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Did anyone else work through the recent NYer article on quantum computing?

 

Certainly interesting. In the briefest terms possible, the ability (potential) of quantum computing to run calculations which in theory would take more than the entire capacity of the world's regular computers to run is seen (by some) as evidence for the multiple world explanation of quantum mechanics.

 

Yes, this is some weird shit. The article does refer to the philosophical aspects of this work - easier to write about than to test. I wish it had made some explicit connections with possible world theory in philosophy, because that has some real problems and I suspect multiple worlds as an explanation of how quantum mechanics - and computing - works might face similar problems

 

I assume Professor Johnson is unimpressed, as this seems to be largely an Oxford caper.

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I didn't read the piece, but while the way quantum computers work or would work is sort of mindblowing, it's unclear that they violate any existing lower bounds on algorithmic efficiency when you take initialization, etc. into account.

 

eta: to clarify, if they don't improve on any such lower bounds then there is nothing philosophically compelling about them. It's still fun to see familiar algorithms written in terms of quantum (and quantum field) operators.

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Quantum computing is awesome but hugely over-hyped. 1 q-bit was a massive leap forward, 2 q-bits is another massive leap forward, last year we have 3 q-bits which is also apparently, wait for it, a massive leap forward.

 

It is one of those fields where philosophical or quasi-philosophical questions are turning into empirical scientific questions -- which is mesmerising ..

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I didn't read the piece, but while the way quantum computers work or would work is sort of mindblowing, it's unclear that they violate any existing lower bounds on algorithmic efficiency when you take initialization, etc. into account.

 

eta: to clarify, if they don't improve on any such lower bounds then there is nothing philosophically compelling about them. It's still fun to see familiar algorithms written in terms of quantum (and quantum field) operators.

 

Ok, I did some catching up. Looks like since 2007 there's evidence of certain classes of factorization algorithms becoming genuinely linear.

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  • 1 month later...

Started reading The Fabric of Reality. Couple of problems with the first (main) chapter.

 

1. I need to re-read some of it to see how I missed the argument that if shadow photons can be shown to exist (which they can) then they must be visitors from other universes. I think I've missed something here - the author must have some kind of argument for this.

 

2. As with some other science authors (hello Richard Dawkins), Deutsch may be brilliant in his own field but doesn't have a grasp of some very elementary philosophical points. My jaw dropped when he mentioned that we never perceive anything "directly" - only images on our retina (which then set off electrical impulses, blah, blah...). It think any good second year philosophy undergraduate would know to ask "So what, then, would it be to actually perceive something 'directly'?".

 

If anyone can explain what I am missing with 1., please go ahead.

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  • 7 years later...

 

I didn't read the piece, but while the way quantum computers work or would work is sort of mindblowing, it's unclear that they violate any existing lower bounds on algorithmic efficiency when you take initialization, etc. into account.

 

eta: to clarify, if they don't improve on any such lower bounds then there is nothing philosophically compelling about them. It's still fun to see familiar algorithms written in terms of quantum (and quantum field) operators.

Ok, I did some catching up. Looks like since 2007 there's evidence of certain classes of factorization algorithms becoming genuinely linear.

 

 

Ok, maybe not.

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