Is the universe a quantum computer?

January 21, 2002 by Seth Lloyd

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” Seth Lloyd asks: Is the universe a quantum computer?

Originally published January 2002 at Edge. Published on January 21, 2002. Read Ray Kurzweil’s Edge question here.

The universe is quantum mechanical, and its dynamics can be simulated precisely and efficiently using quantum information processing. The amount of quantum computation required to perform this simulation is finite and has been calculated. Consequently, there is no obvious way to distinguish the universe from a very large quantum logic circuit.

Copyright © 2002 by Edge Foundation, Inc.