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# Quantum Computing Since Democritus

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Written by noted quantum computing theorist Scott Aaronson, this book takes readers on a tour through some of the deepest ideas of maths, computer science and physics. Full of insights, arguments and philosophical perspectives, the book covers an amazing array of topics. Beginning in antiquity with Democritus, it progresses through logic and set theory, computability and c
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Paperback, 370 pages

Published
March 2013
by Cambridge University Press
(first published February 26th 2013)

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## Community Reviews

Showing 1-30

(* - What causes a sad for Scott Aaronson may differ from most people)

I'm going to likely re-read this one some time later when I find all the bits of cerebellum which squirted out my ears. After finishing this book I had a revelation about my favorite intellectual hobby; Quantum mechanics and computational complexity have a lot of interestin ...more

The book suffers from lack of a really cohesive theme, though, which is what we're all chasing, right? Some beautiful, consistent theory t ...more

10/11/15

Read the book a second time. Grasped ...more

Worth reading if you've studied QM, early sections are enjoyable even with undergrad level ...more

* quantum physics = what happens when you allow negative probabilities, and use a '2-norm' instead of '1-norm'. using 2-norm, all probabilities for an event = all points at a distance of 1 from origin. probability is an amplitude, can be positive or negative.

* quantum computing != 'try all possibilities at once'. i ...more

This book is a fascinating bridge between physics, computer science, and philosophy. As a CS student I've been exposed to many of the presented ideas before, but I couldn't comprehend the same material when it was written by Scott. Maybe it was presented at a higher level, or maybe I'm plainly stupid. Now imagine the times when I was ...more

Regardless of my difficulties with the book, it was enjoyable to look through and did offer some inter ...more

A follow up to this topic is the essay from the same author "Why Philosophers should care about computational complexity"

The book won't explain about anything quantum until you've read all the theoretical computer science chapters.

I love Scott's perspective on computation and it's connection to physics. I was fascinated by the connection between probability theory and quantum mechanics.

Overall Scott just seems to have a great thought process. Critical, playful and balanced.

"STUDENT: Can we even define free will?

SCOTT: Yeah, that's an excellent question. It's very hard to separate the question of whether free will exists from the question of what the definition of it is. What I was trying to do is, by saying what I think free will is not, give some idea of what the concept seems to refer to. It seems to me to refer to some transition in the state of the universe where there are several possible outcomes, and we can't even talk coherently about a probab ...more

Instead, this book is Scott Aaronson trying to explain what he does and why he does it, emphasizing the big ideas and surprising insights in modern complexity theory and particularly quantum complexity theory.

The exposition is quite technical. Al ...more

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“More often than not, the only reason we need experiments is that we're not smart enough.”
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4 likes

“What's the point of talking about philosophical questions? Because we're going to be doing a fair bit of it here – I mean, of philosophical bullshitting. Well, there's a standard answer, and it's that philosophy is an intellectual clean-up job – the janitors who come in after the scientists have made a mess, to try and pick up the pieces. So in this view, philosophers sit in their armchairs waiting for something surprising to happen in science – like quantum mechanics, like the Bell inequality, like Gödel's Theorem – and then (to switch metaphors) swoop in like vultures and say, ah, this is what it really meant. Well, on its face, that seems sort of boring. But as you get more accustomed to this sort of work, I think what you'll find is...it's still boring!”
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3 likes

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