Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos

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Is the universe actually a giant quantum computer? According to Seth Lloyd, the answer is yes. All interactions between particles in the universe, Lloyd explains, convey not only energy but also information–in other words, particles not only collide, they compute. What is the entire universe computing, ultimately? “Its own dynamical evolution,” he says. “As the computation proceeds, reality unfolds.” Programming the Universe, a wonderfully accessible book, presents an original and compelling vision of reality, revealing our world in an entirely new light.
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About the author

Seth Lloyd is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and a principal investigator at the Research Laboratory of Electronics. He is also adjunct assistant professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He designed the first feasible quantum computer, and works on problems having to do with information and complex systems from the very small (how do atoms process information? how can you make them compute?) to the very large (how does society process information? And how can we understand society in terms of its ability to process information?). His seminal work in the fields of quantum computation and quantum communications--including proposing the first technologically feasible design for a quantum computer--has gained him a reputation as an innovator and leader in the field of quantum computing. Lloyd has been featured widely in the mainstream media including the front page of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Wired, The Dallas Morning News, and The Times (London), among others. His name also frequently appears (both as writer and subject) in the pages of Nature, New Scientist, Science, and Scientific American.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Mar 14, 2006
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780307264718
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Cosmology
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Science / Space Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For a physicist, all the world is information. The Universe and its workings are the ebb and flow of information. We are all transient patterns of information, passing on the recipe for our basic forms to future generations using a four-letter digital code called DNA. In this engaging and mind-stretching account, Vlatko Vedral considers some of the deepest questions about the Universe and considers the implications of interpreting it in terms of information. He explains the nature of information, the idea of entropy, and the roots of this thinking in thermodynamics. He describes the bizarre effects of quantum behaviour — effects such as 'entanglement', which Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance', and explores cutting edge work on harnessing quantum effects in hyperfast quantum computers, and how recent evidence suggests that the weirdness of the quantum world, once thought limited to the tiniest scales, may reach into the macro world. Vedral finishes by considering the answer to the ultimate question: where did all of the information in the Universe come from? The answers he considers are exhilarating, drawing upon the work of distinguished physicist John Wheeler. The ideas challenge our concept of the nature of particles, of time, of determinism, and of reality itself. This edition includes a new foreword from the author, reflecting on changes in the world of quantum information since first publication. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
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