Posts Tagged ‘Quantum Computing’

CONSCIOUSNESS, ATOM OF THOUGHT, Atom of Computing: All Found In Electrons?

May 7, 2018

Consciousness: we know we have it, we know many other animals have it, but we don’t know what it is.

Before we can answer this, a question naturally arises: so what is it, to know what it is? What is it, to be? “To be” is something our consciousness knows, when it perceives it. But we also need to know when something “is” to know when, how and if our consciousness is. 

In order to simplify our thinking on this arduous subject, existence entangled with consciousness, consider our most fundamental, hence simplest, theory. Consider Quantum Physics. Surely “existence” is defined there, as Quantum Physics deals with what is most fundamental. Take the simplest examples: photon, electron. What is an electron? In Quantum Physics, an electron is what one electron does. Isn’t that enlightening?

Shouldn’t consciousness be, what consciousness does?

Initially, electrons were just negatively charged particles. At least, so it was until Bohr. Then the description of the electron became much more complex. It turned out that electrons did occupy only some energy levels. Then came De Broglie, who said electrons did as waves he attached to them did. And it was found, indeed, that electrons did so. PAM Dirac then proposed the simplest “relativistic” equation for the electron (a more complicated, second degree PDE had been proposed before and couldn’t be made to predict what was observed). That requested something called “spinor space”…. Then in turn predicted electronic spin and the anti-electron, and both were observed.

(Important aside: the French mathematician Cartan had invented spinors earlier in pure geometry. Yes, invented: he built-in his brain the relevant neurological connections, that is, the relevant geometry.)

Thus what we now call the electron has become higher dimensional in logical space (logical space is the space spanned by independent axioms; I just made it up; that means there is a connection between logic and geometry… thus, in particular, arithmetic and geometry…).

By adding axioms to its description, the concept of electron has become richer… The electron is a richer concept in our consciousness.

Confronted to 2 slits, the electron acts as if it were choosing where to go, after them. Is that, not just a computation, but a primitive form of consciousness? What consciousness is made of? Hard to say for sure, at this point, but certainly a guess worth exploring: any theory of consciousness may have to take this, that the electron acts as if it were conscious, into account. 

We evolved as living beings, and the more complex we became, the more conscious. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s law of increasing complexity applies, and is exemplified, by the evolution of consciousness.. Consciousness is probably a law of physics, not an accident of history.

Some say:’oh, well, consciousness may not be that important’. Well, first at least three different phyla evolved it, independently, on Earth, vertebrates being only one of them. (As all trout fishers know, trouts act as if they were conscious, that’s why the experienced ones are so hard to catch, when the water is clear…)

But there is a much deeper objection to considering consciousness unimportant: what is the connection of consciousness to thinking? Could the atom of consciousness be the atom of thinking…. And precisely defined as Quantum Computation?

Indeed, consider programming as presently done with electronic computers: one thing after the other, just so very fast, yet, it is fundamentally desperately dumb. Present day computing, pre-Quantum Computing, can result in desperately slow computations. Whereas the electron can compute instantaneously (says a hopefully naive Quantum theory) that problems too complicated for our (pre-Quantum!) computers to handle, and find out, where the low energy solution is. That’s the superiority of Quantum Computing: tremendous, instantaneous, stupendous computation, right.

So, what looks like a type of consciousness, found in the translating electron, is not just an incredibly efficient way of computing, it is at the core of the efficiency of the world. Could it be the most primitive form, the atom of thinking?

Identifying fundamental quantum and fundamental thinking is an idea whose time has come… Philosophically speaking, in the most practical manner, it means that discursive logic will never cover the last mile…

Patrice Ayme



Very Tangential Observations:

  1. Albert Einstein ascribed properties to the photon, and the electron, which I claim, have not been observed (thus leading physics astray, straight into the Multiverse). However the ulterior formalism sort of implemented Einstein’s design (which is older than Einstein), attributing (sort of, or maybe not) a strict position to elementary particles… and was found to give excellent  results (namely QED, QCD, the “Standard Model”…) But Ptolemy too, gave good results. Thus, now, elementary particles are endowed with properties which, if I am right, are fake… It has often happened in science that a fake, or grossly incomplete theory will masquerade as true for a very long time: math is full of them (Non Euclidean geometry, etc.).
  2.  The example of Non-Euclidean geometry is revealing: it was abandoned for brain-dead Euclidean geometry… Why did those Hellenistic regime Greeks opt for that silly form of mathematics? Because their superiors, various kings and tyrants, prefered silly. Because geometry in the plane was easier, a case of looking for the keys only below the lampost, because it’s simpler, and one is drunk. Let’s not repeat the mistake of having only simple thoughts, in the case of pondering consciousness, just because our superiors prefer simple thoughts, and are drunk on their power… Soon to be extinguished in great balls of nuclear fire…

The Quantum Puzzle

April 26, 2016


Is Quantum Computing Beyond Physics?

More exactly, do we know, can we know, enough physics for (full) quantum computing?

I have long suggested that the answer to this question was negative, and smirked at physicists sitting billions of universes on a pinhead, as if they had nothing better to do, the children they are. (Just as their Christian predecessors in the Middle Ages, their motives are not pure.)

Now an article in the American Mathematical Society Journal of May 2016 repeats (some) of the arguments I had in mind: The Quantum Computer Puzzle. Here are some of the arguments. One often hears that Quantum Computers are a done deal. Here is the explanation from Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, which reflects perfectly the official scientific conventional wisdom on the subject:

(One wishes all our great leaders would be as knowledgeable… And I am not joking as I write this! Trudeau did engineering and ecological studies.)

... Supposing, Of Course, That One Can Isolate And Manipulate Qubits As One Does Normal Bits...

… Supposing, Of Course, That One Can Isolate And Manipulate Qubits As One Does Normal Bits…

Before some object that physicists are better qualified than mathematicians to talk about the Quantum, let me point towards someone who is perhaps the most qualified experimentalist in the world on the foundations of Quantum Physics. Serge Haroche is a French physicist who got the Nobel Prize for figuring out how to count photons without seeing them. It’s the most delicate Quantum Non-Demolition (QND) method I have heard of. It involved making the world’s most perfect mirrors. The punch line? Serge Haroche does not believe Quantum Computers are feasible. However Haroche does not suggest how he got there. The article in the AMS does make plenty of suggestions to that effect.

Let me hasten to add some form of Quantum Computing (or Quantum Simulation) called “annealing” is obviously feasible. D Wave, a Canadian company is selling such devices. In my view, Quantum Annealing is just the two slit experiment written large. Thus the counter-argument can be made that conventional computers can simulate annealing (and that has been the argument against D Wave’s machines).

Full Quantum Computing (also called  “Quantum Supremacy”) would be something completely different. Gil Kalai, a famous mathematician, and a specialist of Quantum Computing, is skeptical:

“Quantum computers are hypothetical devices, based on quantum physics, which would enable us to perform certain computations hundreds of orders of magnitude faster than digital computers. This feature is coined “quantum supremacy”, and one aspect or another of such quantum computational supremacy might be seen by experiments in the near future: by implementing quantum error-correction or by systems of noninteracting bosons or by exotic new phases of matter called anyons or by quantum annealing, or in various other ways…

A main reason for concern regarding the feasibility of quantum computers is that quantum systems are inherently noisy. We will describe an optimistic hypothesis regarding quantum noise that will allow quantum computing and a pessimistic hypothesis that won’t.”

Gil Katai rolls out a couple of theorems which suggest that Quantum Computing is very sensitive to noise (those are similar to finding out which slit a photon went through). Moreover, he uses a philosophical argument against Quantum Computing:

It is often claimed that quantum computers can perform certain computations that even a classical computer of the size of the entire universe cannot perform! Indeed it is useful to examine not only things that were previously impossible and that are now made possible by a new technology but also the improvement in terms of orders of magnitude for tasks that could have been achieved by the old technology.

Quantum computers represent enormous, unprecedented order-of-magnitude improvement of controlled physical phenomena as well as of algorithms. Nuclear weapons represent an improvement of 6–7 orders of magnitude over conventional ordnance: the first atomic bomb was a million times stronger than the most powerful (single) conventional bomb at the time. The telegraph could deliver a transatlantic message in a few seconds compared to the previous three-month period. This represents an (immense) improvement of 4–5 orders of magnitude. Memory and speed of computers were improved by 10–12 orders of magnitude over several decades. Breakthrough algorithms at the time of their discovery also represented practical improvements of no more than a few orders of magnitude. Yet implementing Boson Sampling with a hundred bosons represents more than a hundred orders of magnitude improvement compared to digital computers.

In other words, it unrealistic to expect such a, well, quantum jump…

“Boson Sampling” is a hypothetical, and simplest way, proposed to implement a Quantum Computer. (It is neither known if it could be made nor if it would be good enough for Quantum Computing[ yet it’s intensely studied nevertheless.)


Quantum Physics Is The Non-Local Engine Of Space, and Time Itself:

Here is Gil Kalai again:

“Locality, Space and Time

The decision between the optimistic and pessimistic hypotheses is, to a large extent, a question about modeling locality in quantum physics. Modeling natural quantum evolutions by quantum computers represents the important physical principle of “locality”: quantum interactions are limited to a few particles. The quantum circuit model enforces local rules on quantum evolutions and still allows the creation of very nonlocal quantum states.

This remains true for noisy quantum circuits under the optimistic hypothesis. The pessimistic hypothesis suggests that quantum supremacy is an artifact of incorrect modeling of locality. We expect modeling based on the pessimistic hypothesis, which relates the laws of the “noise” to the laws of the “signal”, to imply a strong form of locality for both. We can even propose that spacetime itself emerges from the absence of quantum fault tolerance. It is a familiar idea that since (noiseless) quantum systems are time reversible, time emerges from quantum noise (decoherence). However, also in the presence of noise, with quantum fault tolerance, every quantum evolution that can experimentally be created can be time-reversed, and, in fact, we can time-permute the sequence of unitary operators describing the evolution in an arbitrary way. It is therefore both quantum noise and the absence of quantum fault tolerance that enable an arrow of time.”

Just for future reference, let’s “note that with quantum computers one can emulate a quantum evolution on an arbitrary geometry. For example, a complicated quantum evolution representing the dynamics of a four-dimensional lattice model could be emulated on a one-dimensional chain of qubits.

This would be vastly different from today’s experimental quantum physics, and it is also in tension with insights from physics, where witnessing different geometries supporting the same physics is rare and important. Since a universal quantum computer allows the breaking of the connection between physics and geometry, it is noise and the absence of quantum fault tolerance that distinguish physical processes based on different geometries and enable geometry to emerge from the physics.”


I have proposed a theory which explains the preceding features, including the emergence of space. Let’s call it Sub Quantum Physics (SQP). The theory breaks a lot of sacred cows. Besides, it brings an obvious explanation for Dark Matter. If I am correct the Dark matter Puzzle is directly tied in with the Quantum Puzzle.

In any case, it is a delight to see in print part of what I have been severely criticized for saying for all too many decades… The gist of it all is that present day physics would be completely incomplete.

Patrice Ayme’