We critically analyse the point of view for which laws of nature are just a mean to compress data. Discussing some basic notions of dynamical systems and information theory, we show that the idea that the analysis of large amount of data by means of an algorithm of compression is equivalent to the knowledge one can have from scientific laws, is rather naive. In particular we discuss the subtle conceptual topic of the initial conditions of phenomena which are generally incompressible. Starting from this point, we argue that laws of nature represent more than a pure compression of data, and that the availability of large amount of data, in general, is not particularly useful to understand the behaviour of complex phenomena.
Compressibility, laws of nature, initial conditions and complexity
Sergio Chibbaro, Angelo Vulpiani