Synopses & Reviews
Taking readers to the cutting edge of physics, mathematics, and computer science, Julian Brown tells the dramatic story of the groundbreaking efforts to create a fundamentally new kind of computer that would be astronomically more powerful than today's machines. In 1998, a team of researchers announced they had produced the world's first quantum computer in a cup of chloroform. In fascinating, fully accessible detail, Brown explains the ideas that led up to this accomplishment and explores the mind-stretching implications of this leap into the bizarre world of quantum physics. The Quest for the Quantum Computer is a riveting look at what promises to be one of the most important scientific and technological ideas of the twenty-first century.
Review
"A fascinating and entertaining read from start to finish." Ed Hinds, New Scientist
Review
"A masterful piece of scientific exposition." Paul Davies, author of The Fifth Miracle
Review
"Exciting and educational...a road map for the future." Lynn Yarris, San Jose Mercury News
Review
"Brown, a writer for New Scientist, covers an immense variety of subjects in this book, most of which touch in some way on quantum physics, and he devotes a considerable amount of effort to making his exposition understandable. Some of the analogies he uses to simplify complex ideas work well, while others left this reader more confused than before possibly reflecting a lack of strong background in physics but still a potential problem for other readers. Brown also throws in a substantial philosophical treatment of artificial intelligence. An interesting topic but not easy reading; for academic and larger public libraries." Hilary Burton, Library Journal
Review
"The English-speaking world has plenty of books explaining computers, quantum theory and the attendant wacky philosophical implications, but Brown transcends these categories, showing how physics relates to computation and how their alliance affects the future of both. His enthusiastic, patient explanations of fairly difficult mathematics distinguishes his book." Publishers Weekly
Synopsis
Taking readers to the cutting edge of physics, mathematics, and computer science, Julian Brown tells the dramatic story of the groundbreaking efforts to create a fundamentally new kind of computer that would be astronomically more powerful than today's machines. In 1998, a team of researchers announced they had produced the world's first quantum computer in a cup of chloroform. In fascinating, fully accessible detail, Brown explains the ideas that led up to this accomplishment and explores the mind-stretching implications of this leap into the bizarre world of quantum physics. The Quest for the Quantum Computer is a riveting look at what promises to be one of the most important scientific and technological ideas of the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Julian Brown is a science journalist who specializes in physics and computers. He has written extensively about quantum physics for New Scientist magazine, and is the coeditor of The Ghost in the Atom and Superstrings: A Theory of Everything? He lives in San Francisco, California.
Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by David Deutsch
1. Late-Night Quantum Thoughts
Life in Other Universes
The Quantum AI Experiment
Exploring Hilbert Space
The End of Moore?s 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
Shannon?s Information Theory
The Puzzle of Maxwell?s Demon
Much Ado About kT
Landauer?s Principle
The Reversible Computer
Reversibility and the Laws of Physics
Is the Universe a Computer?
The Fredkin Gate
The Billiard Ball Computer
The God Game
Low-Energy Computing
3. The Logic of the Quantum Conspiracy
Feynman?s U-Turn
Journey Into the Quantum Realm
Strange Correlations
The EPR Puzzle
Designer Hamiltonians
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
Turbocharged Algorithms
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
Secret Codes
Public-Key Cryptography
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
Quantum Compression
Beam Me Up, Atom by Atom
7. How to Build a Quantum Computer
Going Universal
Two-Bit Processors
The Polymer Machine
The Trouble with Decoherence
Trapping the Atom
Flying Qubits
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
DNA Computing
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
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Notes
Bibliography
Index