Schrödinger's Killer App: Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer

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CRC Press, May 7, 2013 - Mathematics - 453 pages
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The race is on to construct the first quantum code breaker, as the winner will hold the key to the entire Internet. From international, multibillion-dollar financial transactions to top-secret government communications, all would be vulnerable to the secret-code-breaking ability of the quantum computer.

Written by a renowned quantum physicist closely involved in the U.S. government’s development of quantum information science, Schrödinger’s Killer App: Race to Build the World’s First Quantum Computer presents an inside look at the government’s quest to build a quantum computer capable of solving complex mathematical problems and hacking the public-key encryption codes used to secure the Internet. The "killer application" refers to Shor’s quantum factoring algorithm, which would unveil the encrypted communications of the entire Internet if a quantum computer could be built to run the algorithm. Schrödinger’s notion of quantum entanglement—and his infamous cat—is at the heart of it all.

The book develops the concept of entanglement in the historical context of Einstein’s 30-year battle with the physics community over the true meaning of quantum theory. It discusses the remedy to the threat posed by the quantum code breaker: quantum cryptography, which is unbreakable even by the quantum computer. The author also covers applications to other important areas, such as quantum physics simulators, synchronized clocks, quantum search engines, quantum sensors, and imaging devices. In addition, he takes readers on a philosophical journey that considers the future ramifications of quantum technologies.

Interspersed with amusing and personal anecdotes, this book presents quantum computing and the closely connected foundations of quantum mechanics in an engaging manner accessible to non-specialists. Requiring no formal training in physics or advanced mathematics, it explains difficult topics, including quantum entanglement, Schrödinger’s cat, Bell’s inequality, and quantum computational complexity, using simple analogies.


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About the author (2013)

Jonathan P. Dowling is the Hearne Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics and co-director of the Hearne Institute for Theoretical Physics at Louisiana State University. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, and the Optical Society of America. Dr. Dowling has published more than 125 articles with an h-index of over 37 and holds eight U.S. patents in the fields of nonlinear and quantum optics. He has been a recipient of the Willis E. Lamb Medal for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, the U.S. Army Research and Development Achievement Award, and the NASA Space Act Award. He earned a PhD in mathematical physics from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

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