Natural computing on stars

by Samuel Shadrach1 min read9th Oct 20212 comments

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Just a sci-fi concept that I came up with that I wanted to share. Wondering if it's been referenced or thought about before.

tldr: Broadcast signals (EM or matter) at near light speed to impact positions of molecules or subsructures in stars, such that the resulting behaviour of those molecules is computationally meaningful.


When I say natural computing I mean any system that employes natural materials to compute. Wikipedia's article on natural computing mentions traditional electronic hardware (silicon-based), biological systems and quantum computers.

One could argue in the trivial sense that any system computes, even leaves falling from a tree have defined rules and positions. What we're interested in however is computing systems that can be made to possess properties such as intelligence, abstractability and programmability. By abstractability I mean it has elegant high-level laws that explain its behaviour (say central dogma for genetics) beyond just low-level physical laws. Programmability might sometimes be able to make up for innate lack of intelligence or abstractability, since human programmers are intelligent and can find meaningful levels at which to abstract on.

Computational systems have mass and energy limits. If we want to use mass for computation beyond that available on earth, the major source is stars. Stars however have primarily gaseous component, and changing their material nature requires tremendous amounts of energy. (Might still be possible using self-sustaining reactions, but out of scope for my post rn)

If we have to use their natural material, we need to be able to program gases. More specifically, intelligently send near-light speed signals (matter or waves) that impact movements of gaseous molecules or groups of molecules inside of the star, such that the subsequent molecular movements exhibit intelligent abstractable behaviour.

Are there theoretical limits to whether this can be done? Any existing work or mentions of this concept?

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Are there theoretical limits to whether this can be done?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffraction-limited_system