The French mathematician and astronomer P.de LAPLACE proposed a "clockwork" model of the universe through the hypothesis according to which "one who should know the positions and movements of all the bodies of the universe at one instant, would be able to predict their positions at any moment of the future". This view seemed indeed strongly confirmed by some spectacular astronomical discoveries during the 19th century based on this type of deterministic calculus.
However, POINCARÉ showed in 1889 that some quite simple astronomical problems (the famous three bodies problem) could not be rigorously solved.
This was the starting point of chaos theory. In P DAVIES words:… even one such chaotic system would rapidly exhaust the entire Universe's capacity to compute its behavior. It seems then, that the Universe is incapable of digitally computing the future behavior of even a small part of itself, let alone all of itself. Expressed more dramatically, the Universe is its own fastest simulator" (1990). R. JENSEN expressed the same idea (see hereafter).
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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