A seminar/discussion on "Is our universe a massive computer simulation?" will be conducted by Professor Shafiqur Rahman at BRACU Auditorium on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 11:00am.
In the twentieth century, Einstein’s Relativity theories and Quantum Mechanics brought about tectonic shifts in our understanding of what constitutes physical reality. Though barely a sixth of the twenty-first century is over, we are already witnessing mindboggling phenomena which are challenging our very notion of the new reality. This talk will discuss topics of this genre such as Quantum Teleportation, which deals with transporting an object from one location to another instantaneously without the object going through the intervening space. It will also discuss Quantum Computers currently being developed by physicists which will be so powerful that even one with only twelve bytes of memory will be able to simultaneously process more numbers than the total number of atoms in the universe, as well as Quantum Cryptography which offers tamper-proof encryption. The emerging field of Information Theory, an interesting conclusion of which is that the number of computations that can be performed in the universe has an upper limit and how this will lead to the death of the universe, will also be discussed. Finally, new ideas will be presented which tend to suggest that our entire universe, rather than being real, could be a gigantic computer simulation being performed by a highly advanced civilization.
Shafiqur Rahman is a Professor in the Physics Department at Allegheny College, USA. His current research is in the area of Statistical Physics (computer simulation of complex systems). He has also done research at Argonne National Laboratory, Cornell National Supercomputer Center, Carnegie Mellon University and Northwestern University. His research has been supported by agencies such as National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Vira-Heinz Foundation, etc. He has received three Demmler Awards for Innovative Teaching. He has recently received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to write a romantic novel based on his memoirs from undergraduate years in Germany dealing with love shattered by East-West politics during the Cold War. He is active in community service -- he has run an outreach program called SuperScience for gifted children from local high schools for more than twenty-five years. He received his BS degree in Physics from Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Northwestern University, USA.