A New Kind of Science

Written on December 27, 2011. Written by .

Wolfram seems to be pretty self-absorbed. I have to give him a lot of credit for his part in the creation of Mathematica, which is an excellent piece of software, but he writes this giant book that is really just a summary of observations of cellular automata and tries to hype it up to be some revolution. Now, I don’t want to discredit the underlaying concepts, just the fact that he says very little to support them or determine their consequences. One of the big ideas in his book is that all the laws of physics can be reduced to a few simple rules. I agree with this, and I actually thought of the same idea that the universe should be a computable system before reading the book, but the idea alone is not worth very much. Wolfram appears to be trying to inspire others to do the real scientific work, so that he can later lay claim to founding a field of science. In general the book is repetitive, short on assertions, and he even tries to pretend like he was the first to discover some things that were clearly discovered earlier by others. If you set these flaws aside, you may be able to learn some interesting properties of cellular automata.

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