Human World

David Deutsch: ‘Quantum computers key to deeper knowledge’

David Deutsch: We will be uncovering a key to a great deal of deeper knowledge by investigating quantum computers.

That was physicist David Deutsch of the Center for Quantum Computation at Oxford University in England. Deutsch invented the idea of the quantum computer back in the 1970s.

In addition to just the ones or zeros of today’s computer, Deutsch said that quantum computers can in theory use both values at once. EarthSky spoke with Deutsch about his book The Fabric of Reality.

David Deutsch: The Fabric of Reality tries to present a unified world view that incorporates all our best knowledge. It doesn’t try to go beyond our best knowledge, other than to unify it.

Deutsch said that scientists’ deepest understanding of the world is contained in what he calls four strands of knowledge. They are quantum physics, the theory of computation, the theory of evolution and the theory of knowledge as explained by the philosopher Karl Popper.

David Deutsch: The more we learn about quantum computation, the more we realize that computation is built into the laws of physics in a fundamental way.

Deutsch also spoke of parallel universes and, and his own take on how quantum computers define reality. He believes that all the weird quantum effects are different things happening in different universes.

Deutsch frequently speaks of “universality”: When speaking of computers, that means that all computers are equivalent because they can simulate each other’s behavior. “This is a deep fact that extends far beyond the theory of computation, ” Deutsch said, “because it is this fact that allows science to exist. If you think about it, science is just creating computer programs that run inside human brains and simulate aspects of the rest of the universe.”

He added, “If you think about it, all of life is also a matter of a universal thing, namely DNA, being able to code for the knowledge required to survive in an arbitrary environment.”

Our thanks to:
David Deutsch
Oxford University on Quantum Computing

February 15, 2008
Human World

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