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Minds, Machines and the Multiverse by Julian Brown

Minds, Machines And The Multiverse:
The Quest For The Quantum Computer

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_Minds, Machines and the Multiverse : The Quest for the Quantum Computer_
by Julian Brown

Apart from a few promising prototypes, internal linkquantum computers don't really exist yet, but never mind that--the very thought of them is enough to give a geek goosebumps. Imagine it: a computer capable of processing data not just on your desktop but in a million parallel universes all at once. The concept sounds like internal linkscience fiction, but the freaky laws of quantum physics make it a concrete possibility. And the implications--as science journalist Julian Brown makes plain in _Minds, Machines and the Multiverse: The Quest for the Quantum Computer_, a daunting yet consistently gripping look at quantum computation's high frontiers--are sweeping.

Computers powered by quantum weirdness, Brown tells us, could outperform existing machines to astronomical degrees, solving in minutes problems classical computers might take millennia to work through. But more to the point, the theoretical research that is making quantum computers plausible--led by gifted physicists like Rolf Landauer, David Deutsch, and the late internal linkRichard Feynman--has already opened up intriguing new ways of thinking about the world and about computation's place in it.

But Brown shows equal commitment to explaining not only what makes quantum computers fascinating but what makes them work. This is not, in other words, a book for those who blanch at the sight of complex equations and circuit diagrams. Still, Brown's explanations, while dense with internal linkinformation, are unerringly lucid, and anyone who sticks with them to the end will come away with exactly what this book promises: a penetrating understanding of a mind-bending technology. --Julian Dibbell
 
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From Booklist
Books about technological revolutions usually come after the fact. Not this one. Brown hails tomorrow's breakthrough--the quantum computer--likely to render existing computers obsolete. Though computer designers are still struggling to surmount the technical obstacles, the theorists of quantum computing have already envisioned astounding possibilities: internal linklight-speed computation, invincible cryptography, internal linkphoton_internal linkteleportation, perhaps even internal linkartificial intelligence. To explain the remarkable promise of the quantum computer, Brown must take us out of the comfortable yes/no logic of classical computing into the strangely indeterminate probabilities of quantum logic. And then he pushes us yet further, past the quantum circuits and the internal linkMorphic Resonators into the unsettling hypothesis of a labyrinthine quantum multiverse of internal linkinfinite parallel realities. Enough of a skeptic to pose the hard questions (What happens to the "me" in the other universes?), Brown nonetheless conveys the heady exhilaration of those pressing on the quantum frontiers. Bryce Christensen
 
 

 

The traditional and internal linkubiquitous    internal linkdigital computer has changed the world by processing series of binary ones and internal linkzeroes...very fast. Like the sideshow juggler spinning plates on billiard cues, the classical computer moves fast enough to keep the plates from falling off. As computers become faster and faster, more and more plates are being added to more and more cues.

Imagine, then, a computer in which speed is increased not because it runs faster, but because it has a limitless army of different jugglers, one for each billiard cue. Imagine the quantum computer.

Julian Brown's record of the quest for the Holy Grail of computing -- a computer that could, in theory, take seconds to perform calculations that would take today's fastest supercomputers longer than the age of the universe -- is an extraordinary tale, populated by a remarkable cast of characters, including David Deutsch of Oxford University, who first announced the possibility of computation in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of quantum mechanics; Ed Fredkin, who developed a new kind of logic gate as a true step toward universal computation; and the legendary Richard Feynman, who reasoned from the inability to model quantum mechanics on a classical computer the logical inevitability of quantum computing.
 
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For, in the fuzzily indeterminate world of the quantum, new computing power is born. _Minds, Machines, and the internal linkMultiverse_ details the remarkable uses for quantum computing in code breaking, for quantum computers will be able to crack many of the leading methods of protecting secret information, while offering new unbreakable codes. Quantum computers will also be able to model nuclear and subatomic reactions; offer insights into internal linknanotechnology, teleportation, and internal linktime travel; and perhaps change the way chemists and biotechnologists design drugs and study the molecules of life. Farthest along the trail blazed by these pioneers is the ability to visualize the multiple internal linkrealities of the quantum world not as a mathematical abstraction, but as a real map to a world of multiple universes...a multiverse where every possible event -- from a particular internal linkchess move to a comet striking the Earth -- not only can happen, but does.Incorporating lively explanations of ion trap gates, nuclear magnetic internal linkresonance computers, quantum dots, quantum algorithms, Fourier transforms, and internal linkpuzzles of quantum physics, and illustrated with dozens of vivid diagrams, Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse is a mind-stretching look at the still-unbuilt but fascinating machines that, in the words of physicist Stanley Williams, "will reshape the face of science" and offer a new window into the secrets of an infinite number of potential universes.

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