Re: Deep time and shallow time

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 27 May 1999 12:12:09 -0700 (PDT)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky writes:
> 128 bits isn't enough. Really. 1Thz isn't enough for molecular

Err, this was just an illustration. I actually propose having a counter with sufficient number of bits to allow for a wraparound of many times (at least 10^9) the current age of the universe with a resolution of about 10^-43 s. Once again, I think the counter should use an encoding with Hamming distance of 1..3 between each atomic increment and also allow only a narrow lightcone for bitflips (for instance:
t=0 00000000010000000
t=1 00000000100000000
) since with faster clock information propagation will be bottlenecked by relativistic constraints.

Such a thing can be currently implemented in software: e.g. similiar to the Swatch time hack for the Palm Pilot or as a counter on a webpage.

If you have a GPS receiver to hack, such a thing would be actually useful since allowing to time-stamp events (with DGPS a realtime accuracy of few 10 cm, which is more than sufficient for most current purposes): using the >HTS and the GPS coordinates. GPS does already do relativistic corrections.

It's not too difficult to implement 256-bit counters, but currently you need a silicon foundry for that. Let's wait for the advent of molecular manufacturing.

> 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:
> <posthuman-time>
> <universe>Socrates</universe>
> <!-- Universe identifier. -->
> <seconds>08402834082304.83245353453452546456432</seconds>
> <!-- Seconds since start of Universe. -->
> <branch>1001001011</branch>
> <!-- 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.

I have to admit that your herring is of an exquisitely luxuriant red.