52 Books a Year: #19 - Programming the Universe

Posted by Brian Wed, 18 Nov 2009 23:58:07 GMT

Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos
By Seth Lloyd


Quantum mechanics makes no sense. If you think you understand it you need to start over. It is completely non-intuitive, but our current understanding of the universe depends upon it. In Programming the Universe, Seth Lloyd first explains the basics of quantum mechanics before moving on to what a quantum computer is and how it works, starting from a single qubit. Then he takes the next step and posits that the entire universe is one large quantum computer. From here the book goes back and forth from impossibly small to unimaginably large as he explains more concepts of quantum mechanics and then explores what they mean in the context of a universe-sized quantum computer.

The writing is dense and I found myself reading passages several times to make sure I understood what he was trying to say. It would probably be a very difficult book for the average person to read. Lloyd manages to hold it together into a cohesive whole though if you have the patience. Unfortunately my notes on this book have disappeared and it is far to dense to remember five months after reading it. Highly recommended though.


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