different strengths at different ranges
b) forces with different speeds at which they act
c) a limited set of raw materials

will produce similar (looking) structures.

I'm all with the researcher when he says:
By no means do we claim that the universe is a global brain or a computer

We definitely shouldn't fall for the 'doctrine of signatures' fallacy again.

Nov 21, 2012
Wasn't this what fractals was all about?

Nov 22, 2012
In AWT the Universe is random system of space-time curvatures similar to Boltzmann gas and we are forming one of most complex fluctuations in it (Boltzmann brains). There are two zones at the dimensional scale, when the positive curvature of space-time prevails: the size scale of atoms and stars, formed with spheres. The human distance scale is the zone, where negative curvature of space-time is dominant and the universe appears here like the free space between spheres, i.e. like the foam. It's highly dimensional emergent geometry, which can be modeled like the geometry of particle packing. Human brain is sorta emulator of hyperdimensional aether foam - it enables us to anticipate the deterministic processes around us. Which is the reason why its composed of fibers enabling the mutual collisions of solitons which are spreading along it.

Nov 22, 2012
such an explanation could one day lead to a discovery of common fundamental laws whose two different consequences or limiting regimes are the laws of gravity describing the dynamics of the universe
IMO this perspective is fringe in similar way, like the concept of beginning of Universe. This deterministic approach is given with gnoseologic bias of contemporary science: the deterministically oriented people cannot imagine anything than just another underlying law. But the concept of "universal underlying law" actually doesn't explain anything - it just brings the questions for explanation of this universal law.

Instead of it, the AWT follows Occam razor criterion and it doesn't consider anything about Universe, its dynamics and geometry. Therefore in AWT the Universe is as random, as possible for its deterministic description. The chaotic gas is one of possible physically relevant models of such randomness and whole the determinism of Universe just follows from this randomness.

Nov 22, 2012
At this point you have nothing more to lose, lite.
The best I can offer you now is indifference.
The admins of the site should expunge lite and all accounts with zero posts. Most sites have a requirement of ten posts before likes and attachments are allowed.

Nov 22, 2012
IMO nothing like the "Universal law" therefore doesn't exist - such a vision is just an analogy of "Philosopher stone", the main social purpose of which was to generate jobs and salaries for highly intelligent people, who did spend substantial portion of their life with studying of formal math and now they're seeking for social credit and reward of their effort. But IMO their effort just did hit its limit - the geometry and behavior of our Universe is actually relatively easy to understand even with people of the average intelligence and imagination - but quite difficult to model with low-dimensional deterministic math models. The bottom-up modeling of the Universe would therefore face a strong psycho-social opposition from the side of experts, who just tend to perceive the Universe increasingly complex instead of simpler. The simple explanation of Universe would actually mean the end of their safe existence.

Nov 22, 2012
This doesn't mean, that the geometry of particle packing doesn't hide many deep algebraic rules, which are already recognized in obscured form with sacred geometry and Kabbalah. Here are many numeric approaches (like the Heim's theory), which could lead to prediction of particle mass spectrum a more effectively, than the approaches based on combinations of general relativity and quantum mechanics. These connections are currently revealed with many "crackpots" (1, 2, 3, ...). They're ignored with mainstream physics in the same way, like the nonformal models, though. It means, the contemporary physics is hostile toward more effective description of reality with both formal, both intuitive way.

Nov 22, 2012
The adherence of theoretical physics on formal models based on combinations of general relativity and quantum mechanics is not accidental, though. In context of AWT it can be understood quite easily, that these two theories really represent most effective description of hyperdimensional reality with low-dimensional math. It corresponds the fact, the Universe appears composed of very regular spheres at both dimensional scale of atom nuclei, both large stars. These theories work really very well at both these scales. The problems is, they're representing intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives of foamy hyperdimensional reality and they're separated with high number of dimensions each other. They both fail at the human observer scale completely, as their predictions contradict mutually here. Even at the dimensional scale smaller than atom nuclei and larger than the stars another optimized models may become more effective, than the blind combinations of GR and QM.

Nov 22, 2012
This essentially means, in future physics every dimensional scale would have developed its own set of rules and laws, which will describe this scale most effectively. The simpler and more general these laws will be, the lower predictability and exactness they will exhibit outside the scope of their validity. You cannot have simple/universal and exact law at the same moment - a generalized uncertainty principle applies here. The AWT is based on very simple and singular particle concepts, so it can be very general - but it remains fuzzy at the same moment. The quantum mechanics and general relativity theories are very exact at the dimensional scales of atoms and stars composed of atoms - but between and outside of these zones they become poorly conditioned and as fuzzy and uncertain, like the nonformal models. You're required to introduce another and another ad-hoced parameters and formal tricks outside of these two scales to keep these theories predictable at least a bit.

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