Physics Nobelist 'tHooft claims it would. But can we engineer such a device?
Binary a Bit Behind Quantum Math
by Mark K. Anderson
2:00 a.m. Jan. 16, 2001 PST
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Information, as the Internet adage would dictate,
may indeed want to be free. But liberty has a way of changing the liberated
in unexpected ways. . . .
. . .
On the other hand, Gerard 't Hooft inserted a cautionary note with his talk
on recent attempts to reduce or eliminate the paradoxes in quantum
physics -- and, perhaps with it, reduce or eliminate the power of quantum
computers over their classical cousins.
'T Hooft, who won a 1999 Nobel Prize for his work on the so-called Standard
Model of particle physics, asserted a hunch he's been pursuing -- along with
many great minds before him, including Einstein -- that the laws of nature
at the deepest levels do indeed return to the discrete and deterministic
qualities embodied in the classical bit.
At such infinitesimal scales of size and time, the "classical" computer, he
conjectured, would always outperform any quantum-powered machine.
"If I could make a gigantic computer and if I could scale the performance
such that the memory cells become the size of the 'Planck length,' ten to
the minus 33 cm, and the clock speed would be the 'Planck time,' ten to the
minus 41 seconds," 't Hooft said, "then that computer I claim would
outperform any quantum computer."
'T Hooft welcomed his audience to build their own quantum computers and
attempt to falsify his assertion.
Of course, neither 't Hooft's universal computing machine nor a working
quantum alternative is up and running, so for the time being, the
conference's many results took their shape via pen, paper and overhead
Even for the qubit's greatest boosters, it seems that old-time classical
info still rules the day."
Extropy Institute: www.extropy.org
Alcor Life Extension Foundation: www.alcor.org
Society for Technical Communication: www.stc.org
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