Wolfram’s space-time

Recently in  his blog, Wolfram mentioned a new interpretation of space and time. http://blog.wolfram.com/2007/09/my_hobby_hunting_for_our_unive.html#more
Let’s first examine two current interpretations of space.
“Normally in physics one thinks of space as some kind of background, in which matter and particles and so on separately exist” writes Wolfram. Some regard space as a container in which events happen, that  existed even before the Big Bang, and we evolve in it. Poetically speaking,  the Big Bang might be regarded as a fertilization of a primordial uterus.


Mandelbrot draw our attention to the possibility that space might be a fractal with its own geometry. Now Wolfram proposes that space might be a network and cautions us not “to imagine that the points in the network have actual defined positions in some background space.” He then   adds “What's interesting, though, is that when a network gets big enough, its combinatorics alone can in effect define a correspondence with ordinary space.”

What about time? :” Current physics tends to say that time is just like space--just another dimension.” In other words time is a container extension into a higher dimension. Such a simple extension seems not to work in a fractal space.  How then define time in a fractal space? I leave it to you as an exercise in a thought experiment.

Wolfram has a another suggestion. Suppose that space is a network of programs. “In programs, moving in space might correspond to looking at another part of the data, but moving in time requires executing the program.” “For networks, pretty much the most general kind of program is one that takes a piece of network with one structure, and replaces it with another.”

“But now we're deriving something like that for the universe: we're saying that these networks with almost nothing "built in" somehow generate behavior that corresponds to gravitation in physics.” This is Wolfram’s space. Actually it is a space-time. The programs  are  the space  while each  executes its own time. Similar space-times are inherent in life.

Wolfram: ”Special and general relativity are things that physicists normally assume are built into theories right from the beginning, almost as axioms (or at least, in the case of string theory, as consistency conditions). The idea that they could emerge from something more fundamental is pretty alien”  Yet Wolfram believes that  ”. . .our whole universe and its complete history could be generated just by starting with some particular small network, then applying definite rules.” I hope that  he does not mean our   physical universe but the way we interpret it.

More on Wolfram’s biological thinking