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An essay on the spectral action and its relation to quantum gravity
We give a brief, critical account of Connes' spectral action principle, its physical motivation, interpretation and its possible relation to a quantum theory of the gravitational field coupled to matter. We then present some speculations concerning the quantization of the spectral action and the perspectives it might offer, most notably the speculation that the standard model, including the gauge groups and some of its free parameters, might be derived from first principles.