Monday, June 09, 2008

Quantum Computing: the lecture notes

From the professor (Scott Aaronson of Shtetl Optimized) who gave us his lectures on theoretical computer science, we now have PHYS771 Quantum Computing Since Democritus. Or at least, as of today, lectures 1-13.

We eagerly await 14-21, including "Free Will" (I really want that one) and "Cosmology and Complexity".


alanbooker said...

Free Will, with a title like that I am also waiting! It should prove to be a complicated theme upon one of the most difficult to penetrate elements of human existence. Alan

John Gordon said...

From a philosophical perspective there's no free will without a soul. Everything else is brain, and a result of environment and genetics -- especially the first five years of life.

So not much room there for the typical notions of free will and responsibility.

More interesting is that in the absence of quantum mechanics both classical mechanics and general relatively don't allow for choice at all.

Everything is absolutely determined both in past and present, like a movie being played.

I knew that about classical mechanics, but I hadn't understood it about GR until I'd read a rather good modern layperson physics text (more on that in a future post).

Even w/ QM, I read reliable seeming physicists saying that if one could calculate the wave function perfectly everywhere, things would go back to the GR days.

Most modern QM interpretations allow the possibility of choice, but those that send messages backwards in time seem to take us back to the tralfamadorean model of determinism.

More in a future post, I'm really not making this up, just parroting perfectly reputable physicists.