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Cambridge University Press
15 March 2013
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 complexity theory, quantum computing, cryptography, the information content of quantum states and the interpretation of quantum mechanics. There are also extended discussions about time travel, Newcomb's Paradox, the anthropic principle and the views of Roger Penrose. Aaronson's informal style makes this fascinating book accessible to readers with scientific backgrounds, as well as students and researchers working in physics, computer science, mathematics and philosophy.
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   550g
ISBN:   9780521199568
ISBN 10:   0521199565
Pages:   398
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Undergraduate ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. Atoms and the void; 2. Sets; 3. Goedel, Turing, and friends; 4. Minds and machines; 5. Paleocomplexity; 6. P, NP, and friends; 7. Randomness; 8. Crypto; 9. Quantum; 10. Quantum computing; 11. Penrose; 12. Decoherence and hidden variables; 13. Proofs; 14. How big are quantum states?; 15. Skepticism of quantum computing; 16. Learning; 17. Interactive proofs and more; 18. Fun with the Anthropic Principle; 19. Free will; 20. Time travel; 21. Cosmology and complexity; 22. Ask me anything.

Scott Aaronson is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Considered one of the top quantum complexity theorists in the world, he is well known for both his research in quantum computing and computational complexity theory and for his widely read blog Shtetl-Optimized. Professor Aaronson also created Complexity Zoo, an online encyclopedia of computational complexity theory and has written popular articles for Scientific American and The New York Times. His research and popular writing have earned him numerous awards, including the United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the Alan T. Waterman Award.

Reviews for Quantum Computing since Democritus

'Scott Aaronson has written a beautiful and highly original synthesis of what we know about some of the most fundamental questions in science: what is information? What does it mean to compute? What is the nature of mind and of free will? Highly recommended.' Michael Nielsen, author of Reinventing Discovery 'I laughed, I cried, I fell off my chair - and that was just reading the chapter on Computational Complexity. Aaronson is a tornado of intellectual activity: he rips our brains from their intellectual foundations; twists them through a tour of physics, mathematics, computer science, and philosophy; stuffs them full of facts and theorems; tickles them until they cry 'Uncle'; and then drops them, quivering, back into our skulls. [He] raises deep questions of how the physical universe is put together and why it is put together the way it is. While we read his lucid explanations we can believe - at least while we hold the book in our hands - that we understand the answers, too.' Seth Lloyd, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Programming the Universe 'Not since Richard Feynman's Lectures on Physics has there been a set of lecture notes as brilliant and as entertaining. Aaronson leads the reader on a wild romp through the most important intellectual achievements in computing and physics, weaving these seemingly disparate fields into a captivating narrative for our modern age of information. [He] wildly runs through the fields of physics and computers, showing us how they are connected, how to understand our computational universe, and what questions exist on the borders of these fields that we still don't understand. This book is a poem disguised as a set of lecture notes. The lectures are on computing and physics, complexity theory and mathematical logic and quantum physics. The poem is made up of proofs, jokes, stories, and revelations, synthesizing the two towering fields of computer science and physics into a coherent tapestry of sheer intellectual awesomeness.' Dave Bacon, Google

  • Winner of Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2013.
  • Winner of Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2013

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