A new member of our motley crew

Today I interviewed the soon to be newest member of Adit’s software team. He’s a freak and will fit right in.

Stan Chen is a theoretical physicist. Alpha though isn’t theoretical nor is the software that runs it. No, we need Chen to work out the physics of Alpha in even more detail; really we need to know better about what we can hide.

Alpha is possible with our equipment because of Jack and Adit’s “quantum compression” that renders information only when needed. This could be because of us wanting to see data on what is happening in Alpha or something interacts with something else on Alpha.

Since for millions and millions of Alphan years the interactions on Alpha were simply physical (volcanoes, cooling plates, ocean waves, etc) and mathematically predictable this tactic saved us a lot of horse power.

But as Alphans appeared, be it slime, bugs, or mammals, our rendering has been continuous as all these independent beings interact, observe, and evolve. Our rendering speed has gone from millions of years or more a day to less than a few hundred thousand a day (at the most).

We need to come up with more efficient rules to save on cpu queries. Chen could let us use the latest theories on the behavior of macro and micro physics (we have got Newton covered) and basically come up with ways for us to cheat. Because the day is coming when we’ll have animals that might notice more than just the movement of the sun and stars but perhaps study them and we’ve got to make sure we have a bit more there… there.

Chen’s CV is perfect but I had heard that he hadn’t been able to hold any one position for long. The fact that he’d found other projects to work on after being kicked off of others is an unfortunate proof of his abilities.Chen seemed to be relieved that I had asked so bluntly about his problems holding down a job. He blamed it on his episodes. Every few weeks Chen loses a day of work because he has had a temporal lobe seizure. He is epileptic. The “episodes” as he calls them only last a few minutes but the experience wipes him out for at least a day. It drains him physically and mentally, and he pretty much has to sleep the day away.Previous employers refused to accept this excuse because Chen himself refused to take medication. Without going into detail I assured him that I was very understanding of those who wanted to avoid medication and as long as Adit’s team’s work wasn’t hindered by his occasional absences then there shouldn’t be any problem with him joining us on the simulation projects. And then he pushed it and explained why he doesn’t take medication. And if I had any doubts about him before this, this put them to rest. This guy was a nut but the type of nut that would be perfect for this project.

He didn’t believe he had a disease per se, but rather he was somehow wired differently and that allowed him to occasionally crossover into other universes. Seriously.

When he has an episode he has brief flashes of memories of things that did not actually happen. Not wild dream like scenes, but realistic scenarios of trips with friends or dinner at certain restaurants. But he also consciously knows as he experiences these memories that they are not actually his. The experience he has is disconcerting, confusing, and physically draining. Deja vu with an attitude. But he doesn’t think these are just false memories that are a byproduct of a bunch on neurons firing randomly but that they are real memories. Memories from a different him.

Chen is a strong proponent of the multiverse theory where our reality is actually just a small sideways glance at what truly exists. Our universe is just the view from one point on the shore of an infinite ocean. And infinite other points of this shore are infinite other versions of our lives, even our lives without us. Chen goes so far as to believe that every probability created from the movement of an atomic particle exists. An infinite number of universes with Earth, an infinite number with Earth but not me (sucks to be me), an infinite number with me but with me still having my beard. Etc. An infinite number of infinites.

With all these universes occasionally energies can cross over and be detected, though not necessarily understood. It could be the Voyagers mysteriously slowing down as they left our solar system or it could explain the nonexistent mass that is dark matter and even dark energy. Or, as Chen explains to me, it could be thoughts that occasionally cross over from different versions of yourself. Memory leaks (now I know he’d be perfect from software design).

He calls this phenomenon a Mental Teseract. I tell him to keep it himself for now.

That said maybe when things calm down around here his idea will be a great dinnertime conversation piece.