Time, partitioning, and synchronization

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2024-07-10 15:30:07

Any time measuring method inevitably runs into the issues of partitioning and synchronization. Partitioning deals with the issue of dividing a larger measure into smaller measures, and combining smaller measures into a larger measure. Synchronization deals with the problem of how a set of devices can self-correct if some of them are corrupted. The two are fundamentally related because often a choice in one determines a choice in the other. A measure is often defined by a set of synchronization points, such as the radioactive decay of an element or the frequency of a crystal oscillator. Synchronization points can often be defined as a measure of a change in space, such as the revolution of a planet around a star, or the change in energy state of an oscillating structure. Fundamental to both is the notion of change.

A synchronization event can only be defined if there is a unit of space in which a change is observed. And either the magnitude of the space is large (such as the movement of the stars) or small (such as the frequency of a crystal oscillator). The choice of magnitude determines how well a set of clocks are able to self-correct if they are corrupted. The larger the magnitude, the more entangled the space becomes with the definition of synchronization. The smaller the magnitude, the less entangled it is. In other words, the larger the magnitude, the harder it is to deny a synchronization event has taken place, since the event is defined by a change in a large unit of space (for example, the revolution of a planet around a star). Or in more practical terms, the larger the number of observers that are able to witness an event in a space, the more undeniable the event is among a population. It is easy to self-correct a large number of these corrupt clocks because the synchronization definition is entangled with a large volume of space.

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