only one week of varsity left and the weather chooses today to spew a torrent of liquid wetness down upon us. it couldn’t hold off a week. as a result i had to walk up in said torrent and am wet from the mid -thigh down. luckily my raincoat (one of those german nato things that everyone seems to own) is pretty damn good.
fortunately the lecture was most amusing. it was on quantum computers and related.
basically there’s a mad mathematician out there called David Deutsch (mad in the good old, traditional Oxford, crazy proffessor kinda way) with a multiverse theory. basically, whenever a quantum thingy can be doing one of a multiple of things, the universe “splits” into parallel universes where the quantum thingy does every option: one in each parallel universe. somehow there is communication across the parallels and we end up with a result that would be expected from something that did multiple things when it could only have done one. he expounds more on this and other things (like turing machines and quantum mechanics) in his book “the fabric of reality.”
quantum mechanics seems to be all fun and games (especially when the lecturer explains it in only 7 minutes). the interesting thing with a quantum computer is that its version of a register of bits can hold more bits than a standard computer, and it may be able to compute multiple paths at the same time by farming out a path to each parallel universe (basically superpositioning). imagine harnessing the power of a universe to make the graphics in quake 6 look more impressive. i like that idea.
these quantum bits are called qubits. at which point i asked the lecturer if the cpu would be called an ark. i had to explain the joke. *sigh* so difficult to be brilliant and funny nowdays.
go read more about quantum mechanics and quantum computing. its all cutting edge and theoretical at the moment. it makes me want to read “the quark and the jaguar“. i must talk to moonflake when i get home.
anyway… the lecture finished with an interesting theory from mr deutsch. it goes a little something like this: only 1 of the following 3 statements is true:
- mankind will never progress any further (re: computing)
- mankind doesn’t care about it’s ancestors
- mankind will progress and cares about it’s ancestors
now (sans real proof… go buy his book for the real thing), 1 is obviously false as we are continuously improving, 2 is also obviously false (count the number of historians in the world / number of historic documentaries) so 3 must be true. in which case we will (at some future point) have extremely powerful machines and (since we’re interested in our ancestors) will be running complex simulations of the past on them.
since you only live once, but many many many simulations will be run, the probability that you are actually part of a simulation is extremely high (tending to 1). so, in a very matrix kinda way, david tells us that we are all constructs in a simulation. of course there is more to it than that. for example: people from the future wandering around our simulation, etc…
that made up for a really wet walk to varsity, and has interested me in quantum mechanics enough to go out and read about it… i guess that’s good lecturing.