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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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Superposition of States: "Quantum Computing Since Democritus" by Scott Aaronson

Faster. That's it. Not magic. Computing and encryption is a race against the ability to crack it or out-compute it. Quantum theory is fake news anyway- the act of you reading (observing) this comment has changed it, oh and it's both a comment and a photo of ABBA at the same time. It may also just vanish into nothingness, or pop into existence from nothing in ...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

(* - 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

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

*quantum supremacy*a few months ago. Aaronson even managed to collaborate with the great Leonard Susskind to tease o ...more

**Good read if you skip over things you don’t understand**

There are a lot of concepts discussed in this book. I made the mistake trying to understand every definition and every proof. For the first few chapter, it was really painful. As soon as you are willing to accept some of the things are too hard to understand, and skip those, you will find this a very thought provoking and enjoyable book.

It's damn funny, though, that's for sure.

But I have no idea who the target audience is. This was a lecture? Students were supposed to digest this? HOW? These students were all Stephen-Hawkings-level geniuses or what?

...more

I read up to the quantum section at which point I was only understanding 10% of the material. The parts I did read were fantastic. Aaronson is a joy to read. His enthusiasm for the field is obvious and contagious.

This is a hard book. I read each page at least twice, and many proofs far more than that. The proofs given are short and elegant. Godels incompleteness theorem is proved in a page while it occupies multiple chapters in Godel, Escher, Bach. You need to real ...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

Okay, that’s not quite true. I learned a few things, like some foundational parts of complexity theory. But overall I found the book poorly written and hard to follow. Early on, I tried looking up all the stuff I didn’t understand on Wikipedia, and I learned a lot that way. (Yeah, the explanations in this book were on average less clear than Wikipedia articles on the t ...more

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

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. ...more

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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. ...more

More importantly, it talks about a lot of things but all of them are treated rather superficially. ...more

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