Synopses & Reviews
Is the universe actually a giant quantum computer? According to Seth Lloyd (Professor of Quantum) Mechanical Engineering at MIT and originator of the first technologically feasible design for a working quantum computerthe answer is yes. This wonderfully accessible book illuminates the professional and personal paths that led him to this remarkable conclusion.
All interactions between particles in the universe, Lloyd explains, convey not only energy but also information, in other words, particles not only collide, they compute. And what is the entire universe computing, ultimately? Its own dynamical evolution, he says. As the computation proceeds, reality unfolds.
To elucidate his theory, Lloyd examines the history of the cosmos, posing questions that in other hands might seem unfathomably complex: How much information is there in the universe? What information existed at the moment of the Big Bang and what happened to it? How do quantum mechanics and chaos theory interact to create our world? Could we attempt to re-create it on a giant quantum computer?
Programming the Universe presents an original and compelling vision of reality, revealing our world in an entirely new light.
In this clear, informative, and entertaining narrative, a quantum computer scientist examines the history of the universe through the lens of a new theory--that the universe is computing its own dynamic evolution.
This book is the story of the universe and the bit. The universe is the biggest thing there is and the bit is the smallest possible chunk of information. The universe is made of bits. Every molecule, atom, and elementary particle registers bits of information. Every interaction between those pieces of the universe processes that information by altering those bits. That is, the universe computes, and because the universe is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, it computes in an intrinsically quantum-mechanical fashion; its bits are quantum bits. The history of the universe is, in effect, a huge and ongoing quantum computation. The universe is a quantum computer.
About the Author
Seth Lloyd is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, principal investigator at the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and the designer of the first feasible quantum computer. He has been featured in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, and Wired, among other publications. His name frequently appears (as both writer and subject) in the pages of Nature, New Scientist, Science, and Scientific American. He lives in Cambridge, MA.