Some thoughts about anti-virus software for Linux

Tony Arnold tony.arnold at
Sat Jan 24 11:00:30 UTC 2009


Mario Vukelic wrote:

> Yeah. "in theory" just as in theory if I knew the precise location and
> momentum of every atom in the universe then I could use Newton's laws to
> reveal the entire course of cosmic events, past and future ;)

Sorry this is OT, but I got to thinking about this! I don't think your
theory is possible.

Firstly, Newton's laws are probably insufficient for these calculations.
You probably need to take account of relativistic and quantum effects.

Secondly, as it takes more than one atom to store the position of an
atom, then it's not possible to store the positions of all atoms in the

Which made me think there is an absolute maximum on the amount of data
storage there can be in the universe. Assuming we can store one bit per
atom and there are about 10^70 atoms in the universe, this gives an
absolute maximum storage capacity of 10^70 bits!

Besides if you did run such a program, it would run for 7 million years
and produce the answer 42:-)

Tony Arnold,                        Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 6093
Head of IT Security,                Fax: +44 (0) 870 136 1004
University of Manchester,           Mob: +44 (0) 773 330 0039
Manchester M13 9PL.                 Email: tony.arnold at

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