Author Archives: chb

Throwing cold water on the Quantum Internet

There has been a lot of loose talk lately about a coming “Quantum Internet”. I was asked about it recently by a journalist and gave him this curmudgeonly answer, hoping to redirect some of the naive enthusiasm: …First let me … Continue reading

Posted in Physics, Quantum Computing, Quantum Cryptography, Science By Press Release, Technology | 5 Comments

Instruments for Natural Philosophy

Thomas B. Greenslade, emeritus physics professor at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, USA, has amassed (both physically and virtually) a fascinating and expertly curated collection of old physics teaching equipment.   Among my favorite items are Bernard H. Porter’s 1939 … Continue reading

Posted in General | 16 Comments

Physics World gets high on Tel Aviv catnip

It should be no surprise that loose talk by scientists on tantalizing subjects like backward causality can impair the judgment of science writers working on a short deadline.  A recent paper by Aharonov, Cohen, Grossman and Elitzur at Tel Aviv … Continue reading

Posted in Quantum, Quantum Basterdizations, Science | 2 Comments

Programs announced for AQIS'12 and Satellite Workshop

The accepted papers  and schedule for the twelfth Asian Quantum Information Science conference, in Suzhou, China 23-26 August, have been announced.  It will be followed by a satellite workshop  27-28 August on quantum Shannon theory in nearby Shanghai.   Unfortunately we … Continue reading

Posted in Conferences | Leave a comment

A jack of two trades and a master of both

IBM, in recounting its history of arranging high-profile contests between humans and computers, describes the tension surrounding the final chess game between Deep Blue and Gary Kasparov.  One of the machine’s designers “vividly remembers the final game of the six-game … Continue reading

Posted in General | 1 Comment

More on the NP-hardness of inferring dynamics

The previous post on David Voss’ APS piece quibbled perhaps excessively about the definition of NP, but neglected to mention  the actual subject of the piece, which was Cubitt, Eisert and Wolf’s (CEW) recent paper on the NP-hardness of extracting … Continue reading

Posted in General | 3 Comments

Hardness of NP

In computer science, NP-hard problems are widely believed to be intractable, not because they have been proved so, but on the empirical evidence of no one having found a fast algorithm for any of them in over half a century … Continue reading

Posted in General, Nitpicker's Paradiso, Words | 1 Comment

What increases when a self-organizing system organizes itself? Logical depth to the rescue.

(An earlier version of this post appeared in the latest newsletter of the American Physical Society’s special interest group on Quantum Information.) One of the most grandly pessimistic ideas from the 19th century is that of  “heat death” according to … Continue reading

Posted in Computer Science, General, Mathematics, Physics, Science | 6 Comments

Having it both ways

In one of Jorge Luis Borges’ historical fictions, an elderly Averroes, remarking on a misguided opinion of his youth,  says that to be free of an error it is well to have professed it oneself.  Something like this seems to … Continue reading

Posted in General, Quantum | 5 Comments

Unindicted co-conspirators — a way around Nobel's 3-person limit?

This is the time of year the selection process begins for next fall’s Nobel Prizes.  Unlike Literature and Peace, most fields of science have become increasingly collaborative over the last century, often forcing Nobel Committees to unduly truncate the list … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Science | 4 Comments