Seth Lloyd at IQC

Some fun short clips of Seth Lloyd at the IQC. Love the first one. Disagree with the second one. The third is a great hope. Disagree strong with the fourth one (since I think the definition of a computer must include fault-tolerance.) The fifth one is a great ad!
And the music. Well the intro and final music is…awesome.

7 Replies to “Seth Lloyd at IQC”

  1. @Mike: Question answered tomorrow when an article of mine is posted on Ubiquity! 🙂
    Until then: to the question “what is a computer?”, I would say that one has to include the notion of fault-tolerance in what it means for something to be a computer. A system without fault-tolerance is not a computer. Thus much of nature is not a computer using this definition (digitization is an emergent property, for example.) Does this rule out the universe as a computer? Not at all, but the use of computer to describe the noisy quantum universe seems heavy handed to me 🙂

  2. Dave,
    I read the article — quite interesting.
    I guess my list of possibilities above would have been more complete if I had added: “the universe is a faulty computer.”
    Now, that conclusion should make sense to just about everyone — you only have to look around and see that it must be true 🙂

  3. As with everyone else, I greatly enjoyed all of Seth’s short commentaries … both the ones that I agreed with, and the ones that I didn’t.
    Here’s the commentary with which I most agreed (unedited):

    On the Importance of Quantum Information Research
    Quantum information, which is the study of how information is registered and processed at its most fundamental levels, is not just a field that allows you to say “build quantum computers”… it really is a universal language for what’s happening at the microscopic level.
    As a result it has broad application, not merely in quantum technologies and quantum mechanical engineering, but in understanding how the structure of matter works in solid state … and maybe in understanding how the universe itself is put together, to give us a picture of how gravity and quantum mechanics can work.
    Quantum information has the potential to give us a unified picture of the whole of physics.

    The preceding commentary is, I think, both true and very beautiful, and Seth admirably motivates us to explore the essential unity of quantum and classical dynamics … and I have lightly edited Seth’s second commentary to illuminate that unity from a modern dynamical point-of-view.

    On the Simple Beauty of Quantum Mechanics
    Quantum mechanics is in some fundamental way simpler than an informatically natural subset of classical mechanics, in the sense that because it’s discrete and quantum local and separable, it makes Nature intrinsically digital informatically compressible.
    So because Nature is intrinsically digital informatically compressible, has infinitely fewer distinguishable states trajectories than a classical system.
    So in that sense, quantum mechanics makes Nature particularly simple to simulate. The price is that it’s particularly weird the state-space geometry of Nature is hard for us to observe.

    The preceding adjustments arise naturally when we collide two terrific descriptions of dynamical processes: the informatic dynamics of (for example) Nielsen and Chang’s Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (2000), and the geometric dynamics of (for example) Mac Lane’s 1970 Chauvenet Lecture, Hamiltonian Mechanics and Geometry.
    As Mac Lane’s lecture puts it:

    Hamiltonian Mechanics and Geometry
    Mathematical ideas do not live fully till they are presented clearly, and we never quite achieve that ultimate clarity.
    Just as each generation of historians must analyse the past again, so in the exact sciences we must in each period take up the renewed struggle to present as clearly as we can the underlying ideas of mathematics.
    The essential elements in the recent treatment of many geometric ideas … were really discovered and used a long time ago in mechanics.

    It is striking, and regrettable too, that the word quantum (and its associated mathematics) appears nowhere in Mac Lane’s lecture … and it is similarly striking, and similarly regrettable, that the word symplectic (and its associated mathematics) appears nowhere in Nielsen and Chuang. Both points-of-views are beautiful and powerful … and how much more evident will this beauty be, in future textbooks that merge them?
    This informatic-geometric gap is good news for young QIT/QSE researchers … it means that we have plenty of wonderful work to do, in merging 20th century conceptions of informatic and geometric dynamics.
    As Mac Lane puts it, all of the essential elements we need for this unification “were really discovered and used a long time ago” … a full decade ago! … by quantum computing researchers. 🙂

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