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3 Practical limits to modelling

3.2 Limited computational resources

As well as limited memory we also have a limited time to do the computations in. It has been calculate that quantum mechanics imposes a limit of bits/gram/sec on the amount of information that can be computed by each gram of matter per second
[2]. Taking a conservative guess at the total mass in the universe as grams and the total time before the heat death of the universe as years this gives us an upper limit of about total bits of computation that could possibly occur in this universe. This would be insufficient to even investigate the possible colourings of a 12 by 12 checker-board using just 10 colours.

Thus problems which take undue computational time come up against a fairly fundamental computational limit, even if they are theoretically computable.

Pragmatic Holism - Bruce Edmonds - 22 FEB 96
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