Re: Washington Post Magazine article on ID

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Sun Feb 26 2006 - 20:11:19 EST

I assume you're referring to Deutsch's comment in an article in Frontier in 1998:
"To predict that future quantum computers, made to a given specification, will work in the ways I have described, one need only solve a few uncontroversial equations. But to explain exactly how they will work, some form of multiple-universe language is unavoidable. Thus quantum computers provide irresistible evidence that the multiverse is real. One especially convincing argument is provided by quantum algorithms - even more powerful than Grover's - which calculate more intermediate results in the course of a single computation than there are atoms in the visible universe. When a quantum computer delivers the output of such a computation, we shall know that those intermediate results must have been computed somewhere, because they were needed to produce the right answer. So I issue this challenge to those who still cling to a single-universe world view: if the universe we see around us is all there is, where are quantum computations performed? I have yet to receive a plausible reply."

Personally, I don't buy it. Not that I can answer his question either. First, I'm skeptical that such a computation would or ever could be done. Secondly, if it could, I'm not so sure the "somewhere" is relevant in quantum algorithms. Those results don't exist in the same way as classical results.

  ----- Original Message -----
  To: ; 'Randy Isaac'
  Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2006 11:24 AM
  Subject: Re: Washington Post Magazine article on ID

  I am curious if David Deutsch's views that the successful quantum computatoinal solution of a computationally hard algorithm that requires more resources than are available to it in this universe would actually confirm the many world's hypothesis of Hugh Everet. Any comment?

  On Fri Feb 24 14:43 , "Randy Isaac" sent:

        I'm not sure what point you were trying to make nor do I know how this is relevant to the topic of this list, but if anyone wants to talk about quantum computing, I'd be delighted. We hired Isaac Chuang shortly after he and Neil made this statement. He worked in our Almaden lab and in a couple of years he indeed successfully used his quantum computing system to factor the number 15 and verified that those factors were 3 and 5. Maybe some of you smart folks could have verified that for less than a few million dollars. But his highly touted approach with NMR wasn't extendible to more than a handful or two of qubits, let alone the fact that it required liquid helium temperatures and a magnetic field strong enough to wipe out all credit card debt within 15 feet. He went back to academia. Not sure where he is now. We did send a couple of post-docs from Almaden to U of Illinois where they are, as you cited, making progress in different types of quantum computing. Other areas being pursued are various quantum flux devices.
        Main message is, don't hold your breath waiting for commercial quantum computing devices. Certainly not on a laptop.
        Maybe your point was that just as a non-running computer makes fewer errors, non-posting on this list ensures fewer criticisms.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Janice Matchett Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac L. Chuang Quantum Computing with Molecules - 1998 Scientific American, Inc.
Received on Sun Feb 26 20:12:25 2006

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