Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

The Clock Frequency of our Universe

Sometimes I can’t sleep at night with silly questions keeping me up. Last night it was this: if there is such a thing as a Planck length (1.6 x 10^-35), and there is such a thing as a ‘speed limit’ for the universe as we know it (c, the speed of light, or 300,000,000 meters per second), then there should be such a thing as the ‘Clock Frequency of our universe’, the maximum distance you can travel per second / the smallest possible distance.

Plugging those two values into my calculator gives (300,000,000 / 1.6 x 10^-35) = 1.875 * 10^43 Hz.

Now, I’m not into physics and I have no clue on whether or not that number is accurate (or even meaningful) but it would appear that from ‘within the system’ this or something like it would be the absolute highest clock frequency anything could ever attain. Since the Planck distance is comfortably smaller than sub-atomic particles that’s mostly a theoretical item, after all, anything at that scale is utterly unobservable to us, even a single ‘classical’ electron is huge in comparison to the Planck length.

Some people have been writing about how there is a chance that our universe is merely a simulation (http://www.motherboard.tv/2010/7/3/primer-simulated-universes-or-why-everything-might-be-fake)) this gives you the value of the #define of the simulated time from which many of our basic constants are derived, on the assumption that the Planck length and the speed of light really are constants and do not change over the time the universe exists.

Of course, that doesn’t say anything about the frequency of the system outside, for all we know an infinity of ‘real time’ (for an ‘outsider’) passes between a single clock tick for ‘our’ universe. That of course implies that the universe is synchronous, with time changes happening at the same moment (which loses it’s meaning) all over the observable universe. Sort of like Conways life from one generation to the next. On the other hand, with the frequency that much higher than anything we could ever hope to observe it could be free-running on several cores and we’d never know about it ;)

For an encore, Intel or AMD?

Insert lame joke about overclocking here…