A quantum computer can determine who wins a game faster than a classical comp…


Google Tech Talks
April, 2 2008


Imagine a game where two players go back and forth making moves and
at the end of a fixed number of moves the position is either a win or
a loss for the first player. In this case, if both players play best
possible, it is determined at the first move who wins or loses. To
figure out who will be the winner you need not look at all of the N
final positions but only at N^0.753. I will show that with a quantum
computer the exponent can be reduced to 0.5. The technique involves
quantum scattering theory and illustrates how ideas from physics can
be used to design quantum algorithms that outperform even best
possible classical algorithms.

Speaker: Edward Farhi
Professor of Physics; Director, Center for Theoretical Physics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Interests:

Edward Farhi was trained as a theoretical particle physicist but has also worked on astrophysics, general relativity, and the foundations of quantum mechanics. His present interest is the theory of quantum computation.

As a graduate student, Farhi invented the jet variable “Thrust,” which is used to describe how particles in high energy accelerator collisions come out in collimated streams. He then worked with Leonard Susskind on grand unified theories with electro-weak dynamical symmetry breaking. He and Larry Abbott proposed an (almost viable) model in which quarks, leptons, and massive gauge bosons are composite. With Robert Jaffe, he worked out many of the properties of a possibly stable super dense form of matter called “Strange Matter” and with Charles Alcock and Angela Olinto he studied the properties of “Strange Stars.” His interest then shifted to general relativity and he and Alan Guth studied the classical and quantum prospects of making a new inflationary universe in the laboratory today. He, Guth and others also studied obstacles to constructing a time machine.

More recently, Farhi has been studying how to use quantum mechanics to gain algorithmic speedup in solving problems that are difficult for conventional computers. He and Sam Gutmann proposed the idea of designing algorithms based on quantum walks, which has been used to demonstrate the power of quantum computation over classical. They, along with Jeffrey Goldstone and Michael Sipser, introduced the idea of quantum computation by adiabatic evolution, which has generated much interest in the quantum computing community. This group was tied for first in showing that there is a problem that cannot be sped up by a quantum computer. In 2007, Farhi, Goldstone and Gutmann showed that a quantum computer can determine who wins a game faster than a classical computer.

Edward Farhi continues to work on quantum computing but keeps a close eye on particle physics and recent developments in cosmology.

Biographical Sketch:

Edward (Eddie) Farhi went to the Bronx High School of Science and Brandeis University before getting his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1978. He was then on the staff at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and at CERN in Geneva Switzerland before coming to MIT, where he joined the faculty in 1982. Farhi has given lectures on his own research at many of the major physics research centers in the world. At MIT, he has taught undergraduate courses in quantum mechanics and special relativity. At the graduate level he has taught quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, particle physics and general relativity. Farhi won three teaching awards at MIT and in 2000, 2001, and 2002 he lectured the big freshman physics course, “8.01.” In July 2005, he was appointed the Director of MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics.

Selected Publications:

Professor Farhi’s publications are available online from the SPIRES HEP Literature Database (particle physics) and arXiv.org e-Print archive (quantum computing).

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  1. So let me get this straight, quantum mechanics is the science of deconstruction, which has applications that make smaller newer things?

  2. Great video. About the adiabatic approach, we have shown that using it to solve NP-complete problems takes exponential time.

  3. @SlaveryEvolves its on my youtube site if you are interested, video of wireless proof and theoretical stuff. thank you , the technology is 100 yrs ago. a few months ago, cern had some proof of possible faster than light data transfer with nutrinos, so it is possible at somepoint in human evolution.

  4. @ownage999912 first of all you are comparing apples to interstellar battle-cruisers(riding a bike is a mechanical activity, not an electrical one), second ever heard of a segway? well there's your equivalent, as the computer maintains the balance via mechanical components.

  5. more to the point an abacus the size of the universe. . . what I meant was, that a quantum computer's computing power is not INFINITE it just works in a different way.

  6. that's kinda like saying that a classical computer has more computing power than a multiplication table the size of the universe you realize

  7. this is NUTS. quantum computers are the super computers of tomorrow with google.. smarter and smarter computers are going to be beggining of a new era of using "all knowing" all encompassing computer programs that the major population will depend on..

    good or bad?

  8. If Quantum computers are to take off, and their are right. That people are going to have quantum laptops by 20 years from now.

    Using atoms to store information and whatnot. They could do an entire Universe of programmable multitasks.

    We are talking like 99 to the power of 10 GHZ, that kind of redicoulous speeds once the software catches up with the full potential of the machine.

  9. I meant that germany is far superior to austria. And no, I do not wish to hear your biased opinion about your country.

  10. hahahah
    Yeah teleportations and phasers and time travel!! Good work bud ha ha ha ahhh man. Dont forget about the flying skateboards and robot maids!! bahahaha

  11. Russian science of quantum computers super memory of infinite laser data download basically uses laser light not electricity for it's memory storage of data.Data memory through the use of light rays that charge special glass alloys in a new computer Ram memory base that can recognize and store light in the computer's memory with using light instead of electricity devices in like in normal super computer memory capability.Though we find that the intel pentium 4 must be in a state of levitation.

  12. boring, sry but I can't watch past the first four minutes. But this is about a computer at MIT right. should have us play the game vs sum1 to save time then talk about the computer algorithm.

  13. Hey, does anyone know what the practical consequences are for the Farhi et. al. NAND tree O(N^0.5) proof given that it lives in the Hamiltonian oracle model? Will this impact an implementation on an actual quantum computer?

  14. so ?
    having sex is not very hard… everybody can do it … unfortunately…quantum computers are not as trivial so a good lecture is more interesting imo…


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