Cover image for Minds, machines, and the multiverse : the quest for the quantum computer
Minds, machines, and the multiverse : the quest for the quantum computer
Brown, J. R. (Julian Russell), 1957-
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2000]

Physical Description:
396 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.889 .B76 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The imminent arrival of the quantum computer, millions of times faster than today's computers, promises to launch a scientific gold rush of the new millennium. After consulting with both the computer's debunkers and the leading minds behind the breakthrough, Brown explains the quantum computer's development thus far.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Books about technological revolutions usually come after the fact. Not this one. Brown hails tomorrow's breakthrough--the quantum computer--likely to render existing computers obsolete. Though computer designers are still struggling to surmount the technical obstacles, the theorists of quantum computing have already envisioned astounding possibilities: light-speed computation, invincible cryptography, photon teleportation, perhaps even artificial intelligence. To explain the remarkable promise of the quantum computer, Brown must take us out of the comfortable yes/no logic of classical computing into the strangely indeterminate probabilities of quantum logic. And then he pushes us yet further, past the quantum circuits and the Morphic Resonators into the unsettling hypothesis of a labyrinthine quantum multiverse of infinite parallel realities. Enough of a skeptic to pose the hard questions (What happens to the "me" in the other universes?), Brown nonetheless conveys the heady exhilaration of those pressing on the quantum frontiers. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Computers get faster as microprocessors get smaller and denser, requiring fewer subatomic particles to toggle between zero and one. When silicon chips rely on single electrons, will computing power have hit a wall? Or will the future's computers use quantum properties to acquire undreamt-of powers? In this intriguing, fast-moving book, Brown (a longtime writer for Britain's prestigious New Scientist) asks those questions, shuttling among the physics, mathematics and information theory that would enable quantum computing, and the practical, technical work required to make it happen. He considers the class of quantum computing roadblocks that involves heat disposal, introduces us to "complexity theory," something called "decoherence" and "ion traps" (the closest step yet to a quantum computer that works; research into it is currently taking place under the auspices of America's National Security Administration). Brown also profiles quantum-computer theorist David Deutsch--an engagingly eccentric Oxford physicist--as well as such famous scientists as Richard Feynman and IBM's Charles Bennett (who figured out how, "in theory," "one can compute using no energy at all"). The English-speaking world has plenty of books explaining computers, quantum theory and the attendant wacky philosophical implications, but Brown transcends these categories, showing how physics relates to computation and how their alliance affects the future of both. His enthusiastic, patient explanations of fairly difficult mathematics distinguishes his book. Illustrations. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A quantum computer, unlike today's digital computers, does not process information one bit at a time but determines all possible solutions simultaneously. Although practical applications are still years away, such a machine theoretically can handle many of the major simulation and mathematical problems currently beyond the capability of even the largest current parallel processors. Brown, a writer for New Scientist, covers an immense variety of subjects in this book, most of which touch in some way on quantum physics, and he devotes a considerable amount of effort to making his exposition understandable. Some of the analogies he uses to simplify complex ideas work well, while others left this reader more confused than before--possibly reflecting a lack of strong background in physics but still a potential problem for other readers. Brown also throws in a substantial philosophical treatment of artificial intelligence. An interesting topic but not easy reading; for academic and larger public libraries.--Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.