Computers 5: Quantum Computing

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman

Merriam Webster
quantum noun:
2a : any of the very small increments or parcels into which many forms of energy are subdivided
2b : any of the small subdivisions of a quantized physical magnitude (such as magnetic moment)
quantum adjective:
1 : large, significant a quantum improvement
2 : of, relating to, or employing the principles of quantum mechanics quantum physics

What does the average non-scientist know about quantum computers or even about quantum physics? I don’t think anyone would argue if the answer was ‘nothing at all’. Science likes to keep such things in the dark, it serves to create mysticism and wonder in the minds of wannabe space cadets and science journalists. The quantum computer we have all been hearing about but never been given any information about is not a quantum computer. It’s a simulation of a quantum computer using a standard computer just like the one at home but bigger. It uses a program that simulates what the quantum world ‘ought to‘ look like according to one of the multiple interminably evasive theories of modern quantum physics.

Michael Demmer, Rodrigo Fonseca, Farinaz Koushanfar
CS294: Reading the Classics
“As we will discuss, this idea was one in a series of key events leading to the idea of a general quantum computing device. In this paper, we explore Feynman’s contribution to the field of quantum computing by examining this keynote address.”

A transcript of Richard Feynman’s address “a keynote address at the California Institute of Technology in May 1981”, ‘Simulating Physics with Computers’ Richard P. Feynman”.: can be found here:

Richard Feynman asks:
Can classical physics be simulated by a classical
Can quantum physics be simulated by a classical
Can physics be simulated by a quantum computer?
Can a quantum simulation be universal?

applepcIt’s all Fraudulent
If the reader cares to go through all the available stuff on quantum physics, (I would not recommend it), they will find all the disagreements and differing opinions about what quantum physics is and what it ought to be. The gobbledygook is unnecessarily complex and tiresome and it leads me to the conclusion that like at the dawn of Einstein’s theories and even now more than a hundred years later, no one understands it because it’s illogical (see affirming the consequent). But like ‘modern art’, physicists like to attach a good story to their work and the quantum computer is a good story.

What I do understand about quantum shenanigans is that if a genuine quantum computer dropped from the sky, no one would be able to prove (or disprove) that it was indeed a quantum computer. But such is the deliberately created confusion that a few true believers think the second coming of the computer is already with us. Those who are not religious take heart, history tells us that new technology does not originate with modern physics, so why would they spoil an unblemished record?

The quantum computer has all the hallmarks of another never-ending project, just like the fusion reactor that has seen more than sixty years of theory and experimentation, boat-loads of public money and still not a glimmer of a completion date. The result of a failed and wrong-headed theory it now serves only to save the face of physics. The sun is not a nuclear bomb and therefore a reactor that simulates the sun cannot work. The unattainable computer, like the impossible reactor will create endless jobs for physicists and mathematicians for ever and ever – amen.


The Digging Dog

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