Re: Deep time and shallow time

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 27 May 1999 03:40:20 -0500

128 bits isn't enough. Really. 1Thz isn't enough for molecular assemblers, and while 573.9Gy seems like a long time now, it's only 40 ages of the Universe. I propose the following PostTimeXML identifier:


<!-- Universe identifier. -->

<!-- Seconds since start of Universe. -->

<!-- Quantum computing qubit branch indicator for 10 qubits --> </posthuman-time>

If you really need a digital identifier, then use the native format for your machine.
The standard used by most Jupiter-Beowolf networks is IEEE 3.2983e48, the following 256-bit format in big-endian order:

8 bits -- Current universe (index into local table; 0 = machine-local; 1 = Earth).

 24 bits -- Current quantum branch.
 32 bits -- WEYL tensor (relativistic data).
 96 bits -- Seconds since start of current Universe.
 96 bits -- Fractional seconds (0x00..01 = 12.6218 grouchoseconds).

However, most Omega Point devices simply use the XML format, both because Omega time is infinitely divisible, and because they have the processing power to spare.

--          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.