One of the more intriguing theories about life is that everything around us may not even be real as we could be living inside a giant simulation. But while there are some staunch proponents, not everyone is convinced. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University explored the theory and back up the counterargument that reality is impossible to simulate.
Cosmos Magazine points out that the finding is unexpectedly definite. To dispel the simulation hypothesis, the scientists base their proof on findings that building a computer simulation of a certain quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible.
Researchers Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi write one of the issues with the simulation theory is that the complexity of the simulation increases exponentially with the number of particles being simulated. A simulation of just a couple of hundred electrons can already require a computer memory that requires more atoms than exist in our universe:
If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of particles would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale – where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added – then the task quickly becomes impossible.
The researchers calculated that just storing information about a couple of hundred electrons would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.