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Can information be stored to the end of time?

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Transmissivity of information through spacetime, as function of k, with which universe expands/ Mancini, et al

Well that is a complex question, one tacked by this item from Phys.org:

Information can never be stored perfectly. Whether on a CD, a hard disk drive, or a piece of papyrus, technological imperfections create noise that limits the preservation of information over time. But even if you had a perfect storage medium with zero imperfections, there would still be fundamental limits placed on information storage due to the laws of physics that govern the evolution of the universe ever since the Big Bang. But what exactly these fundamental limits are is still unclear.

In a new paper published in the New Journal of Physics, Stefano Mancini and Roberto Pierini at the University of Camerino and INFN in Italy, along with Mark M. Wilde at Louisiana State University, have investigated these fundamental limits to preserving information on a literally cosmic scale.

Specifically, they wanted to know how well a given amount of information can be preserved from the beginning to the end of time, with limitations only from physical laws and not technological imperfections in the specific storage medium.

“The motivation that has led us to consider this goal, though it may appear unrealistic, was the discovery of ultimate limitations in information processing,” Mancini told Phys.org. “Above all, we want to try to understand if and how spacetime dynamics affects information storage.”

To do this, they modelled information transmission over a “channel” that is essentially spacetime itself, described by the Robertson-Walker metric. Their model combines the theories of general relativity and quantum information by considering the quantum state of matter (specifically, spin-1/2 particles) as the universe expands. In this model, the evolution of the universe creates noise which, in the context of quantum communication, acts like an amplitude damping channel.

So to answer the original question of how much information can be stored from the beginning to the end of time, the results suggest “not very much.”

Paper. (Public access) ID thoughts?

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Hat tip: Timothy Kershner

See also: Do random mutations never increase information? Ever?

Why should time have an end? Mung

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