Living Earth Simulator For 'Ultimate Answers'

The Living Earth Simulator (LES) project is an attempt to create a computer simulation that can contain all of the data relating to everything happening on Earth.

"Many problems we have today - including social and economic instabilities, wars, disease spreading - are related to human behaviour, but there is apparently a serious lack of understanding regarding how society and the economy work," says Dr Helbing, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who chairs the FuturICT project which aims to create the simulator.

The intent is to use the Large Hadron Collider project as a model; great resources would be pooled to create an extraordinary explorational device. The "LES" would process vast quantities of data in hopes of uncovering relationships that haven't been seen before, and thereby enable the creation of models with great predictive power.

I was pretty sure I'd seen this idea before in science fiction, and was not surprised that it was from the works of the great Polish sf writer Stanislaw Lem. In his 1965 novel The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age, he wrote about a vast computing device called the Gnostotron:

"...To put it simply, then, all we have to do is construct a digital device, a computer capable of producing an informational model of absolutely everything in existence. Properly programmed, it will provide us with an exact simulation of the Highest Possible Level of Development, which we can then question and thereby obtain the Ultimate Answers!"

As it turned out, this digital device was none other than the famed Gnostotron conceived by Chlorian Theoreticus the Proph just before his lamentable demise, a machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself within it's innumerable memory banks.
(Read more about Lem's Gnostotron)

From BBC via Frolix_8.

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