QR2.2.4 The Scalability Problem

Berners-Lee defined a scalable system as one whose performance doesn’t degrade as it expands however big it gets (Berners-Lee, 2000). He designed the World Wide Web to this principle, that growth must increase demand and supply in tandem. The Internet also works this way, as every new ISP demand also increases the processing to handle it, so it can grow forever. Such a network has to be distributed but when the decentralized Internet was first mooted, pundits predicted that lack of control would collapse it into chaos. It didn’t, and that was because it had no central control. Scalability requires any quantum network generating our universe to work by distributing control.

As computer scientists discovered, an infinity anywhere in a centralized network can crash it but a distributed network can carry on despite a local crash. Our brain as a biological processor evolved according to this principle as it has no central processing unit (Whitworth, 2008). The cortical hemispheres, the highest brain systems, are duplicated so if one fails the other carries on like a brain in itself. This logic applies when constructing a space but while Cartesian coordinates work for small spaces they aren’t scalable because they require:

1. A known size: In order to define the coordinate memory allocation, e.g. a point in a 9-unit cube that is stored as (2,9,8) must be stored in a 999unit cube as (002,009,008), which is more memory.

2. A zero-point origin: An absolute origin in the space, i.e. a central (0,0,0) point.

The bigger the space the more memory its coordinates take so a Cartesian space expanding like ours would need a maximum size defined before the first event, to avoid a Y2K problem. The Y2K problem arose because old computers stored years as two digits to save memory, e.g. 1949 was stored as “49”. The problem was that the year after 1999 was “00”’, which was also used for 1900. A lot of money was spent fixing this problem.

A Cartesian space would also require an origin point from which to expand. Since Hubble’s data showed every star and galaxy receding from us, a Cartesian space implies that Earth is that origin! But since the planet earth was only created recently, it can’t be the zero-point origin. If our space is expanding with no absolute center, it can’t be a Cartesian space.

That the performance of space hasn’t changed much after expanding for billions of years suggests it is scalable. If space as a processing network expands like the Internet, then adding more nodes must increase supply and demand. Yet the network still has local limits:

“…recent observations favor cosmological models in which there are fundamental upper bounds on both the information content and information processing rate.” (P. Davies, 2004) p13.

Black holes then expand as matter falls into them because a black hole is the processing limit of space, i.e. its bandwidth.