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During the Information Universe conference we aspire to bring together experts as well as young researchers from a number of different communities, to discuss and debate the definition and interpretation of information. We study the role of information in the way we try to build understanding and accumulate insights in physics, astronomy, cosmology, computational science, mathematics, bio-informatics, neuroscience and life sciences in general. Contributions from any of these fields are strongly encouraged.

The conference will host sessions on:


1. Information in physics and cosmology

The ΛCDM tension, Euclid and the Dark Universe

Keynote: Tamara Davis

“I mostly started looking at dark energy because I started working on supernovae, and I tried to figure out what the dark energy could be. Perhaps some form of vacuum energy, something that has negative pressure or some sort of antigravity, which would be really strange. But it also could be that our theory of gravity might need revision.”
Tamara Davis, in The Science Show

Keynote: Ruth Durrer

“For a long time observations that have led to the determination of cosmological parameters, such as the rate of expansion, the so-called Hubble parameter, ... have been very sparse and we could only determine the order of magnitude of these parameters. During the last decade this situation has changed significantly and cosmology has entered an era of precision measurements. This major breakthrough is to a large extent due to precise measurement and analysis of the CMB.” - in her book The Cosmic Microwave Background.

Keynote: Wendy Freedman

“The Hubble constant … is a measure of how fast the universe is expanding at the current time. We find ourselves with a discrepancy. Now, there are several possibilities: one is that there is an error in one or both of the experiments, or both measurements could actually be correct, and it’s telling us something about the Universe. … our standard model makes a prediction, and we’re seeing cracks in this prediction. So it is possible that we are missing something in this overall picture. We don’t have the final answer. But that’s exciting; the opportunity to learn something new.”
Wendy Freedman, in her interview: The Hubble Constant measurement mystery

Keynote: Léon Koopmans

“There are many ways to measure the Hubble constant, but gravitational lenses allow for a unique method which is relatively simple. It is therefore expected that gravitational lenses will play an increasingly important role in the future.” - in his article on NEMO kennislink.

Emergent gravity and space-time: a unified theory based on information

Keynote: Erik Verlinde

“We use concepts like time and space, but we don’t really understand what this means microscopically. That might change… I think there’s something we haven’t found yet, and this will help us discover the origins of our universe.” - in his interview with UvA in the Spotlight.


2. The future of computing: exploring new pathways

Quantum computing, neuromorphic computing and machine learning

Keynote: Herbert Jaeger

“The human brain is a dynamical system whose extremely complex sensor-driven neural processes give rise to conceptual, logical cognition. Understanding the interplay between nonlinear neural dynamics and concept-level cognition remains a major scientific challenge.” - in his article: Controlling Recurrent Neural Networks by Conceptors .

Open Space: Data visualization for a new generation

Keynote: Carter Emmart

“Who speaks for the Earth? Those who have experienced it ... by seeing it not as a diagram, but as the system it truly is. What the Earth actually looks like from space can now be constructed from full color, high resolution, global daily imaging by satellites. ... The question is whether common access to this perspective will forge a more integrated awareness of our condition and inspire action for better integrated stewardship.” - on the Overview institute website.


3. Complexity and chaos in nature and computers

Patterns: finding order a chaotic Universe

Keynote: Jim Crutchfield

“The unifying theme of my research is patterns - what they are, how nature produces them, and how we discover new ones. ... How is it that nature spontaneously generates macroscopic order and structure? What mechanisms support the production of structure? How does nature balance randomness and order as structure emerges? And, perhaps most important of all, what do we mean by structure, pattern, order, and regularity?” - in the Biographical note on his website.

Life sciences: the overwhelming complexity of nature

Keynote: Charley Lineweaver

“The techniques of particle physics or cosmology fail utterly to describe the nature and origin of biological complexity. Darwinian evolution gives us an understanding of how biological complexity arose, but is less capable of providing a general principle of why it arises. "Survival of the fittest" is not necessarily "survival of the most complex".” - in his book: Complexity and the Arrow of Time.

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