Re: Read any good books lately?

hansen (
Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:06:09 -0700

> Read any good books lately?

The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes David Deutsch
1997 Penguin books

It says on the cover: "A leading scientist interweaves evolution, theoretical physics, and computer science to offer a new understanding of reality." Most books published these days say that on the cover.

It delivers. One of the most extropian books in existence, it seems to me.

some topics:
Limits of classical computation.
The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Time travel as shifting to a slightly alternate universe. Quantum computation to get beyond the limits of classical computation:

"To those who still cling to a single-universe world-view, I issue this challenge: explain how Shor's Algorithm works. .... When Shor's Algorithm has factorized a number, using 10^500 or so times the computational resources that can be seen to be present, where was the number factorized? There are only about 10^80 atoms in the entire visible universe, an utterly miniscule number compared with 10^500. So if the visible universe were the extent of physical reality, physical reality would not even remotely contain the resources required to factorize such a large number. ..." p 217

[ I note in passing that the aforementioned Shor just got a MacArthur grant, mostly for coming up with Shor's Algorithm...]

This got me interested in quantum computation. There are numerous websites on it; I just got this book, I don't know if it's great yet.:

Explorations in Quantum Computing
Colin P. Williams, Scott H. Clearwater
1998, Springer. with cdrom.