Synopses & Reviews
The traditional and ubiquitous digital computer has changed the world by processing series of binary ones and zeroes...very fast. Like the sideshow juggler spinning plates on billiard cues, the classical computer moves fast enough to keep the plates from falling off. As computers become faster and faster, more and more plates are being added to more and more cues.
Imagine, then, a computer in which speed is increased not because it runs faster, but because it has a limitless army of different jugglers, one for each billiard cue. Imagine the quantum computer.
Julian Brown's record of the quest for the Holy Grail of computing -- a computer that could, in theory, take seconds to perform calculations that would take today's fastest supercomputers longer than the age of the universe -- is an extraordinary tale, populated by a remarkable cast of characters, including David Deutsch of Oxford University, who first announced the possibility of computation in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of quantum mechanics; Ed Fredkin, who developed a new kind of logic gate as a true step toward universal computation; and the legendary Richard Feynman, who reasoned from the inability to model quantum mechanics on a classical computer the logical inevitability of quantum computing.
For, in the fuzzily indeterminate world of the quantum, new computing power is born. Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse details the remarkable uses for quantum computing in code breaking, for quantum computers will be able to crack many of the leading methods of protecting secret information, while offering new unbreakable codes. Quantum computers will also be able to model nuclear and subatomic reactions; offer insights into nanotechnology, teleportation, and time travel; and perhaps change the way chemists and biotechnologists design drugs and study the molecules of life. Farthest along the trail blazed by these pioneers is the ability to visualize the multiple realities of the quantum world not as a mathematical abstraction, but as a real map to a world of multiple universes...a multiverse where every possible event -- from a particular chess move to a comet striking the Earth -- not only can happen, but does.
Incorporating lively explanations of ion trap gates, nuclear magnetic resonance computers, quantum dots, quantum algorithms, Fourier transforms, and puzzles of quantum physics, and illustrated with dozens of vivid diagrams, Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse is a mind-stretching look at the still-unbuilt but fascinating machines that, in the words of physicist Stanley Williams, "will reshape the face of science" and offer a new window into the secrets of an infinite number of potential universes.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 373-374) and index.
About the Author
Julian Brown is a science journalist specializing in physics and computing. He has produced science programs both for BBC and BBC World Service, written extensively about quantum physics for New Scientist magazine, and is the editor, with Paul Davies, of The Ghost in the Atom and Superstrings: A Theory of Everything?
Table of Contents
Foreword by David Deutsch
1. Late-Night Quantum Thoughts
Life in Other Universes
The Quantum AI Experiment
Exploring Hilbert Space
The End of Moore1s Law?
From Bill Gates to Quantum Gates
The Hunter-Gatherers Take a Quantum Leap
2. God, the Universe, and the Reversible Computer
The Computer That Just Coasts
Shannon1s Information Theory
The Puzzle of Maxwell1s Demon
Much Ado About kT
The Reversible Computer
Reversibility and the Laws of Physics
Is the Universe a Computer?
The Fredkin Gate
The Billiard Ball Computer
The God Game
3. The Logic of the Quantum Conspiracy
Journey Into the Quantum Realm
The EPR Puzzle
A Matter of Interpretation
The Case for Many Universes
The Universal Quantum Computer
The Turing Principle
4. Quantum Parallelism
The New Paradigm
The Meaning of Superposition
Counting on the Qubits
The Square Root of NOT
Rotations in Quantum Space
Controlled-NOT and the Toffoli Gate
Playing the Markets with a Quantum Computer
Tractability vs. Intractability
The Traveling Salesman Problem
Does P Equal NP?
Consulting the Oracle
5. Code Breaking and the Shor Algorithm
The Problem of Factorization
How Diffie-Hellman Works
The RSA Alogrithm
How RSA Works
Cryptography and the Real World
The Challenge of RSA-129
Factoring by E-Mail
Factorization Takes a Quantum Leap
Heat, Sound, and Fourier Series
Light, Music, and Fourier Transforms
The Quantum FFT
6. Privacy Lost, Privacy Regained
Messages from Across the Quantum Channel
All About Eve
Dial Q for Qubits
Quantum Clones and Counterfeit Coins
How to Send a Quantum Valentine
The Rise and Fall of Quantum Bit Commitment
Cryptography by Entanglement
Beam Me Up, Atom by Atom
7. How to Build a Quantum Computer
The Polymer Machine
The Trouble with Decoherence
Trapping the Atom
The Doctors of Spin
How Useful Is NMR Quantum Computation?
Connecting the Quantum Dots
Runners in the Quantum Race
8. Quantum Error Correction and Other Algorithms
Processing in the Dark
Democracy Among the Qubits
Three-Bit Quantum Error Correction
How Does Quantum Error Correction Scale?
Crossing the Error Threshold
Creating the GHZ State
Take a Ride on the Universal Quantum Simulator
Searching a Quantum Phone Directory
Amadeus and the Quantum Complexity Puzzle
The Shape of Quantum Circuits to Come
9. Visions of the Quantum Age
A Quantum Computing Road Map
Nanotechnology and the Singularity
Clones, Consciousness, and the Indivisible Soul
Quantum Gravity and the Measurement Problem
Is the Brain a Quantum Computer?
Why Is the Universe Comprehensible?
Trading Histories for Universes
Are Decoherent Histories the Answer?
The Quantum Universe and the Omega Point