Stephen Wolfram has initiated an interesting approach in studying the physical universe. He tries to create our physical universe out of the much more diverse computation universe, the vast abstract universe of computation and mathematics.
Wolfram has created Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha, two very powerful mathematical/computational tools. He is also the author of "A New Kind of Science" (which is available online). Wolfram has established a new kind of science (as he calls it) which examines the complexity of systems from very simple computational rules.
In his talk at TED, he outlines this idea and how it relates to our physical world, in the sense that our seemingly complex universe could be the product of simple rules which could be simulated in computers. Wolfram has done much research on this issue and has actually created universes that come very close to ours.
I personally believe that this approach is very valuable and successful. Our understanding of nature lies in understanding complexity in systems consisting of different parameters. Not only will this approach make contributions to theoretical physics (hopefully), but it will also allow us to understand much more complex systems such as those in biological organisms. Something as complex as the brain can only be studied from this approach.
As a matter of fact, a very interesting field named Computational Neuroscience is being established. Many mathematicians, programmers, neuroscientists, and physicists will come together to study the brain from a computational point of view. I personally cannot wait to see what will come out of this in the upcoming years.