Can the entire Earth and everything that goes on in the world be simulated? An international group of scientists believe so, and are now working on a huge project to simulate everything that takes place on Earth. And they mean everything!

This massive project includes the collection of everything from environmental data to economic movements, the spread of diseases and even traffic jams.

The project is called Living Earth Simulator (LES), and it is intended to act as a gigantic “forecast” for everything that can be predicted on the basis of the large amounts of data that will be collected, analyzed and put into the system.

“Many problems we have today – including social and economic instabilities, wars, disease spreading – are related to human behaviour, but there is apparently a serious lack of understanding regarding how society and the economy work,” says Dr Helbing, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who chairs the FuturICT project which aims to create the simulator.

“Thanks to projects such as the Large Hadron Collider, the particle accelerator built by Cern, scientists know more about the early universe than they do about our own planet,” claims Dr Helbing.

“What is needed is a knowledge accelerator, to collide different branches of knowledge,” he says.

“Revealing the hidden laws and processes underlying societies constitutes the most pressing scientific grand challenge of our century.”

“The result would be the LES. It would be able to predict the spread of infectious diseases, such as Swine Flu, identify methods for tackling climate change or even spot the inklings of an impending financial crisis,” he says.

(via ITavisen, BBC News)